Greece: Shoppers not convinced over government scheme to cut prices of essential goods

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By Euronews
A woman wearing a face mask holds a trolley as other customers wait in a queue to shop goods at a supermarket in Athens
A woman wearing a face mask holds a trolley as other customers wait in a queue to shop goods at a supermarket in Athens   -   Copyright  Thanassis Stavrakis/Copyright 2020 The AP. All rights reserved

As Greece grapples with sky-high inflation, the government has introduced a new scheme aimed at easing the burden of soaring prices felt by consumers.

The so-called 'household basket' plan, which came into force on Wednesday, compels all major retail chains to cut the prices of over 50 essential goods, ranging from flour to disposable nappies. 

But shoppers in Greece remain sceptical about the initiative. 

“51 products... that's too little", said one customer.

"In this store you will find more than 5000 products. For example, I do not eat pasta, so what do I care if pasta is a product of the basket? I do not believe this measure will be any help. It is just a trick to fool the consumers”. 

Each supermarket chain is free to choose which products to select and how much to sell them for. The price drop will remain in place for one-week at a time, while the selected products and how much they cost will change every week.

“For example, there are two products of milk, with a special sign saying that they are part of the “household basket” -- their prices are lower than last week -- they fell from €1.65 per litre to €1.39", said store manager Stratoula Poulelli. 

"Another product that is part or the “household basket” is tomato juice, its price was €0.84, now it is €0.64 and it will stay at this “special price” all week”, she added.

With the 'household basket', the Greek government hopes to temper double-digit inflation that has left residents outraged and out of pocket.

“Prices were high, now they have lowered them a bit, but they will rise again next week. I do not think this measure will help at all. I don’t understand what authorities had in mind”, one customer said.