Saturday, 19th September 2020

This Month's Magazine
Illusions of Grandeur

Illusions of Grandeur

“Which leads to delusions on the Costa del Sol” says Sebastian Polinares

First came the cowboys, thatÂ’s the guys who made you believe they were experts and better than anyone at what they did, when in reality they were only after your money and had precious little experience or knowledge about the service or product they tried to peddle. These mostly comprised builders and decorators, would-be financial experts, pension and insurance brokers and some but very, very few mortgage brokers (and thatÂ’s because you needed to speak Spanish to deal with lenders).

To be fair, these should be divided into two groups. Those who were seeking a trade or profession in order to earn what is basically an honest living and build a new life in a new land. They looked for a niche in the market and started trading, they were true pioneers while there was no competition! Learning at the expense of the consumer can be marginally tolerated provided that the “gaffes” are contained through personal training and learning and that the service provided is actually intended to and does improve.

Then there were the others, those who just did it for the money and for the day, the hell with the consequences. They included most of the p..s artists, those who canÂ’t seem to get a job or keep it and those who just do it because they were, quite simply, Â… dishonest.

Up to some ten years ago, all these fantastic traders and service men who, by the way, did not speak a word of Spanish, only had one market, the foreign residentsÂ’ market of the Costa, which happened to be mostly made up of British pensioners whose basic needs were easily identifiable and who could easily be taken in by English speaking con artists.

The market now has evolved substantially. While the majority of the targeted foreign residents are still British, the ranks have swelled quite substantially to comprise all different walks of life, ages and nationalities with the difference that they all want to become residents for reasons other than retirement, so they all want to do something to earn a living.

Does this mean that things have changed? Hell no! It just means that there are more people at it with an additional slant to it. What I mean is that, in addition to watching out for the above described “cowboys”, you now have to realise that the number of opportunities available for new businesses is reducing fast with the result that the newcomers are creating a surplus supply of goods and services that are not really needed.


This is despite the fact that the market has also grown and become more varied because of their presence and their needs. I mean, have you seen the number of estate agents that have cropped up everywhere? What about the mortgage brokers and financial advisers? IsnÂ’t that ludicrous when in fact you are probably better off dealing with any Spanish bank direct? As a matter of fact they are mostly types of business activities that do not require much starting capital.

What amazes me is that they really believe they know it all,  just like those losers who categorically state they will win the X FactorÂ… until you hear them sing. HavenÂ’t you ever heard it? “Oh I have been coming to the Costa for the last 20 years. I know exactly how it is!” Pure tripe is what I say! They may have been visiting Spain for holidays and working in the UK for someone or had a business on the lines of the intended activity on the Costa del Sol but they forget that this is Spain, a  different country where everything is different from the way of life to legislation, which means that really they do not know much at all.

Just because it has worked in the UK it does not mean that it will do so on the Costa, a complete new experience that needs to be lived and learned. How can they possibly believe they can do better than others who have had years of real Costa experience? Anyone not able to run a successful business in the UK should forget about trying it on the Costa where it is actually much harder. Instead, why not offer oneÂ’s skills and services to an employer?

There is a genuine demand for good, loyal, trustworthy employees. Unfortunately the lack of such quality employees over the time has made employers very wary. Why not stick to what one knows, earn the trust and let the more experienced employer do the rest and save getting all that “egg on one’s face” when the money actually runs out?

Euros for Pounds may not be comparable to UK salaries but they certainly are adequate and comparable here to keep in with the standards of living one is used to at home, probably even better. Just because we are on the Costa it does not mean that we start leading the life of and become Hollywood film stars overnight. The real bonus is the healthier and happier life.

As a last bit of advice, avoid businesses with no address and showing mobile numbers or using accommodation addresses and P.O. Boxes because they can vanish overnight. If they do not disclose their real address, they are hiding it for a reason.

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