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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Staying in control (while others panic)

You've probably heard me say the same things before, about three years ago when Greece faced another Grexit crisis. We're experienced in these things now. 

"In central bank circles it was discussed why the Greek government had not yet introduced capital controls. The Governing Council and the Governing banking supervisors would feel better if there were capital controls to prevent bleeding of the banks." (Translated from this German link).

I'm no longer worried about when Greece runs out of money, as this is already a well established fact about Greece, a country so desperate to find money from anywhere it can, that it's practically begging (non)tax payers to pay their taxes, by allowing people with unpaid tax dues up to 31.12.2103 to pay just 50% of what they owe if they pay half what they owe up front (or: they can pay whatever they can, and the same amount will be forgiven, while the remainder can be paid in small amounts over a long period of time). As for those who paid all their tax dues on time, like myself, well, they can revel in the knowledge that they simply don't owe anything, it's that simple. (So if you are the 'paying' kind of person, you are the true loser; if you were a true believer of the ΔΕΝ ΠΛΗΡΩΝΩ movement, you  have just been vindicated.)

I wish Greece had introduced capital controls ages ago as it only seems sensible. (My husband says that the reason it hasn't is because we live in a very democratic country - there is no other explanation.) I no longer care if I run out of money - I just don't want to run out of food; it's time for me to stock up on pantry basics. Voting in a new government has resulted in people being irresponsible about how to handle money, and we often hear them blaming Germany for everything that went wrong in Greece. It's hard for me to like the new government when I am surrounded by spoilt-brat behaviour and misled rhetoric.

Our wood supply is protected from the
weather with all sorts of bricabrac
.
As long as no one takes the food
out of our mouth, we shall never starve.
Let's take a moment to imagine that capital controls to stop people taking money out of the bank are finally put in place overnight, just before the upcoming three-day weekend celebrating Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent before Christian Orthodox Easter):

We buy onions
every summer
in braids which
last nearly all year.
Don't look at the brown
bits on the cauliflower.
Boiling water blanches
them.
I've got plenty of beans in the pantry, some sorry-looking (due to the weather) broccoli, cauliflower and spinach that needs to be picked, plenty of onions, garlic and spices for flavour, and enough pasta and rice for bulk. I'm running out of flour, which is very important for me as I make a pie every week. I've just stocked up on some protein (from the German discounter supermarket chain LIDL, who gives Greeks what they want: apart from cheap imported food, they also sell cheap made-in-Greece food), and I also remembered to buy some petfood - our dog and cat have to eat too! There's plenty of wood for the heater till this temporary freeze goes away. I may not be able to buy petrol for the car if I can't use my credit card, which means that I will have to work from home, or simply take time off work. I've been wanting to do that for a long time.

Work at home is the same as in the office.
But I'm definitely not stocking up on cash. I hate cash. I can't stand the idea of taking money out of the bank just to make myself vulnerable to burglary, attacks, etc, which has already happened to others: a couple was robbed of 60,000 euro in mainland Greece, and only last weekend an elderly couple was murdered in a remote village in Hania, all because they were known to be keeping large stashes of cash in their house.

Reduced and non-reduced chicken wings.
It's not a war with starvation, blood and bullets, but it's definitely a war, and I know I'm one of the innocent victims, along with many other ordinary people like myself. Take for example the Bulgarian man in the supermarket who saw me picking up the last two sticker-special packets of chicken wings. He asked me if there were any more with a 30% reduction sticker, and when we realised that there weren't, I gave him one of the packets, so we could share the savings, and when he wasn't watching, I picked up another packet of chicken wings at the full price. That's what I call solidarity. I could have made another early morning trip to the supermarket to see if there were any more discounted chicken wings, but who wants to fight through the last-minute shopping rush before Clean Monday?

Clean Monday?! Oh gawd, the shellfish. I may not feel the need to buy or eat it myself (the family doesn't call me Merkel for nothing), but the rest of the brood won't be too happy to hear that we will be eating beans again. Another shopping trip is in order after all, in order to contain the masses, and maintain an appearance of being in control. Now, where do I find cheap seafood and halva*?

*LIDL sells cheap halva and seafood, but we are used to higher quality in this line of goods, since we rarely buy them.

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