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Women Read about the Stock Exchange, Men Buy Only Beer

25 June 2010 / 12:06:45  GRReporter
4955 reads

Life in Athens is becoming more dynamic and intense. Athenians like to drink coffee but they are learning to hurry. Maybe not according to the stringent European criteria for “hurry”, but yet they hurry. Two things that every resident of the town is looking at least once a day into the labyrinth of streets are taxis and … kiosks. Both of them are springing up like mushrooms after rain, and their glory as “profitable business” is not of today. Taxis and kiosks “rescue” people from difficult situations and unpleasant surprises that the day brings them ... People here are so accustomed to using their services 24 hours a day, that when they are abroad they often find themselves in ridiculous situations of stalemate at the last moment ...

The young Christ told me what it feels like to spend you working day in the city center but closed in a box of 2 square meters.

What it is like to work in a kiosk...

”The first thing people fear is that they are closed in a place which has an area of 2 square meters. They think that you are suffocating inside. That claustrophobia catches you. This is not true. You spend only two hours inside, the other 7 you're out ... We’ve got everything inside. PC, camera ... Things develop constantly. We are trying to help the customers and ourselves. Today you rarely see a line at the kiosks. You could see three people waiting before. I speak of Greece, of course. Not all European countries have kiosks as ours.”

The kiosk provides good monthly income

”I like the job, because you have contact with people. Indeed, many people pass by. And all kinds of people. If you own a kiosk this is a good monthly income. At this moment I am only assistant. I work nine hours every day. Sometimes I work in the evenings too. I chose the day shift because it is the “coolest”. There’s a lot of work.”

On how he started to work here...

”It was quite accidental. I discussed this job with my family and decided to start. As I said, I am not the owner of the kiosk, but at some point, when things in Greece get better, this will happen.”

People at this moment are...

”People are very scared at the moment. Life is like a hunting in the jungle. As soon as you have the chance to hit someone you will hit. To survive. People are really nervous. But it has always been so downtown. Everyone reacts according to his own level. When one hears only  bad news for this and that everywhere it is logical to feel depressed and anxious. But I think we went too far with our complaints. The fact is that things are worse than they were before 10, 20 years. But they are not so black as we present them.”

What Greeks read lately?
”The truth is that newspapers are sold less already. The situation changed since the news can be read online. Women read gossip. Men buy beers if there is a match, nothing else. During the World Cup they forget about the economic crisis and are not interested in their partners. They do not care about anything else ... Moreover, there is a struggle between men and women. Women want to outstrip men and get involved in finance, economics, stock exchange. They buy many such newspapers and magazines.”

What most shorts his temper?

"Customers, when there is a lot of tension. You often have to put serious efforts to handle some things. The worst is when a complaining customer comes. One that gives orders and is always unhappy ... "

Kiosks have become almost a symbol of Greece ...

"That's true. They are not so popular in Europe. The fact is that the habits of Europeans are different from ours, our cultures are different. You can buy things there at night too. There are machines that serve you. It is no problem for a man to throw a coin and get cigarettes from the machine. In many cases it’s even better to do this than see the face of the seller. Because it rarely is as it should be. The customer wants to see a smiling man, not grouchy and angry. If you are nervous it is not his or her concern. It is better for him to go to the self-service then. But if the Greek have to choose between the self-service and a smiling seller, he would prefer the latter. Because we are a people who like to talk. The new generation however is different. It wants to exchange not a single word with anyone. It prefers to hole up alone. I do not think this is a good sign. This means that here will be like in other European countries. We will stop talking."

His dream?

"I would like to do many things. Surely I would like to create. But nowadays it is very difficult. Especially in Greece. Here we don’t have the opportunities given to Greeks abroad. I know people that have done many interesting things abroad. For example, a Greek has contributed to the invention of the vaccine against uterine cancer. Here, however, things are not the like. "If you want to develop you will either take me with you or I will stand in your way" is our principle. We are always pushing each other. But despite these negative features I would like to live here. I would not live in another country. I have lived a little in England and in Germany. Of course, there is different. This is Europe. Greece is not considered to be Europe. Europe went from the ancient Greek culture and advanced much further. And we stayed in one place. "

Tags: KioskAthensStreet stories
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