OPINION

Consumer timidity?

There has been much debate recently regarding the government’s efforts to crack down on high prices; indeed opinion polls are rating it as one of the chief concerns of the Greek citizen today. The government is trying to implement measures, which the press is already dismissing as inadequate, to effectively curb the rise in profiteering we have witnessed since the euro came into our lives. But it seems that debate on this issue has no bearing on current reality. A few years ago, I remember seeing a woman telling a sales assistant in a shop in San Francisco that she had bought a dress from there, only to find it was being sold $10 cheaper in another store. The store staff immediately checked the veracity of the woman’s claims before offering her the same dress at an even cheaper price than the second store in order to keep her as a customer. We Greeks, who are used to buying goods at whatever prices they are offered to us, are rare witnesses to such an attitude and cannot imagine that we as citizens could possibly contribute to determining prices. And I am afraid that we will continue to balk at such an approach as we have not learned to search for and compare prices and seem to consider it degrading to negotiate for better prices on products we are interested in buying. This mentality, along with our inability to adapt to the euro, has contributed significantly to the consistently high prices on the Greek market.