Wordsmith.org: Today's Word

Commentary, news, new ideas, links, quote of the day and much more

Today's Quote:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Relative Values

Foreigners often experience 'Culture Shock" when they move to Costa Rica. The values are different here. Below is something I recently wrote to a friend who had sent me information about how the phone companies in the USA earned money from text messaging:

t's strange. Here the text messaging is free, but the calls are more expensive. So everyone wants a cell phone to get that free texting and they all use it instead of calling. But once they have the cell phone, they can't resist the instant voice contact, so they start using that frequently as well. Of course, here, smart phones (especially iPhone) are a status symbol. Heidi went to the local grammar school with Nogui one day for some event. In front of her were Nogui's seven-year-old daughter, Hellen, and a friend of hers. The little girls saw Heidi taking pictures with her iPhone. One said, "Is that an iPhone?" When Heidi said it was, the other little girl said, "An iPhone 4?" "Well, no, " said Heidi. It's an iPhone 3.5." The little girls rolled their eyes at this apparent lack of taste in a Gringa and said, "so . . . it's ONLY an OLD one." Imagine this with seven-year-old disgust! Neither of their families, of course, could afford even an old iPhone, but they had expected better from a Gringa. Too funny! Little kids so in tune with what's IN. When the iPhone 4s were finally introduced in Costa Rica (San Jose area only) several months ago, the line for the limited number available (1000, I believe) filled Parque La Sabana which is BIG and then around the several kilometers of sidewalk surrounding the park. People had camped out overnight to be closer to the first ones to get a phone. These same folks will do without new clothes or more food in order to have the new gimmick. ICE said it had seriously underestimated the demand and quickly made arrangements to import thousands more. Which were all grabbed up. A new house is out of most people's reach. A new car or a new horse (horse's being more expensive than most houses) is also out of reach. So people need something to show status. Bling, the latest hi-tech gadgets, and knock-off "stylish" clothing are the best ways to do that. Very few people have a good understanding of what the real value of jewels (eg. diamonds) is, so they'd rather have a very large zirconium engagement ring to flash at everyone than a smaller real diamond. It's all a matter of perception of value which is very much a cultural thing and not based on hard data.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
I live on the Pacific slopes of the Talamanca mountain range in southern Costa Rica. My adult children live in the United States. I have a Masters Degree in Gerontology but have worked as a migrant laborer, chicken egg collector, radio broadcaster, secretary, social worker, research director, bureaucrat, writer, editor, political organizer, publicist, telephone operator, and more. My hobby of photography has garnered some awards.

Blog Archive