Local Greek businesses are in disarray, and many Greeks now prefer merchandise to euros.
“My boss came in and said, ‘We are all going to die,'” one young woman who works for a small travel agency in Athens told the New York Times. “He gathered us all together, really, to tell us that.”
Soon after that, he cut her hours to just two days a week, according to the NYT.
But they’re not alone — many companies have been struggling as of late. Pharmacists, who import most of the drugs they sell, faltered almost immediately when the banks closed; other companies are trying to pay all of their taxes for the year right now.
One Greek jeweller even rejected a customer who wanted to buy approximately $US1.1 million worth of merchandise because “he was more comfortable holding on to the jewels than having money in Greek banks,” according to the Times.
“I can’t believe that there I was, turning away a million-dollar offer,” he told the Times. “But I had to turn down the deal. It’s a measure of the risk we face.”
And he’s not the only one preferring merchandise to cash.
Some Greeks are “panic buying” kitchen electronic kitchen appliances such as dishwashers, overs, and refrigerators, fearing the collapse of banks and not being able to withdraw deposits.
Meanwhile, others are splurging on less useful goods. One 48-year old lawyer told the Washington Post that she was thinking about buying a designer handbag — a luxury good she “never would have allowed herself before the banks shut down. But now she considers it an investment, a tangible possession that the government cannot take away.”
“You have a feeling that money has lost its value,” she told WaPo. “It’s just a number.”