The Finance Ministry said Sunday that banks will be closed for six days and local bank customers will only be able to withdraw €60 a day from ATMs to prevent the banking system from collapsing. To protect the vital tourism industry, cardholders of foreign accounts aren’t subject to the ATM limit.
Even with that withdrawal limit though, the lines at Greek ATMs are stretching for blocks and most of the machines are about as dry as the erotic energy between Angela Merkel and Yanis Varoufakis.
To top it off, most of the long lines are populated by people - many of them adorable senior citizens - looking to salvage their savings from a calamitous economic event, making the situation just that much more awkward for tourists who kind of, sort of, really want to go shopping in a country that is suddenly on clearance.
Costas Kessaris, whose jewelry and watch shop in central Athens attracts mainly wealthy tourists, said potential customers are noticeably concerned and avoiding expensive purchases.
“We haven’t sold a single item today. For tourists to splash thousands on a top brand watch or a piece of jewelry, they must feel happy and secure, and the climate in Greece these days is anything but,” Mr. Kessaris said.
How bad is the situation for merchants like Mr. Kessaris?
Adriana Sorenson, a New Yorker on a 10-day vacation, browsed the Rolex watch collection at the Kessaris shop.
Well, it obviously can't be that bad, he's got a New Yorker looking at a major deal on a luxury watch. Natural law dictates that Mr. Kessaris just sit back and warm up the cash register while Ms. Sorensen gives into her Big Apple-bred instinct and ponies up for the right to brag about how little she paid for a ROLEX!
“I want to buy a new watch and take advantage of the tax-free-VAT return,” Ms. Sorenson said. “But it just doesn’t feel right with all those people waiting in line to withdraw a mere €60. I’ll wait until the end of my vacation before I decide, but not today.”
Greece is f*cked you guys.