February 25, 2012
Greece will be fine. A little bureaucratic red tape is no hindrance to business. The Greek economy is merely a little light on liquidity, otherwise it would be growing like gangbusters.
As e-commerce continues to gain ground apace abroad, and even Greeks seem to be warming to the idea of Internet shopping, opening an online store based in Greece is no job for the fainthearted. “An online store is more complicated than a regular store basically because of the way payments are carried out,” explained Fotis Antonopoulos, one of the co-founders of www.oliveshop.com, which sells olive oil-based products such as cosmetics, mostly to foreign markets.
Antonopoulos and his partners spent hours collecting papers from tax offices, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the municipal service where the company is based, the health inspector’s office, the fire department and banks. At the health department, they were told that all the shareholders of the company would have to provide chest X-rays, and, in the most surreal demand of all, stool samples.
Once they climbed the crazy mountain of Greek bureaucracy and reached the summit, they faced the quagmire of the bank, where the issue of how to confirm the credit card details of customers ended in the bank demanding that the entire website be in Greek only, including the names of the products.
I wish everyone who still believes that government can provide the solution to anything, including the very small number of tasks that the U.S. government is Constitutionally responsible for carrying out, was forced to open an online store in Greece before being permitted to vote.
By the time the Germans have finished looting Greece, it will probably be necessary for Greeks to have their stool samples manually extracted by American TSA agents contracted out to the IMF before they are provided with their licenses to collect a daily subsistence ration.