Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

The new paliatzi on the block


No matter where you live in Greece, chances are there is a paliatzi (or several) scavenging your neighborhood for old appliances, furniture, car parts or anything else they can sell off or drop at the dump for profit.

When I lived in a small village, I saw usefulness in the chair guy, plant guy and fruit guy driving by. Many people didn’t have cars or the means to get to a larger town for what they needed in diversity, so products and services would come to their doorstep. There was even an unspoken schedule: Chair guy in May, tables in June, plant guy September and April, etc. Convenient.

But do we really need this in Athens? And do we really need so many paliatzi guys? There are 30,000 in Athens alone. How much crap can we have morning and night, day after day? I’ve only put one refrigerator and one stove on the street in 12 years, and they were gone in less than five minutes.

Like snails after the rain, I figure they come in waves because the second or third guy can capitalize on an opportunity if yiayia isn’t able to run out in time to get the attention of the first. It’s like an ice cream truck that drives through the neighborhood too fast and never stops while you’re trying to find your money, except in this case you can just catch the next one.

My fiancé and I noticed someone different the other night. His truck doesn’t have any rust and the tailpipe doesn’t drag on the ground. His speakers aren’t turned to maximum volume, there’s no static or crackling. And most notably, you can understand what he’s saying — no growling, no mumbling, no weird static, no snarling, just clearly enunciated words spoken at a reasonable volume in complete sentences.

He’s the new paliatzi on the block.

Now if I could just get that darn song out of my head by New Kids on the Block. Gah!

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