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  • Bakeacake
  • Expert Waygook

    • 675

    • July 12, 2010, 01:35:40 pm
    • Pohang South Korea
Isn't that most people? I mean aren't most of us turning off the heat and putting on a sweater to save money but still buying a new phone or laptop or taking a trip or buying a fancier new bicycle? Aren't most of us buying the occasional cheap meal to save a few bucks?


Yes, everyone here dresses exactly the same. And people here wear black because they're all ants, not because A) It is winter and B) Most have black hair... :rolleyes:

"I'm not superficial like Koreans." Also, "Why don't Koreans buy cars in different colors?????"  :rolleyes:

As far as moving out, you know that staying at home and not spending 1/4th+ of your income on housing+food is actually the sensible financial decision right? That is actually the more mature thing to do vs. needing to move out so you can get drunk, party and get laid.
Why are you so desperate to find negativity in Korea? Did Korea hurt you? Why this pathological need to find flaws and faults in the country, people and culture?

no,  most people would forgo buying a new phone every year to save money.  most people would rather be warm and comfortable in their home than have a new phone or purse

 theyre staying at home until theyre 30 because none of them can cook or clean or do laundry,   they eat garbage mart food.  they arent working,  so its not a sensible financial decison...  its leeching.  theyre grown adults who are relying on mommy and daddy to give them everything.  these young people are children.  ask any female whos dated a korean man..  theyll tell you that these men can;t do anything.  cook, clean, take care of themselves.  aside from buy some fast fashion online to look lke the lastest boy band member.

seriously,   women of waygook.  have you ever dated a self reliant competant korean man?  and men of waygook,  have you ever dated a korean woman who wasn;t only interested in a new purse or taking instagram pics.

get real marty


no,  most people would forgo buying a new phone every year to save money.  most people would rather be warm and comfortable in their home than have a new phone or purse
To be clear, when first starting out here, you ran the ondol on continuously in whatever apartment you had? You were fine with paying 300,000 won on month on heating? No dialing down or turning it off and just putting it on a sweater?

This is the sort of thing that if Koreans DID emphasize comfort, that they'd be blasted for as well- "Why do Koreans NEED the heat??? Can't they save energy and the planet by turning things down and putting on a sweater??????" To people like Bakeacake, they will always find some way to twist whatever Koreans are doing into a negative frame.

And yes, people might not buy a NEW phone every year, but most people around the world seem to be pretty emphatic about getting a pretty good one, new and with a decent plan. What are you? That guy who bums wifi everywhere?

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most people would rather be warm and comfortable in their home than have a new phone or purse
If all you do is crash in your home, just getting an electronic blanket and living in modest quarters vs. living in a big place and blasting the heat makes far more sense.

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theyre staying at home until theyre 30 because none of them can cook or clean or do laundry,   they eat garbage mart food.   its leeching.  theyre grown adults who are relying on mommy and daddy to give them everything.  these young people are children.
None of them can cook, but yet they're all eating garbage mart food while staying at home and leeching. So their parents don't cook? And they don't go out to eat beyond convenience stores?

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they arent working,  so its not a sensible financial decison...
The sensible financial decision would be...to rent an apartment without a job?????

Work at a minimum wage job to...pay rent on an apartment when there is already a living space provided that has likely been paid off?

And you're suggesting Korean parents don't yell at their kids to go get a job? Seriously????

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ask any female whos dated a korean man..  theyll tell you that these men can;t do anything.  cook, clean, take care of themselves.  aside from buy some fast fashion online to look lke the lastest boy band member.

seriously,   women of waygook.  have you ever dated a self reliant competant korean man?  and men of waygook,  have you ever dated a korean woman who wasn;t only interested in a new purse or taking instagram pics.
Alright, I think we've cleared some things up and where some of your issues are...

Anyways, thanks for saying the quiet part somewhat outloud. I'll give you credit for at least being more blunt about your inner feelings.

I don't know what Korean woman you dated that was all about the purse and instagram, but I'm sorry you got strung along and played by her. 


