NEWS

Patrons seeking value for money

What impact has the financial crisis had on those seeking nightlife? Three consumers explain what has changed, what bothers them and on what they have cut back. Maria Petami is one of the lucky ones in this «rough» year. She was promoted and saw her finances improve. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that she spends as much as she used to. «I might not have felt the crisis on a personal level, but I see it around me. That means that I might suddenly be out of a job. I have cut back on silly expenses: needless shopping and luxuries. I have also stopped ordering takeout food, to save money. On the other hand, I haven’t stopped doing things I consider essential: going to the cinema or theater at least once a month and going out to dinner or to a bar, because after working 12 hours a day going out becomes essential.» Yiannis Pandis is a graphic artist. He lives and works in the center of Athens and has seen his daily life change drastically, and not only due to the financial crisis. «It also has to do with what happened recently. The way we experience downtown Athens has changed. As a consumer, I think differently now. Recreation-wise, I go out once or twice a week to the same places I have been going to for years. I don’t experiment with new places. In Athens, prices are much higher than the rest of Europe and perhaps this might be a good chance to clear things up, for establishments to show that they understand people are limited financially and make some smart, goodwill gestures that will reach the masses. In other European countries, professionals in the entertainment industry immediately changed their attitudes, while here they have adopted a wait-and-see stance. They are waiting to see how things will turn out. On the other hand, people should be more selective. I have the feeling that even though we talk incessantly about things becoming expensive, we will still go to cafes where the coffee costs 6 euros, but perhaps not so often.» Constantina Tigani works at a DVD club in Pangrati. The DVD rental market is going through a rough period, not just because of the crisis, but also due to the prevalence of downloading over the Internet. «Even people who don’t know anything about technology are learning to download movies and, as a result, are seeing movies even before they reach the screen.» The impact on her everyday life is already significant. «Today I think about everything, even the cost of my cigarettes.» On the issue of nightlife, Constantina says: «I prefer cheaper solutions. I search more for value for money. I won’t go to a bar where the entrance fee is 20 euros. That’s outrageous in Greece: Things that should be inexpensive are not – for absolutely no reason.»