‘Who can live without a mobile phone these days?’

Although her monthly wage is no more than about 850 euros, 29-year-old Panayiota G., a journalist, could not resist buying the new Playstation. Naturally, she charged it on her credit card. Alexandra M., a 27-year-old hairdresser, spent 300 euros last week to buy a good MP3 player so she can listen to music while commuting by metro from Kato Patissia to Moschato, where she works. It was time to put the Discman away in a drawer. «It was too big to carry around with me. I can’t even feel the MP3,» she said. The family of Haralambos F., a truckdriver, has been surfing the Net for the past six months with a DSL link, which is faster but more expensive. «If you’re going to do something, you have to do it properly, that’s what I say,» was his explanation. However, he is struggling to pay for his children’s tuition at a cramming college and meet payments on a consumer loan. «I know that on my income I shouldn’t have made the purchase, but I don’t see it like that,» said Alexandra. «Whatever we say, new needs keep coming up and if you don’t keep up with them, you get left behind. Obviously it is more important to be able to go out more often and I would like to have the money to go on a trip, but I don’t even think about it.» Panayiota feels the same way. «The truth is that we have become very consumption-oriented. What we have is never enough and credit cards make it very easy to buy things we really can’t afford. Someone might ask me whether I really need the Playstation and say I should be saving money. But on the other hand, you only live once, don’t you?» As a family man, Haralambos is used to such dilemmas. «Obviously, I have never deprived my children of something in order to do just what I want. Our priorities are certainly the children’s food, clothing, even their toys. We don’t want them to go without.» «However, you have to keep up with progress. For example, who can live without a mobile phone these days?»

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