Brain Game: As adults receive their HK$10,000 consumption vouchers, what should they avoid wasting it on? (Round 8)

  • Our weekly writing competition starts with 10 contestants, who are eliminated one-by-one based on your votes – who will you choose?
  • This round, contestants share their thoughts on useless and harmful purchases, from luxury brands to single-use products
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Shoppers flocked to Causeway Bay and other shopping districts the weekend after the first phase of the consumption voucher was disbursed. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

Brain Game is a competition in which we start with 10 participants who must answer a question as creatively as they can every week. Based on your votes, we eliminate one contestant each round until we have a winner.

Read the responses from our final three contestants, and vote for your favourite answer to help decide the two who will advance to the final round next week.

We have prepared some exciting prizes for our top three contestants:

  • Winner: Nintendo Switch, Kindle, HK$400 Muji voucher and a YP certificate

  • 1st runner-up: Kindle, HK$200 Muji voucher and a YP certificate

  • 2nd runner-up: Kindle, HK$100 Muji voucher and a YP certificate

All prizes are kindly sponsored by Sino Group.

Contestant 1

Luxury brands, definitely.

Before reading on, think about this first: why were consumption vouchers given out in the first place?

They were meant to support Hong Kong residents during tough times amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many people had lost their jobs and were unable to make ends meet for their families. The vouchers would help them buy daily essentials and pay their bills.

What’s more, the coupons can help boost the city’s economy. Many shops have had to close down because of a lack of customers under the city’s harsh social-distancing regulations. But now, armed with the vouchers and following the easing of restrictions, people would be willing to spend more.

However, they should not use the coupons to buy goods from luxury brands. People don’t actually need them, and it won’t help the economy. This is because they might use the voucher to buy just one item, for example, a handbag, from just one shop instead of spending the money in different shops.

In addition, most luxury brands are sold around the world, so they do not need our help.

If someone you know wants to buy a luxury item using the voucher, persuade them to choose something that would be more beneficial to themselves and society instead.

Contestant 2

First, adults should not use their vouchers to buy new products such as phones, computers and other electronic devices when the ones they already have can still be used. This is irresponsible because e-waste damages the environment in many ways. Toxic materials from dumped electronic items can get into the soil and water supply, causing lasting harm to people, animals and plants.

Second, they should not buy luxury items, such as jewellery, handbags and watches. Many rich people love well-known brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès because they believe those products give them a higher social status than those who do not own similar luxury items.

I think it is far better to use the vouchers on things such as daily household necessities and educational equipment.

Third, people shouldn’t spend thousands of dollars on one meal. Hotels and restaurants are responsible for a huge amount of food waste. They offer massive buffets to please customers, but most of the food is thrown away.

It is much more sensible to have a home-cooked meal – it is a lot cheaper and healthier, too.

Contestant 3

Adults should not waste consumption vouchers on in-game purchases. In desperate hopes of improving a character or enhancing the playing experience, many players receive virtual goods in exchange for real-world money.

With consumption vouchers, adults can easily justify their decision to spend money on activities that are not necessary but give them a sense of satisfaction. The coupons should not be “sacrificed” for such selfish indulgences.

In addition, adults are responsible members of society who have the freedom to make their own decisions. Whether they decide to make the right choice depends on them.

The consumption vouchers are meant to not only stimulate Hong Kong’s economy but also help with people’s daily expenses. They are being distributed to fulfil practical purposes.

Unlike “upgrading weapons” or “unlocking exclusive skills”, the coupons can be used to solve real-life problems. Tokens, gears and weapons can be briefly enjoyable but they cannot be used in our daily lives.

The HK$10,000 consumption vouchers should be used for realistic and appropriate circumstances.

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