Unprecedented scenes unfolded in a big Super Market downtown Katerini (Central Greece), when some 50 people, arriving simultaneous at payment counters asked for a 15% discount.
As expected the management of the Super Market refused to grant the requested discount. And what did the consumers do? They simply walked out leaving behind a mountain of filled shopping baskets.
This original idea of protesting high prices was initiated by the “Voluntary Action Group Pieria”, a group of active locals.
According to website O TOPOS MOU the angry and frustrated consumers protested the high prices of basic necessities and the sharp decrease of income.
“Our family income fell by 20% only in the last 4-5 weeks, our purchasing power is shrinking day by day, while the profits of your company grow. Amid economic crisis, galloping inflation, companies like yours are making profits at double-digit numbers. Get the phone now, call the headquarters in Athens and tell them what we ask! ” said the angry consumers.
While waiting for the answer from Athens people started to raise their voices demanding immediate reduction in prices.
Other consumers shopping at the store joined the protesters and patiently waited.
“Furious mothers with children, pensioners with a trembling voice, and even high school students stood firmly next to each other asked the obvious: to protect the citizens from the multinational companies and the big sharks, who undisturbed prey on the Greek market. “ reported the website. At the end the protesters moved to a local super market that promised them 5% mass reduction.
Greeks pay 40% to 80% more than other Europeans
It is a common practice in Greece that the same consumer goods are sold 40%-80% higher than in other European countries like Germany, Great Britain or France, when salaries are average lower in average.
Some Greek Media have often blamed the price cartels, fixing prices among international producers selling in Greece. Other accused the corrupted system. While others see high transportation costs as the reason why the Greek consumer has to pay more to buy a bag of detergent, a tube of tooth paste or a bottle of Coca Cola than his German or French counterpart.
Broken Milk Cartel
Two years ago the milk prices cartel was broken, when businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos reduced the price for 1 Liter fresh milk from EUR 2 down to EUR 1.
I personally, having moved to Greece from abroad, was astonished to buy one liter of Milk for whole 2 Euros! Now Vgenopoulos’ fresh milk is sold at 1,01 EURO in Super Markets. At the same time the consumer can find milk of different brands sold for up to 1,80 EURO.
Where shall I get the money for the Price Increases from? Inflation rate!
Last month Development Minister Louka Katseli had meetings with businessmen asking them to reduce prices for consumer goods. The purpose was to reduce prices so consumers could buy products thus avoiding a total stagnation (stagflation) and an upcoming unemployment. The dialogue ended fruitless. Having failed to force price-reductions in order to catch up with Recession the Government raised the VAT.
According to EUROSTAT inflation in Eurozone in May was 1,6 %. In Greece 5,3%.
And we all know that when official inflation is X-digit, it is XX or even XXX digits on the street.
The result I see every Saturday when I pay the bill at my neighborhood’s Super Market. Since a couple of weeks I pay 15-20 EURO more, that is 60 to 80 Euros more per month. My “shopping basket” increase is some 30% to 32%.
Where shall I find this extra money I need???
Link for O TOPOS MOY