Photo: joanna orpia via Flickr
We’ve already heard about the pretty ridiculous (and gross) requirements for online business owners in Greece, and heard some suggestions from a Greek entrepreneur on how the country could change.However, this anecdote from Megan Greene (aka EconomistMeg) is another especially vivid example of how regulation has choked the economy:
A friend and I met up at a new bookstore and café in the centre of town, which has only been open for a month. The establishment is in the centre of an area filled with bars, and the owner decided the neighbourhood could use a place for people to convene and talk without having to drink alcohol and listen to loud music. After we sat down, we asked the waitress for a coffee. She thanked us for our order and immediately turned and walked out the front door. My friend explained that the owner of the bookstore/café couldn’t get a licence to provide coffee. She had tried to just buy a coffee machine and give the coffee away for free, thinking that lingering patrons would boost book sales. However, giving away coffee was illegal as well. Instead, the owner had to strike a deal with a bar across the street, whereby they make the coffee and the waitress spends all day shuttling between the bar and the bookstore/café. My friend also explained to me that books could not be purchased at the bookstore, as it was after 18h and it is illegal to sell books in Greece beyond that hour. I was in a bookstore/café that could neither sell books nor make coffee.
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