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submitted by Blake More on 10.02.2008

Thrift

A while ago there was an interesting entry here concerning Kytherian thrift. I personally think thrift is a very good thing, even when I find it in its extreme forms (as long as it doesn't degenerate into selfishness or nastiness and this does not seem to be the case among Kytherians). I was attracted to this entry because I have been living here on the Yucatan peninsula (this is in Mexico) for about forty years, and when I first came to live here I was very surprised to find that the people here are extremely thrifty or at least they hate to pay the asking price for just about anything. Actually this form of thrift goes beyond thrift and borders on the bothersome. People here are constantly bragging about how little they paid for anything they buy. And this is very different from what I had found in Mexico City where I had lived for several years before coming here. There, people are just the opposite. They love to brag about having paid great quantities for whatever they buy.
So I started asking around among different people I knew and liked (I still like them, and they still like me), and the answer I came up with most frequently is more or less the following. This peninsula is a great slab of limestone with very little topsoil, so agricultural activity is very difficult and in some areas impossible. So the people here have become accustomed to alternating periods of want and hunger with less frequent times of (relative) plenty. In other words, the general attitude is, If you have money or goods right now, hold onto them as long as you can because very soon you will be suffering again from hunger and want.
To this one should probably add that the Yucatan peninsula is the most isolated part of the country. So the Spanish language spoken here, heavily influenced by the indigenous language Maya, is very different from the Spanish spoken in other parts of the country. This causes other Mexicans to look down on Yucatecs and to assume they are less than intelligent, which is of course not true.
All of this may contribute to what I have called thriftiness but which may go beyond that. So ... I wonder if there may be similar historical and sociological factors on the Island of Kythera that would result in a general attitude of thrift. I am going to the island for the first time ... soon ... so I have not yet had any first hand experience of Kytherian thrift.

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