Roma Kids Selling Flowers
There is a troop of Roma (Gypsy) children in Paralia that sell roses during the afternoon and evening. Even if you purchase a flower from one child, the next one that comes along will try to sell you more.
The kids will come into restaurants, hotel bars, and anywhere else people might be sitting down. They will come directly to your table and try to get you to buy flowers. Some of the kids will lay down flowers in front of a lady at your table and then get you to buy the flowers for that person.
Unique Suggestions: Don't let the kids push you over if you don't want to purchase any flowers. It just encourages them to behave badly to other people.
Most of the children pretend that they don't speak but they do. They also understand English, particularly the word "No".
If a child is insistent and you don't want the flowers, firmly tell them "No" when they try to force you to take flowers. If they won't take the hint, simply ignore them and they will eventually give up and go elsewhere.
Fun Alternatives: I know it is hard to do ignore a child who is begging with their eyes or wordlessly telling you that they are hungry by rubbing their stomachs...but purchasing from these kids just encourages their parents/guardian/gang leader to continue sending them out onto the streets at night.
I do admit myself that I have sometimes purchased flowers from one of the children. This has led to bad behavior on his part though because now every time he sees me, he feels that I have an obligation to purchase flowers from him and is sometimes overly insistent that I buy from him. The bar staff at Panorama had to tell him to leave me alone one weekend because he decided to camp out next to me until I broke down and bought the flowers.
If you do want to help them out, wait until late evening when their bucket is almost empty and they will offer what's left over at a discount. Once they empty out the bucket, the kids can go home. Last weekend (Jun 07) I got 26 roses for 10 Euros on what I guess was a bad night but the kid just wanted to go home.
Cheap Knock-Off CDs
During the summer months CD hawkers swarm the beach trying to sell knock-off CDs and sometimes DVDs to tourists.
I'm not going to take the high moral ground and try to dissuade people from buying knock-off CDs, however I do want to warn people that often the CDs are very poor quality and will often skip parts of the songs.
Unique Suggestions: One way to check the quality of knock-off CDs is to check the back of the CD. The recording will leave a visible mark on the back. The closer the mark to the edge of the CD, the more data on the disk...the more data, more songs or better quality.
Fun Alternatives: There is a really nice multimedia store in Thessaloniki in the Cosmos shopping center. I'm sure that there is also a smaller store in Katerini somewhere that you can purchase original CDs with good quality.