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6507

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
While it's obviously not an only Korean thing, but they still manage to lead the pack. Marty seemingly failed to interpret the information that was in the first article. Here is one that would be easier to understand:

https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=343625

''Koreans' per capita spending on luxury goods highest in world''

It's also worth noting that nobody pointed out this fact except for your boogeyman.
Likewise, when 2 weeks ago you argued with yourself about this very same topic. You went on a slightly different angle that time. Now a new twist. You got something else up your sleeve?

In case someone missed that, you can see it here towards the bottom of that page.
https://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=88522.10780
I'd bet China leads the pack and with room to spare.


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6507

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
no,  most people would forgo buying a new phone every year to save money.  most people would rather be warm and comfortable in their home than have a new phone or purse

 theyre staying at home until theyre 30 because none of them can cook or clean or do laundry,   they eat garbage mart food.  they arent working,  so its not a sensible financial decison...  its leeching.  theyre grown adults who are relying on mommy and daddy to give them everything.  these young people are children.  ask any female whos dated a korean man..  theyll tell you that these men can;t do anything.  cook, clean, take care of themselves.  aside from buy some fast fashion online to look lke the lastest boy band member.

seriously,   women of waygook.  have you ever dated a self reliant competant korean man?  and men of waygook,  have you ever dated a korean woman who wasn;t only interested in a new purse or taking instagram pics.

get real marty
There are plenty of level-headed Koreans.


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6507

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Regarding new phones, if the number of commercials on TV in the US are anything to go by, a great number of people here are interested in the latest iPhone, pixel, or galaxy. This is not a Korean-only phenomenon.



  • Billy Herrington
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1094

    • June 30, 2022, 12:02:07 am
    • China
    more
I'd bet China leads the pack and with room to spare.

In the initial article posted, China is near the back on a per-capita basis. I can 100% attest that Chinese do buy and flaunt these products, so I suspect that the majority of the money is being spent by a minority of consumers.
Blocked: Billy Herrington, Van Darkholme, The Cat's Meow, Sock Puppet


  • gogators!
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6507

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
In the initial article posted, China is near the back on a per-capita basis. I can 100% attest that Chinese do buy and flaunt these products, so I suspect that the majority of the money is being spent by a minority of consumers.
But that minority is a very large one. For example, compare how many Chinese millionaires there are to Korean ones. China is Mercedes-Benz's largest market. Not unusual to see a Maybach parked on the street.


  • ToilingAjumma
  • Expert Waygook

    • 747

    • September 06, 2022, 09:12:01 pm
    • Anyang
    more
Obligatory people are free to spend what they want, but my parents are here and they live in rural Canada. Really rural and my mom was in Myeongdong and she told me "Kevin, I saw this handbag and I thought I was too much. There was this great handbag and I saw the price tag and it was 169 000 won and I thought oh that was too much."

Again, people can spend what they want. But it's a sac. The sac carries your lip chap and your bloody tampons. Literally.

Go for it. But those 200 dollar bags and the 1200 bags fulfill the SAME function.

Don't you, for a second, convince me that your coworkers and fellow citizens notice that shit. It's conspicuous. Conspicuous consumption.

But if I don't do it, then STRANGER....

No, no one cares. You care. Dress well. Look good. No one cares about your bag. Not even in Korea.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2023, 01:00:17 am by ToilingAjumma »
World Famous Youtuber and Beer Expert. Friends with people in high places. If you need help, just ask me. I probably know someone very influential who can help.
Humble as hell and a hurricane in the sheets.
- Kevin C Grabb


I'll just remind everyone of this article from a few years back. South Korea the only country where 'material well-being' was the 1st choice in giving them meaning in life.

https://www.pewresearch.org/global/2021/11/18/what-makes-life-meaningful-views-from-17-advanced-economies/

My two cents on it is everyone works so hard in this country they don't have the time to spend their money on travel/leisure/experiences etc. so it all goes on frivolous tat. A significant number get sucked into an arms race with the Kims next door/colleagues/friends/family etc. and so they buy loads of these luxury bags etc. 

