‘Tomatoes for 1 euro and get a free cell phone’

Local farmers’ street markets have been accused of everything from being middlemen to black-marketeering and charging high prices or, even worse, fixed prices. Local markets may be «the most controlled sector of the market,» according to the president of the local market organization, yet it is often alleged that a big proportion of fruit and vegetable sales are under the counter. Costas Hondroulis, president of the Panhellenic Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Vendors, says that fruit and vegetables obey the law of supply and demand more than any other product. «When there is an abundance of produce, it sells cheaply, and when there is not much, it is dearer. That is the law,» he said, adding that many factors can increase or decrease the availability of a product. Yet those who are used to shopping at their laiki, or local street market, are unlikely to give up the habit. It is colorful, there is plenty of choice, sometimes good prices and a festive atmosphere where they can combine shopping with social commentary, greetings, and information about the goods on sale as well as the neighborhood.