Morocco's product-inferiority

When I still lived with my parents, every summer used to be hell.
It was the time to plan our travels to Morocco. 2 of the children would go by airplane and the other 2 would go by car with my parents. 2 or 3 days long jammed in a car and sleeping in cheap roadside hotels. (I really feel sorry for the ones who slept in their car. Brrrr). Especially the hotels in southern spain were horrendous. That area of Spain is seriously still underdeveloped, they still use squat toilets!! But they have Cola Cao chocolate drink so I forgive them.

So anyhow, besides sucking up to my parents and begging to travel by plane, we also endured the countless shopping trips of my parents.
We received a shopping-list from family-members in Morocco and off we went buying everything they wished.
Cars(!), dryers, playstations, mayonaise, peanut-butter, dutch cheese, curry gew├╝rz, H&M -jeans, everything you can imagine.
And it was not that they were poor and we bought these products for them as a present. No they paid everything back. Most of my remaining family-members in Morocco are actually better off than my parents in the Netherlands! Seriously, 2 houses, 2 cars, 2 well-paid jobs. Just upper-middle-class.
We were 1 house, 1 car, 1 job, lower middle-class.

No, we bought this stuff because of this very weird and stupid myth that goes around in Morocco.
The myth that everything that comes from Europe is of a better quality. There is this idea in Morocco that everything whats sold in Morocco is of a bad quality.
So the Sony-VCR sold in Marjane or Metro and the Sony VCR sold in the Dutch Makro are both made in China. But due to some mysterious technique the one sold in Morocco is of a lesser quality, simply because its sold in Morocco.
I seriously didn't know where they got that idea from.
I mean, most of them are well-educated. So they should know how a product is being produced, assembled and sold in the globalized market.
They can't be that stupid right?

I thought for a while that it might be about status. A European product marks your upward climb in the social ladder. But you cant see if a dvd-player was bought in Marjane-Casablanca or Carrefour-Marseille. And I never heard of people really bragging about where there appliances come from.
Of course status plays some role in the whole story. But the idea that Moroccan-sold products are inferior plays a bigger role (and actually triggers the status-part)

This way of thinking captivated me. I thought it kind of resembled the widespread inferiority-complex of the Moroccan society.
But is that really so? Is the Moroccan society, as a whole, really that stupid to believe in the superiority of European-sold products?

I'm afraid it is. This whole idea of product-superiority is part of the way of thinking in North Africa. And to some extent, in other parts of the developing world.
Products purchased in the developed world simply have a better image.
Developing countries are developing (duh). Consumers in those countries still don't trust products assembled/sold in their own country. This distrust developed when the industries were largely controlled by the state. And state-products are most of the time just "crappy".
The consumers already experienced the products made by/sold in developed countries due to emigrated family and friends.
And even if the same products start to penetrate the own market, they still have a stigma as "Moroccan" products. They might be more expensive than locally produced products but eventually they're both sold in Morocco.

I'm maybe wrong and Moroccan consumers don't pay attention anymore to where the product was sold/bought. So correct me if I'm wrong.
But I noticed this a lot of times. Not only in my family but also in others who have family or friends in Europe.
And it is actually very sad. It shows that they still struggles with their inferiority-complex, while they dont need to.


  1. taamarbuuta said...
    Oh wow, I know what you're talking about. When my husband and I went to the Netherlands for Christmastime, his family gave him 100Euro and asked for perfume and chocolate. Now, the latter I understand, mainly because it's cheaper in Europe than in Morocco (although it's still available here so I wouldn't waste my travel money on it) but PERFUME!? The bottles of perfume in the shops here are authentic, sealed, and most often, 10-15 Euros cheaper than what you'd pay even in a duty-free somewhere else...but no! Perfume from Europe MUST be better!

    It drove me nuts to spend that money on that stuff - when I was up there buying the stuff you REALLY can't get in Morocco (peanut butter!)
    Anonymous said...
    i'm a french moroccan and you know what? it's exactly the same for me!
    every year i have to buy all kinds of stuff especially make-up for my cousin knowing all the same that now there is everything in morocco, and when i look at the way the live france sucksssssssss!

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