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18 May, 2009 06:44

Germans go to Poland to cut costs and hair

Bargain hunters in Germany looking to stay beautiful, are finding new ways to cut costs. Making the most of their cheaper neighbours, many are crossing the Polish border to save pennies on their next stylish haircut.

Many Germans have long known that gas and food costs less in neighboring Poland but, when it comes to bargains, some quite literally use their heads, and there is no better place to do it than in the village of Osinow Dolny.

The village may be tiny but it can rightfully call itself the hairdressing capital of the world. With a population of 200 people, 150 are the masters of the comb and scissors.

Cutting costs while having your hair cut. Frau Fruhsorge, a Berlin resident, has been a regular patron of this salon for more than five years. She may have to mind the bills in Germany, but here in Poland she can afford to indulge herself.

“It would have cost €20 in Germany and here it costs only €10,” she says.

The deal is so hard to beat that her husband doesn’t mind the two-hour drive it takes to get here from their home in Berlin. He gets his own reward.

“She gets a haircut and I get a full tank of gas, a full trunk of groceries and a pint of local beer, which is very good,” Heidrun Fruhsorge says.

While Poland has yet to enter the Euro zone, this village has long sworn its allegiance to the European currency.

Money, however, hasn’t paved the trail for the language. Most hairdressers make do with just a few phrases of broken German, while their clients seldom know a word of Polish, but it is not a problem.

Credited with starting the hairdressing boom is an establishment opened 17 years ago. Friseur was the first beauty salon to open its doors in Osinow Dolny. Since then more than 20 have followed, but nobody there is afraid of competition.

“Yes, the number of clients has decreased. But during an economic crisis it's natural. The situation is the same in the Polish market. It's normal,” hairdresser Elizbieta Kizysztofiak says.

Rather than the economic crisis hitting the Polish village hard, it has in fact helped it prosper. With haircuts costing half as much as in Berlin, in Osinow Dolny there is simply no such thing as a bad hair day.