Buying stuff doesn't make you happy, so it's certainly one of the factors that keeps them low down on the 'happiness index' that gets published every other year. Some are starting to wake up to this, but image is so important here it's hard to break from the crowd without being seen as being stubborn.

Oh, and as mentioned above the younger generations live with their parents for longer and many have given up on ever getting a house so that gives them more disposable income than 20s 30s in similar economies, which is also a huge factor here.

Feel free to disagree.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2023, 01:13:11 am by jimskins »


  • Lazio
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Except Lazio's take is stupid and lazy.

It might as well read:
People in OECD countries both buy designer goods, price higher in one country vs. another"

There is NOTHING to support the cultural argument.

What is your problem? I literally quoted from the article.
Go ahead and tell Korea Times that their take is stupid a lazy.

Nothing that Jethro or myself wrote was judgemental or negative in any way. If you think otherwise, then you are the problem. We expressed our opinions which are based on living here for a while and having eyes and ears. Everything that I wrote is basically common knowledge and easy to observe for anyone who lived here for a few years. Turns out, we were not entirely wrong when we tried to come up with some explanations.(see the articles)

But even if I were to disagree with those that buy luxury goods, what kind of authority you are to tell me what I should think and feel? Again, no condescension took place and the whole coversation wasn't going in that direction at all. You tried to twist it that way but didn't work.
Jeez, you are really trying to go out of your way to be as insufferable as can be.
우리 밴이 최고야


  • Lazio
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1127

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
What does that have to do with concluding that there is some deep difference in Korean culture and materialism based on an annual per capita spend on luxury goods of $325 vs. $280?

The average wage in the USA is not 20% higher than Korea's, not even 33% as you later changed it. Why do you lie to try to make a point? OECD, 2021 figures: 42,747USD vs. 74,738USD which is a 74% difference.
And what does this mean when it comes to luxury purchases? In a year, Korean customers spend 9,12% of an average monthly salary on luxury goods while the same in the USA is 4,49%. I'll help you, that is more than double.

The point is: Koreans love luxury goods. They happen to love them the most in World. It doesn't really make a difference though, whether they are number 1 or 5. Do you believe that people purchase designer goods for the same reasons, no matter what part of the World? Especially when we compare Asian countries to Western ones? Do you really think the customer profile, the products they purchase and their motivation is exactly the same everywhere? I hope you don't.
How and more importantly, why is it different? That is anyone's question. One can only guess, but there are certainly cultural aspects at play. It would be also worth looking at why some wealthy countries spend less on these goods than others? Think Germany or Sweden. They could, but they don't. Different mentality, different priorities and different social standars? Or shortly: a difference in culture. Why do you have a phobia of this word? It affects most everything that we do and think.

Is it wrong that people purchase luxury items? Everyone can decide for themselves how they feel about it. I never expressed my take on this issue so don't come with something that you just made up. 
« Last Edit: January 26, 2023, 10:11:09 am by Lazio »
우리 밴이 최고야


I'll chime in. I spent my first paycheck from my first part time job on a low-end designer bag when I was 16. I say low-end because it was a few hundred rather than a few thousand. I bought another bag from them last summer which had a friend who saw it insist it's not designer and she bought the same bag to cart around her university books. I would say my pay here is pretty bad so why did I buy them? The first time it was just because I truly loved the bag and it felt amazing to be able to buy something expensive with money I'd earned myself. This last time I'm not too sure I could say. I needed a bigger bag but it didn't need to be a brand, any bag would've done. Maybe brand loyalty? The first was one of the only few bags that hadn't broken or become unsightly after heavy usage. Buying a nicer bag every eight years doesn't make me the target customer for bags I don't think, nor comparable to Korean 30-something women who may feel similarly to my friend about it not being ~real designer~ because it's not a big named brand like Dior or Celine.

Not sure I would ever buy a "luxury" ($1000+) bag. I don't think they're worth it and I don't feel any pressure to own one. Many are straight up ugly tbh, and if I ever felt I had that kind of money to spend frivolously I'd probably buy one for my mom who has never had one. I think she would get a lot more satisfaction out of it. Besides, she deserves it.

