By Chris Cottrell
BERLIN (Reuters) - Two German entrepreneurs have devised a way for passive-aggressive citizens to blow off some steam - dial a telephone number and give the person on the other end a verbal lashing.
The swearing hotline, known as "Schimpf-los" ("swear away") in German, has operators standing by seven days a week for frustrated individuals to jeer at and taunt using the most unsavory language they can muster.
"We don't judge people who are angry," said Ralf Schulte, who set up the hotline with his fellow media services provider Alexander Brandenburger.
"It happens. It's natural. With us you can blow off steam no strings attached," 41-year-old Schulte told Reuters.
The creators of the service found inspiration in their own stressful daily routines. The way Schulte sees it, he is doing people a favor by providing a release for pent-up aggravation and helping to avoid altercations in the workplace or at home.
"If you're stressed out at work, you go home and your partner gets an earful," he said. "Even though it's not her fault."
When callers are not creative in their cursing, or find themselves tongue-tied, operators on the hotline prod them with cheeky provocations like: "That's the third time I've heard that today - is that all you've got?"
The service costs 1.49 euros per minute - a figure Schulte feels is completely justified. "For getting everything off your chest, it's a bargain."
(Reporting by Chris Cottrell; Editing by Stephen Brown)