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So I’ve been on holiday in – you’ve got it – Greece. The sun shines, the beach beckons and the ATMs… well, let’s just say they aren’t in a giving mood. For those not up on the latest EU news, the Greek banks are having a liquidity crisis and the ECB aren’t extending emergency funding which, in plain speak like, means that Greek banks are closed for a week and ATMs (those that still have cash in them, an estimated 40%) will have severe withdrawal limits. But what does a simple (or complex, depending on how deep into things you want to go) economic issue (I’m in a polite mood) have to do with writing? In a word, obstacles – for our fictional hero(ine).

There are so many repercussions of ATMs not doling out the cash, all rife for taking advantage fictionally speaking. Add that to the fact that no regular (with the exception of some very large chains in the cities) shops are accepting credit cards as they fear these will not get paid/ have funds to live until banks reopen), and the picture is pretty bleak. And writers love bleak.

Some scenarios to consider:

– You’re a tourist. You normally take out cash for your holiday from the ATM because it works out cheaper this way. You’re suddenly struggling to find an ATM that dispenses cash and none of the shops are accepting credit cards…

– You’re a local business owner. None of your suppliers is accepting credit or cards or bank transfers (because the banks are closed and online banking is (for simplicity’s sake) down/non-existent). Everything is suddenly a cash transaction. You can’t access your funds in the bank and you have no customers this week because people would rather feed their families and cars than spend their limited cash at your shop.

– You’re an ordinary citizen with a large family (not just children – this is a recession in a country with close family ties). You get paid on the last day of the month and normally access your funds then to pay bills etc. These things are now on hold for a week as there is a week-long bank holiday that you could not prepare for as it was agreed on Sunday night.

They say misery loves company. Might as well take advantage.

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