Also,

women of waygook.  have you ever dated a self reliant competant korean man?

The answer is yes


  • Mithras
  • Super Waygook

    • 253

    • June 28, 2022, 01:57:07 pm
Obligatory people are free to spend what they want, but my parents are here and they live in rural Canada. Really rural and my mom was in Myeongdong and she told me "Kevin, I saw this handbag and I thought I was too much. There was this great handbag and I saw the price tag and it was 169 000 won and I thought oh that was too much."

Again, people can spend what they want. But it's a sac. The sac carries your lip chap and your bloody tampons. Literally.

Go for it. But those 200 dollar bags and the 1200 bags fulfill the SAME function.

Don't you, for a second, convince me that your coworkers and fellow citizens notice that shit. It's conspicuous. Conspicuous consumption.

But if I don't do it, then STRANGER....

No, no one cares. You care. Dress well. Look good. No one cares about your bag. Not even in Korea.

Is this a VI parody post or did you write all this intentionally?


The average wage in the USA is not 20% higher than Korea's, not even 33% as you later changed it. Why do you lie to try to make a point? OECD, 2021 figures: 42,747USD vs. 74,738USD which is a 74% difference.
And what does this mean when it comes to luxury purchases? In a year, Korean customers spend 9,12% of an average monthly salary on luxury goods while the same in the USA is 4,49%. I'll help you, that is more than double.
Let me repeat- This is bad statistical analysis.

1) It represents such a low % of total spend per year that to claim that this is some sort of "primary motivating factor" is ridiculous. Your claim is "The average Korean spends .7% of their annual income on luxury goods, ergo Koreans are obsessed with luxury goods and they are driven by conspicuous consumption."
2) You ignore the reality of what a purchase of that amount entails and focus solely on ratios. It completely ignores the context. $325 vs. $280 is the equivalent of 1 low-end luxury purchase per year in BOTH countries. While you can go on about Korea's ranking and the relative wages, I think that the far better explanation is to look at it behaviorally (since we are looking at behavior) and say "Both Koreans and Americans average 1 low-end luxury purchase per year."


  • Augustiner
  • Expert Waygook

    • 884

    • December 06, 2021, 01:18:06 pm
    • Anyang
Is this a VI parody post or did you write all this intentionally?

There are many ways to parody Van.  I think this was going for the drunk Van.  I'm going to guess Tajumma was enjoying some Bon Voyage drinks with the parents before this was written. 


I'll just remind everyone of this article from a few years back. South Korea the only country where 'material well-being' was the 1st choice in giving them meaning in life.

Buying stuff doesn't make you happy, so it's certainly one of the factors that keeps them low down on the 'happiness index' that gets published every other year.
I am always deeply skeptical of these kinds of surveys that can be interpreted differently across society and might ignore context.

Not to mention the results might not reflect things such that you can say "materialism" is the primary motivating factor. Perhaps S. Koreans are linking "material well-being" to the practical realities of being able to get a house and start a family. In which case they are simply stating a means to an end, which is "family."

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Still, the lifestyle elements respondents cite run the gamut from “food on the table” and “a roof over my head” to “a decent income to support my family” and “no debt” to “enough money” to enjoy riding motorcycles or other activities like travel.

I could also say something like "Based on these results, Westerners don't care about society, only Taiwanese do." Also, "Koreans care more about Freedom than Westerners" Also, "Koreans care more about being generally positive than anyone else in the world."

Finally there's this caveat of the survey-

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The shares in South Korea and Japan are much higher, with at least half only bringing up one source of meaning when providing a response.

These differences help explain why the share giving a particular answer in certain publics may appear much lower than others, even if the topic is the top mentioned source of meaning for that given public. To give a specific example, 19% of South Koreans mention material well-being while 42% say the same in Spain, but the topic is ranked first in South Korea and second in Spain.

An alternative interpretation of the data is "Only 20% of Koreans are deeply concerned with material well-being vs. 42% of Spaniards."

Anyone attempting to draw significant conclusions from this survey is making a mistake IMO.


