Greece's cash crisis has disrupted all aspects of daily life — death included.
Greek funeral homes are struggling to cope with banking restrictions that limit customers to taking out only 60 euros ($65) a day in cash. Even a modest funeral service in Greece costs more than 15 times that, in a country that traditionally carries out funerals shortly after death and pays for them almost entirely in cash.
"With the capital controls at the banks, no matter who we asked money from, we couldn't even recover our costs," said Eustratios Voulamandis, who runs a funeral home in a blue-collar neighborhood west of Athens.
In a back room of the funeral home, work has carried on in the last few weeks. Employees removed shrink wrap from coffins and used a staple gun to fasten ornamental fabric around the caskets. But Voulamandis' business relies on lump sum payments made by survivors that start at 800 euros ($866) and are currently impossible to collect.
"To get started on a funeral service, we need 800-1,000 euros but people are giving us 50, 70, even 20 euros and telling us it's all they have," he said.