Some of the staff are really taking things to the extreme with their requests for gifts. Because the resort has a very high percentage of returning guests, clearly many have been totally spoiled. I observed and overheard a few too many negative comments from staff when other guests offered what I considered to be nice gifts.[/quote]
I wonder if maybe that’s just the flip side of tourists not understanding what stuff is worth in Cuba…similarly, a lot of Cuban workers don’t understand that individual tourists aren’t necessarily “rich” in their own country and don’t exactly have name-brand products to spare for people they barely know. The tourists seem rich…hey, they’re wearing a nice pair of Nikes and sporting some bling (a nice engagement ring or a watch) that is totally out of the question for an ordinary person in Cuba…so what is it to them if I ask them for a little favour. Cell phones and Tommy Hilfiger shirts grow on trees in North America, don’t you know :-).[/quote]
I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. I don’t think they realize that brand name items are expensive. I may own a few items that are brand names, but it really is a few. It’s not so much that I couldn’t afford them, its that I choose to spend (or not) my money elsewhere (vacation in Cuba more often then I could otherwise ;D) so if anyone is looking for brand name clothing from me, they will be disappointed.
This is not a purely Cuban phenomenon, I recall family living in former a communist country asking for such items, and well, sorry, but I don’t buy that for myself so why would I get it for you. Everyone back there is wanting the latest in brand name items as some kind of status thing. We see it here in Canada, but mostly with teenagers, but in Cuba or back home, even adults want to showcase a label. They really don’t have much, so they will wear the one thing with a label as it somehow makes them feel that they are not so poor ???