Panicked Greeks Buying Everything They Can

Nobody wants to be stuck with money in the bank
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2015 5:03 AM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2015 6:44 AM CDT
Panicked Greeks Buying Everything They Can
A man stands in front of a discount shop in central Athens yesterday.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The middle of an unprecedented economic crisis might seem like a strange time to go on a shopping spree, but these are strange times in Greece. As a European Union deadline looms and the country's future looks increasingly uncertain, many of the Greeks who still have money are spending it on anything they can find, even paying their taxes in advance in case the banks fail and their savings disappear, the New York Times reports. Buyers are especially keen on items that can be resold, and one jeweler says he had to reject a customer who wanted to spend $1.1 million yesterday—because, like the customer, he felt that keeping the jewels was much safer than keeping money in the bank.

"I can't believe that there I was, turning away a million-dollar offer," the jeweler says. "But I had to turn down the deal. It's a measure of the risk we face." When Cyprus was bailed out in 2013, depositors with more than $110,000 in the bank lost around 40% of their savings, and Greeks with money in the bank are doing all they can to avoid a similar "haircut," the Times notes. But getting their money isn't easy: The Greek government has extended bank closures and a $66-per-day withdrawal limit at ATMs until at least Monday, the BBC reports. That's the day after an emergency summit of all 28 EU leaders, and the Guardian notes that if the Greek government fails to deliver an economic plan by the end of today, that summit could end up being about a Greek exit from the eurozone. (More Greek debt crisis stories.)

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