OPINION

Supply and demand

Smiles and pompous assurances that everything is going well cannot hide the truth: Sales of tickets for the Olympic Games are far short of meeting expectations. This has to be indicative of something, and not merely to economists. The first problem is that this is not a case of purchasing tickets but of «declaring interest» – if you are lucky enough to be selected, you will get all you desire, otherwise you will get your money back. The second problem is financial: Even the cheapest tickets, the so-called «Olympic experience,» are expensive – an expense that is unacceptable when you consider that they allow you to watch the quarter finals of the swimming tournament, a bit of badminton and some early track events. Our country may be «stable» and our economy «booming» but the sum in euros being sought is a lot – especially for families. A third problem is bureaucratic: It may have been the tax office’s decision for VAT to be paid by e-mail, but that does not mean that everyone has a computer or that, if they do, it has an Internet connection. The fourth, and perhaps most serious, problem keeping many from buying tickets is not the Greeks’ beloved habit of leaving everything to the last minute – as the organizers would have us believe – but the fact that the whole affair has become one big guilt trip. «Rush to get your tickets,» they say «otherwise the foreigners will buy them and we hosts will be in the minority.» What they really mean is: «Do you love Greece? Prove it! Buy a ticket!»