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Home » Brands at year-end and large purchases » A guide for shopping during the holiday season
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A guide for shopping during the holiday season

Face to face

Andrea López y Luis Mariano Hernández talk about year end shopping and how we should not let ourselves be influenced by big brands and instead make conscious purchases.

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Andrea López - Graphic designer

Andrea López - Graphic designer

López has studied drawing and painting since she was 5 years old and studied graphic design and animation in college, which led to her illustrating again and fall in love with sketching.

She currently works as a digital designer and in production at BBDO and freelances other illustration and animation projects.

Year’s end and consumerism, a guide for shopping during the holiday season

By Andrea López 

When we think of the end of the year, what comes to mind? Personally, I think of Christmas. And that’s because Christmas has become synonymous with gifts, shopping, and spending.

But when we do our Christmas shopping, are we making conscious purchases?

We see all kids of sales, with the goal of making customers buy, in a consumerist cycle, where we only stop to plan our next purchase; from the Christmas tree, which if real, turns into trash that the garbage truck has to take away later.

They say the country’s economy is failing, but we see malls full of deals and people coming and going, with store hours extending to meet demand.

And it’s our culture that has taught us that the more we have, the happier we’ll be. But what would happen if we avoided consumerism or redirected it?

One suggestion is to really think of what we’re gifting. Certainly sometimes there are occasions when we need something specific or want something specific, but we have other options. What if when we buy presents we support local businesses? We could support the people who sell hand-made products, with love, as a smaller production but equal quality, all while being unique.

What if we walk by the farmer’s market, the flea market in zone 4, or some other bazaar? The phrase goes, “buy local, make it a good Christmas for someone else,” and it’s not only about buying, it’s about giving something thoughtful to the people around us. This phrase makes sense as we walk around these places and see all the available options; there are more and more high quality products, from flavored popcorn, like barbeque or Nutella, to shoes, jewelry, and art made with ingenuity.

Diana Archila has just created Apapacho artisanal chocolates that are a great addition to any gift. Natural Oil regularly releases natural skin products. Natty Boutique has clothes and bags, and the list goes on and on for products we can find, all unique and special.

So, at this year’s end, before we buy, let’s think about what we’re going to give. Let’s not allow for consumerism to lead us only to large stores and let’s find unique products that help grow entrepreneurs in our country and have a positive change with our purchases.

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Luis Mariano Hernández - Asesor

Luis Mariano Hernández - Asesor

Degree in Marketing, Universidad Rafael Landívar; Masters in Quality Management, Universidad de Valencia/Universidad Jaume I; Masters in Finance Administration, Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.

Marketing and Quality Consultant at Work & Feeling, S.A.

Brands at year-end and large purchases

By Luis Mariano Hernández 

I’ve always been a little nostalgic during November and December, perhaps because it’s the end of the year or perhaps because it reminds me of my now distant childhood, in which I would watch Christmas specials on a national television channel with my cousins and wait for the commercials to see all the new toys so I could choose what I “really wanted” as a gift.

I remember this one specific toy car that gained traction with friction and the front part would deform when it hit something. Then, with the touch of a button, it would return to its original form and you could start all over again. Oh, I almost forgot you could attach it to your belt so you could take it everywhere. Well, it turns out when I went to go see it at a store in Zone 1 with my uncle, I realized this toy was much smaller than what it appeared to be on TV. What a let down! After being so sure that is what I wanted, I voluntarily chose to not have them buy it for me. At my young ten years of age, for the first time, I realized I had been tricked by the media and the advertising of a brand.

It’s been almost 30 years since this story and I can see that as time passes, the tendency is growing towards that need to have people get us “something” for the holidays. Consumption has become an indispensable condition to “celebrate” Christmas. Regardless of social standing, needs, or debt, the important part is to buy, buy, buy.

From restaurants promoting their space for holiday parties, ads for beer and liquor, grocery stores, perfume stores, department stores, even hotels and travel agencies, all seen on billboards, the back of buses, social media, they all have the same objective: seizing your year-end bonus – and, if possible, your monthly quotas on your credit card because you can’t purchase it cash down. Marketing does a great job and the money invested in campaigns, media, deals and promotions, has to be outnumbered by the money that comes in from year-end sales.

I don’t know if anyone will ever be able to pinpoint the moment that our society fell to our most lowly instincts of extreme consumerism, with malls every 500 meters, an over saturation of ads displayed everywhere, exceedingly high interest rates on credit cards, and those extreme desires to always have more, to inevitably, be less.

Why do they have consumers believe that if they drink this beer or that liquor, they’ll be able to land the model type? What about an expensive perfume or luxury brand will make you look like a famous person? Are you going to score more goals or is national team going to classify for the World Cup because they wore the same shoes that a famous soccer star did in an ad? It’s all a lie. For what? To create demand based on irrational aspirations that not only affect the wallet of those who “can” afford those luxuries (building debt) but also distort the perception of children and teenagers.

However, there are still those who visit nursing homes or orphanages during the holiday season (and any season) or those who collect toys and clothes for the needy, and those that seek to bond with their families. To them, I say congratulations, for their genuine Christmas spirit. To everyone else, those that are only trying to find which perfume to buy, or tablet to choose, or car to ride off in, from the bottom of my heart I wish them a “Merry Consumerism!”

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