\Not to mention the results might not reflect things such that you can say "materialism" is the primary motivating factor. Perhaps S. Koreans are linking "material well-being" to the practical realities of being able to get a house and start a family. In which case they are simply stating a means to an end, which is "family."

I don't think your wholesome interpretation is right either. I think "material well-being" as answered in the survey is more like the typical Chinese (see Asian) requirements for marriage/success: a house and a car. Evidently by the abysmal birth rate, starting a family doesn't even begin to come in to it. But buying designer clothes and handbags and German cars absolutely does. These are very observable facts.


What is your problem? I literally quoted from the article.
Go ahead and tell Korea Times that their take is stupid a lazy.
Wait, you're suggesting that the bastion of journalistic integrity that is THE KOREA TIMES is above stupid and lazy takes? The newspaper is practically a running joke here and other sites.

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Nothing that Jethro or myself wrote was judgemental or negative in any way.
Go ahead and tell yourself that.

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Do you believe that people purchase designer goods for the same reasons, no matter what part of the World? Especially when we compare Asian countries to Western ones? Do you really think the customer profile, the products they purchase and their motivation is exactly the same everywhere?
Generally, yes. I think most people all over the world tend to spend money on non-essential fashionable luxury goods for generally the same reasons.

I think that is why these brands are global and why an add for a luxury item in one country can be transplanted to another country and you wouldn't know what country that ad came from. In fact, you can probably see the same ad in NYC as in Seoul. If they DO change ads, its usually just to have a model of the same ethnicity as the local market, but the look and the shoot and the products are all the same.

Yes, it's the same black and white photo of some model making some semi-erotic pose with beads of moisture on their skin (or not, depending on product) while the name brand is blasted in large font and then the product is shown to the side or at the corner. Or are you suggesting that in the West, its actually a happy family in casual clothes playing with their kid on a tricycle?

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Think Germany or Sweden. They could, but they don't. Different mentality, different priorities and different social standars? Or shortly: a difference in culture.
Any data for this? Are you suggesting that in fact, there's zero luxury brand market penetration in Germany and Sweden? Are you also going to take into account trade barriers and open markets? Also there's perceived quality, a lot of mid or even low-tier items that are made in Europe are sold as "semi-luxury imported" over here.

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Why do you have a phobia of this word? It affects most everything that we do and think.
1) People who leap to culture as an explanation often have...underlying motivations.
2) It's also a lazy take. If you conclude "culture" after a 2 minute skim of a Korea Times article, what you are really doing is engaging in confirmation bias of existing stereotypes, not serious analysis.
3) People who jump to culture often exclude alternative explanations or don't do a deep dive of the data and real statistical analysis, nor do they do a "pull back" and look at the broad view. In this case, a deeper dive in the stats would have found that the $280 vs. $325 figure to be such a small % of overall yearly spend that attaching any broad significance and priority to it would be ridiculous. And a basic "pull back" would have one realize that the figure equates to a single low-tier luxury item. Hardly an example of profligate spending behavior.
4) The people who go for culture always accuse others of not being open-minded, yet they are always incredibly resistant to any explanation besides culture.

Which begs the question- Why does it bother you so much for culture not to be the explanation?


I don't think your wholesome interpretation is right either. I think "material well-being" as answered in the survey is more like the typical Chinese (see Asian) requirements for marriage/success: a house and a car. Evidently by the abysmal birth rate, starting a family doesn't even begin to come in to it.
You don't think a house and transportation for your baby (in other words, a stable decently paying job) are wise requirements for starting a family?

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These are very observable facts.
I think stereotype and confirmation bias are very often conflated with "observable facts".


You don't think a house and transportation for your baby (in other words, a stable decently paying job) are wise requirements for starting a family?

Of course they are. But the vast majority of Koreans are choosing not to have children.

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I think stereotype and confirmation bias are very often conflated with "observable facts".

Apart from it's not a stereotype, it is a veritable fact. Your very employment and presence in Korea is thanks solely to, and proof of the culture of "keeping up with the Kims" oneupmanship and frivolous fad culture in vain pursuit of the "Gangnam" lifestyle.