COSTA RICA BOG – If there is one thing Costa Rica adopted from the United States it is the value of retail sales However, unlike the U.S. the sell/buy season is exaggerated out of proportion.

Year after year the schedule is like this: Mother’s Day (A buying spree unto itself and a necessity unto itself for every child, grandchild and in-law.) that kicks off the Holiday Season of retail sales. On August 16, 2014 go to Walmart, Price Smart and Universal and there you will see the first trappings of Christmas. (Small toys just waiting to be bought. Mostly the leftovers from last year.) After Independence day, September 15th then on come the big Christmas guns and it does not stop until late January when “stock” is about sold out. (What is leftover goes into the 2015 push.)

Costa Rica has taken the concept of a retail Holiday Season with exaggeration and it is copied directly from the United States. “Black Friday” in Paradise starts months before Christmas day. It is out of moral control, especially for the struggling income earners with two or more kids who are inundated with super expensive credit terms.

Certainly there will be plenty of things to do and see during this up coming time; some free of charge and others designed to milk those on limited budgets who just might pay more since the infamous aquinaldo (Bonus) will be paid out between November and mid-December of this year. In concert with higher prices, crime will also escalate proportionately. It always has in the past and 2014 should not be the exception.

This op-ed is only the 1st. salvo in one another society that has replaced the true meaning of Christmas with sales and profit. Just watch the push, the pressure to buy and buy more in order to make loved ones and even strangers “happy.” (Where is Christ in all this?)

And then after the big day…hit the beach hotels with higher prices and expensive yet low services. However, for the past three seasons the tourist industry has cried foul because Costa Rica has become too expensive for many travelers, except perhaps Matt Damon, and is now not the child delight of the international vacationer.

Readers, we are headed into the most difficult time of year for both expats and nationals alike. It will be expensive, demanding, unrelenting as the crescendo leads up to the big event when pockets are finally emptied and minds boggled for the want of real value.

Here we are, a country that has Catholicism as its official religion and yet the quest for profit easily prevails over the true meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ.

As an expat, I remember that a loaf of special bread (Pan Casero), a hand made sweater that might or might not fit, a ring made in a Guanacaste development, flowers from San Jose de la Montana, a simple prayer and a sincere wish was valued more instead of the latest iPhone, breast implants, $200 jeans, etc. and given in the spirit of, “I care about you.”

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