9011 TV game shows for gullible viewers

TV game shows are not only shown on the major networks but also on the smaller channels, where thousands of euros are distributed, as well as gifts – usually household appliances – recalling the age of the first game shows in the early years of private channels. Back then, with a bit of luck, «Wheel of Fortune» contestants could furnish an entire home. Now they need plenty of patience waiting on hold on one of the 9011 lines (the old 090) which charge 30 euro cents plus VAT for every 15 seconds – that is, 1.20 euros per minute. As a call cannot be longer than 15 minutes before being cut off, the cost is 18 euros, or 6,000 drachmas in old money. Problems arise when the price of the call is displayed in such small print on the screen that even eagle-eyed viewers cannot discern it. Various types of games fill gaps in the programming, mostly late at night. The questions are so easy that even the most naive viewer realizes something must be wrong here. Greeks are avid players of these games, and no wonder. Their wages are the lowest in Europe; they work long hours to pay off consumer loans, holiday loans, student loans, and loans to pay off other loans. Even those who realize what kind of a phone bill they’ll be getting are still tempted, thinking that this time they just might just win the money they need for the next loan payment.