Thursday, April 27, 2006


It is a little known fact, but the foreign visitors that spend the most money in London are...Mexicans.

If we in the developed world invest in brands because they say nice things about us, rich Mexicans spend money as if the world will come to an end in a fiery apocaypse the moment they stop!

In fact, it's a mentality common amongst South and Central America's affluent. It's founded on a naive materialism and a deep existential fear. The ownership of stuff is what shores up their otherwise precarious membership of the international community of consumers, creating an important pyschological distance between them and the creditless millions back home.

It's the big three of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina that seem to produce the majority of these pathological purchasers, and the Argies are surely the continent's most incurable wannabes.

"Because he's never going to buy me a swimming pool" was how one Argentine lass explained to the Professor the reasons she was breaking off her long-standing relationship with one of his best friends. Surfer has also just fallen (very) foul of the Argentinian dream, and how can I forget how yet another girl from B.A. described how she wanted to fly the Chanel flag from a flagpole outside her house, just like the ones in Old Bond Street.

Typically we blame globalisation on the dastardly yanks, but Guatemala's Pollo Campero chain shows that locally-grown businesses in the developing world can aspire to making the world an uglier and same-ier place too.

There are now 417 Camperos across Central America and their expansion into the US a couple of years ago has been very successful. This year the doors will open to new restaurants in Jakarta (Indonesia) and in Madrid. They may not play baseball with their birds like Bernard Matthews, but the expansion and diversification of this chain is hardly good news for animal wellfare across the globe. Only HN bird flu seems capable of stopping them now. (Indeed I've read that the 3 branches planned for China have been put on hold.)


scott said...

My wife and I just had Pollo Campero last night, in suburban Virginia...when this location opened a year or so ago there were lines for months, police directing traffic, and guardrails installed to channel the queue.

I agree that it is all a little appalling. And it's not as good in the US as it is in Guatemala (a cliche, but true!).

Inner Diablog said...

I have to say, we do like their ice-creams, especially the piña colada flavour one!