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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 October, 2003, 23:49 GMT 00:49 UK
German creche for male shopaphobics
Shop in Bremen, Germany
Shopping with your man... a thing of the past?

Shopping with grumbling male partners could soon become a thing of the past for women in the northern German city of Hamburg.

A bar has set up a special kindergarten for men - offering beer, hot food, televised football and games to keep any tantrums at bay, while their wives and girlfriends go shopping.

"The women are issued a receipt for their partners when they hand them in and can pick them up again when they return it to us later," said Alexander Stein, manager of Nox Bar.

He said the idea for "Maennergarten" came from a female customer who thought it would be a good way of getting rid of her husband so she could shop in peace.

"She found it all too stressful and thought this might be the solution. Both were very happy with the way it turned out," said Mr Stein.

It beats sitting around in shoe shops, that's for sure
Satisfied customer
For 10 euros ($11.80) the men are offered boys' games and home-improvement coaching as well as a hot meal, two beers and football on the television.

"Last week the men had a remote control car to play with. Next week there's going to be a mini racetrack," said Mr Stein.

He said 20 men were "left" the first week, and 27 came last Saturday - though some of his regulars have recoiled in horror at the idea.

"Many of the guys see it as just a gag, but then were surprised to find they got on really well with the others."

"It beats sitting around in shoe shops, that's for sure," one man told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

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