Capital controls: 15 ways in which they’ve changed our life

1. We have to wait in long lines at ATMs to get our daily cash allowance (€60 which has become €50 since the banks have run out of €10 and €20 notes.) Many people have acquired a ‘secret’ or ‘favourite’ machine – one that is more reliable/less crowded that others.

2. Public Transport is – temporarily – free, only a lot less buses are running. A friend arrived at work late yesterday because she had to wait one hour and two minutes for her bus (usually there’s one every ten minutes.)

3. Any subscriptions to foreign sites (such as extra iCloud storage) are frozen, since Greek credit cards cannot pay money abroad. Same goes for Amazon or other online shopping.

4. Venues booked for weddings or christenings – there are a lot of those at this time of year- ask for part of the money in advance, preferably in cash, so they can pay for the food, etc. People are being creative about their ‘big day’: flowers from the garden, a cousin will do the bride’s hair, sister takes the photos etc.

5. Funerals can be paid for in installments.

image6. Amongst my friends, the only people who have gone on holiday are those who have houses on the islands, or those who had prepaid for a trip somewhere. People trying to book rooms are asked for money in advance, in many cases in cash. Sometimes a friend on the spot can lend a hand.
However, tourists are OK since ATMs still seem to disburse money to foreign credit cards.

7. Some flights have been cancelled and many airlines are not accepting bookings from Greek tourist companies. However, around 15.000 internal flights will be available for around €10.

8. Businesses that deal in cash pay their employees in cash and get praise. Those that don’t can’t pay at all and get complaints. A lot of people have been asked to take unpaid vacation until the banks open (and are hoping that by the time this happens, their companies will still be operational.)

9. Dentists report cancellations for cosmetic appointments such as teeth cleaning or whitening.

10. Pharmacies report a rise in sales for medications used in chronic diseases such as diabetes as patients stock up, fearing a future lack.

11. People are paying with credit cards wherever possible in order to save what little cash they have. But some retailers are already refusing plastic.

12. Meanwhile, people who had money in the bank are trying desperately to spend it, fearing future haircuts. They’re buying up things they consider to have a resale value, such as jewels, cars, and electronic gadgets. To take advantage of this trend, luxury clothing retailers have started early and generous discounts (summer sales in Greece normally start in August.)

13. Generally people are trying to spend any money they have, so bills and taxes are paid promptly!

14. Imports and exports have become very complicated.

15. A lot of shows, especially those with expensive tickets, have been cancelled.

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