Zara Home, an upscale retailer belonging to the Spanish Inditex conglomerate has found itself the subject of scorn and ridicule after offering luffa (also spelled loofah, or estropajo and zacate in Spanish) vegetable sponges in its Mexican stores for $299 pesos, or about $14 USD, more than two day’s work at the Mexican minimum wage.
The luffa is actually an edible fruit when immature.
The scorn from media commentators and social media subscribers spanned from México to Colombia, not so much because of the luffa price compared to minimum wage but compared to the exact same product being available from street vendors or even farmer’s markets for well under $1 USD. A luffa is the fibrous inside of a type of squash that grows abundantly throughout The Americas, and even in the US can be purchased in ethnic markets for a couple of dollars.
Zara however, “rebranded” the fiber, using the English word “Luffa” instead of the local Mexican zacate or tropical estropajo and found it perfectly reasonable to price it over 10 times imarket retail. They have every right to do so, but the results should have been predictable. Below you can see some examples of the ridicule heaped upon the retailer.
— Carlos J. Guízar (@carlosjguizar) March 4, 2021
— Carlos Montero (@cmontero2003) March 4, 2021
— Linulera 🇨🇴🇪🇸🇪🇺🇫🇷💉 (@linulera) March 5, 2021
And more somberly, @azul_oceanico says “Instead of purchasing luffas at an exorbitant price from Zara Home, we should support those people who sell the same thing and it’s their only sustenance.
— 𝔸𝕫𝕦𝕝 (@azul_oceanico) March 3, 2021