The Uniquely Greek Kiosks Soon to Become History

periptero23-600x450The renowned Greek kiosks that used to be found in every street corner selling newspapers, cigarettes, candy, soft drinks and other goods, are soon to become history as their licenses will not be renewed.

The new omnibus bill about to be signed in parliament dictates that the unique “periptera,” the traditional “mini markets” on the sidewalks in most every city in Greece, are about to go the way of the milkman delivering milk four decades ago.

According to a provision on the multi-bill, when a kiosk closes down or the owner dies, the license cannot be renewed or transferred.

It is estimated that there are about 12,000 such kiosks in Greece with the number dwindling rapidly ever since the economic crisis hit the country. It seems that the new bill will put the last nail on the coffin of a much cherished Greek tradition.

Some kiosks were literally 24-hour mini markets selling goods like gloves, skull caps, rucksacks, milk, yogurt, nuts, ice cream, beer, batteries, condoms, children’s toys, and whatever merchandise could fit in a small place.

The first kiosk in Athens opened in 1911 on Panepistimiou Street, and the idea of the periptero soon spread all over Greece and became an institution. When kiosks started hanging the newspapers, people would gather around to look at the headlines, often starting discussions based on the news.

In neighborhoods, the kiosk owner was known by all and he knew everyone and everything happening on the street. He would tell you all the neighborhood gossip or discuss with you sports and political developments.

Recession hit kiosks hard. The necessarily steeper prices drove people away. When in the past people would buy candy or soft drinks from the kiosk, now they would go to the super market to get the same things at a lower price. It was the beginning of the end.

Out of the 1,080 kiosks in Athens alone, almost half have closed down and about 300 of them have been abandoned. The municipality has removed most of them from the sidewalks and very few closed ones are left standing, reminding passers-by days of prosperity.

omonoia


  • John

    It’s sad when companies close down, but knowing that many of them were the biggest tax dodgers, maybe if they had been a bit more honest the state would not have closed them down. As always the honest ones are being punished more.

  • Cliff Arroyo

    I’m assuming this is more about tracking people’s individual private purchases than the kiosk owners’ taxes.

  • Ted Forster

    When we first moved to Rhodes there kiosks were 1 of the things we loved. Not only could we get my wife her cigarettes, milk, sweets etc, but we got to know the owners and they us. They helped us learn the language, and we helped them with English. Many evenings when they were not busy we would stand at our local kiosk for an hour exchanging information and language tips.We also found them a font of information on places to go etc.
    Sad to see them go. I know they are mainly family run, but yet more people go from full time employment for life to the dole queue’s with no chance of a job.

  • Aelialicinia

    now only the multinationals will be able to dodge taxes… the little guys get screwed again…

  • John

    Dont’ feel persecuted, what do you think the CIA or the police mind about what honest people buy or not?

  • Taketa

    So now what, everyone will have to go to supermarkets owned by corporations? It sounds ver American to me.

  • Marcus

    As John says they may have been tax dodgers but now they will have to line up at the soup kitchens and the unemployment office to get government assistance. Somebody will have to pay taxes so that the former Greek kiosks can get the government assistance not only that but the tax rate will have to be increased. It doesn’t make sense to me.

  • John Ciombras

    small sole traders with low annual turnovers will never be the biggest tax dodgers, Even if all the periptero owners paid no income tax, I could not imagine the amount of uncollected tax would equal that 1 of corporation’s tax evasion.

  • TrickyDicky

    Obvious question – WHY are the licences not going to be renewed. Terrible reporting!