OPINION

The greatest illusion of Greek consumers

It seems, after all, that we are extremely idealistic. We and our children drink milk under the illusion that it is fresher than fresh. And, as we have learned, it is not. We are under the impression that this milk is produced in Greece, and it is not. We rush to take out loans under the delusion that it does not involve any risks. And of course, this is not true either. We drink fruit juices – whether pure or «cocktail» – with the image in our heads of genial people plucking oranges in their orchards, squeezing them there and then and offering us the fruits of their labor for a pittance. Of course, nothing ever happens this way, or certainly not in keeping with the version peddled to us by producers. The «natural Greek juices» we buy have had their freshness boosted by foreign imports. Tons of juice is brought into the country in the form of blocks of ice, melted down and mixed and then packaged and sold as Greek produce. On a general level, we are consuming illusions – and at the highest prices in Europe, to boot. The illusion of healthiness, freshness, Greek-produced and originality are all up for sale. And the miracle worker who has undertaken the task of presenting something non-existent as real is none other than the advertising executive. The recent trend of television channels – state and private – interrupting their news bulletins two or three times each evening in order to wedge in a few advertisements between the first and second »shocking» revelation has led to a blurring of the line between promotion and fact (if what news bulletins present us with can be construed as facts). So, the promotional ads that we are bombarded with (whether they be for milk, yogurt, bank loans or credit cards) prove that lyricism and bucolic poetry are alive and well today. Finally we have discovered a land of milk and honey where people are honorable and have no profiteering urges whatsoever. There is no doubt that we are being obliged to consume illusions – illusions that there are no cartels, profiteering traders and misleading advertising. And why do we believe that these scourges do not exist? It is quite simple. Because our state competition committees, price observatories and ministry departments would never allow such illicit practices. And this is the greatest illusion of them all.