Recently, I read a book called, “There’s A Word For It In Mexico”
Here is a line I liked…
“Mexican life is a combination of ritual and disorder.”
There are parts of our day-to-day life that could be fall into a couple different categories. (A) Adversity -causing you anger, frustration, searching for vindication. (B) Adventure -giving the opportunity for some tales with friends that we all find ourselves nodding our heads and even laughing at the ridiculous-ness. (like the new word I just made up?)
Back in the ‘fancy country’ we have been raised with a sense of entitlement. When something seems a little unjust we find the nearest person in charge to air our grievance to and await the outcome. We are used to “the customer is always right” philosophy and that someone needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibility when necessary.
That does not exist in the culture here. We may find it hard to understand, but if you have a problem -whether it’s your fault or not- you gotta learn to just let it go.
(Side note: compare the stress and heart attack rates of people who work in management in the US and the complete lack of work related stress here in Latin America. Maybe they are on to something.)
For example, I recently ordered a new school year for the ‘middle schooler’ and the ‘little schooler.’ The education company we use usually ships via UPS and amazingly it arrives at our door within 4 days! This time they used DHL to ship and I paid nearly $250 just for shipping.
The tracking information showed the packages were being held up in Cancun for some reason. I call DHL to inquire about this and they tell me it’s necessary to call Mexico DHL. After being disconnected several times I finally get to speak with someone that tells me the packages are not in Cancun but in Playa del Carmen (me, getting excited and hopeful that this is going to work out) and they will not be getting delivered to my home. (me, realizing this is going to be another hassle and not to get upset) There is really no parking in downtown Playa near the DHL office -they have 2 spots in front of their office but usually they are not available. Mikee, who was nice enough to do the trip since I was sick this week, finally gets inside the hot building and waits 20 minutes for someone to wait on him. As the guy brings out the boxes he (the DHL guy) drops them on the floor and kicks them. Good thing there were just books inside.
Mikee asks real nice why the items weren’t delivered and is told it is because they have no address. My hubby patiently points out the CLEARLY PRINTED ADDRESS right on the front of the box. The guy just shrugs.
Just another day in Mexico.
The DHL website goes on and on about hor fantastic their customer service is so I took a shot and explained the situation. After all, we did pay nearly $250 just for the SHIPPING TO OUR HOME of these school supplies. (Cost of actual school books was much higher.) What I had was a condescending, super-unhelpful series of people. Long story short, they were useless but suggested I fill out the online form. Which I did. Then comes the phone call from a lady patronizing me on the phone explaining how deliveries work and I must be mistaken that it was their fault. (people here are not held accountable for their job) She later placed a ‘courtesy call’ to make sure I was satisfied with how everything turned out. In my super nicest (honestly, it was very nice) voice I asked why would I be satisfied with them not completing their job. Her response was that “the package was delivered and the case is closed so it doesn’t matter.”
I will confess to you that THIS was the point where I was angry. Misery loves company so I aired my frustration to some friends and their responses were interesting.
People from the ‘fancy country’ commented things like…
- I felt my bp rising just reading that Camille!!! I’m glad you got your packages and I’m glad you handled that much better than I think I might. Deep breath…
- I think I would be calling DHL Corporate or writing a letter!!
- AGGHHH!!!! Did you kick him like a box? Or at least have fantasies of doing that???
- Also had one friend offer to deliver them 😉 and someone else tell me it’s a good reason to move back to the US
People who are used to living here in Central America had comments along the lines of…
- Frustrating indeed! Sending a hug
- Wow are you serious?? That’s ridiculous!!
- I could sooo relate! When I first came to Latin a America I had many frustrating things like that happen but all the positive things about Latin America make up for all the frustration or I would have never stayed here this long (13 years). Costa Rica has taught me a lot! Things I would have never learned in the States. Besides it is a great place to raise kids without all the pressures on them in states. But it sure feels good to vent about those nightmares! Doesn’t it?
- That sounds about right for Playa! So sorry Camille. I understand you completely for just needing to vent.
Notice the difference between expecting retribution and knowing it’s just part of our choice to live in a less efficient place.
There are parts of day-to-day life there that we are powerless to change. Either people adapt and appreciate the many other benefits of living here or they leave. There are many reasons that living in this country is beneficial for my family.
I vented and am already moving on.
While waiting for the new school year items to arrive, Ginger Kitty and I had some fun with her older science books. We revisited one she enjoys about Fossils. Here are some things we did…
As usual, I really enjoyed reading the latest blog entry. It made me think of a recent entry on the blog A Missionaries Life. When someone asked if they could send some little dresses for the children, the reply was “no, for that country has no mail service.” No that was hard for me to imagine! We take so much for granted, to be sure!