Making life harder

Government officials sometimes wonder why Greeks are always complaining. They have obviously never known what it means to have to waste their time in a thousand different ways. They have never felt the frustration and sense of futility felt when a simple five-minute transaction with the tax office, a bank or civil service department often requires an hour-long wait in line and another hour or two getting there and back on public transport. They have obviously never known what it means for a young couple not to be able to go to the cinema and come home by bus, as most cinemas are centrally located and buses stop running shortly after 11 p.m. and the metro at 11.30 p.m. They cannot understand the feelings of the pensioner who has had to give up visiting the local cafe to see his friends because the price of a cup of Greek coffee has risen to 1.5 euros, the equivalent of 500 drachmas. Nor are these officials aware that when the cost of local calls has skyrocketed, 95 percent of Greeks couldn’t care less whether the price of calls to Australia has been drastically reduced. Pensioners and those with low wages are now prevented from talking to their loved ones for as long as they need to – and these are the very people for whom the telephone is a vital link to others.

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