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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
.... you have extra money? Especially when you first chat with them. Or indicate most Americans and Canadians in their perspective countries have extra money to spend on luxurious living?
 

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The evidence is that you traveled a long way, have a passport and a visa, own a car and paid the deposit to get it here, hired a maid and gardener, eat meat every day, go to restaurants, buy Costco and Sam's Club memberships, etc., etc. Of course you have 'extra money' in the eyes of a lot of people here, many of whom have not strayed far from their birthplace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Good points

The evidence is that you traveled a long way, have a passport and a visa, own a car and paid the deposit to get it here, hired a maid and gardener, eat meat every day, go to restaurants, buy Costco and Sam's Club memberships, etc., etc. Of course you have 'extra money' in the eyes of a lot of people here, many of whom have not strayed far from their birthplace.
That is the cusp of it. Do we like Mexico even more because of this being attributed to us?

My wife disagrees that I buy a Black and Decker small electric lawn mower at Home Depot for only $1,500 pesos and cut our lawn, inside the garden and outside around the house in plain view. One day I almost went to buy it and backed down once in the H.D.
 

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I don't see that here any more than I see it in the states. There always seem to be people who, for whatever reason, assume that certain characteristics mark one as having a larger pile of disposable income. Being an expat to a new country could easily be one of those innocent markers.
 

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Yesterday a friend and I went for a manicure/pedicure. Not a big expense but we consider it a luxury outing and do so maybe once a month. The salon had a new nail gel system and when my friend asked the price of a manicure using the new system the manicurist laughed and said "you are rich, you can afford it".
In her eyes I suppose we are rich.

In over a year this was the first direct comment I had heard but I do believe that the majority of working Mexicans see expats as rich. I wonder if they think the same when the truly wealthy well dressed nicer car driving Guadalajarans arrive for holidays here and truly throw money around, unlike us pensioners.

I smile at everyone and donate my coins to the man with no legs or the elderly ladies in front of the stores when I have them and try not to look affluent. On my budget that is easy LOL
 

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Ha, hahaha ROFL, Every single day! And when/if I bother to tell folks that I am as poor as they are, I can see in their eyes that they do not believe me. Even my husband's family is convinced I have some hidden money tree somewhere. I mean for heaven's sake, we painted the outside of the house and I own a laptop! It's all relative.

Short story, lost my job in FL (economy) after 20+ years, then lost my house, etc. etc., ended up with my car (restored camper kombi) and suitcase. Lived in kombi for a year plus while doing field work on an organic farm... left farm, sold kombi, am here in Mexico living off proceeds from kombi and whatever my husband makes working construction. Would like to get a job but my Spanish is just not there yet, so for the time being, I tend the gardens, feed the chickens and live like a 50's housewife... laundry, cleaning, cooking, poor as a church mouse and happy as a lark. (Hmm, guess I am RICH :) BUT, because I am an American I have yet to meet anyone who isn't convinced that I must have lots of money and yes, at times they want to 'borrow' from me or believe I can afford to buy them things. And, sometimes I do, because in a very smallish way, I can.

My observation is that much depends on where/how you live. It may simply be because I live in a village where poverty or at least hand to mouth existence is the norm. I'm the only American living here, maybe ever. With the expansion of cable tv, internet and word of mouth from Mexican family members living in the US, it's no wonder folks here have cause to believe I must have 'extra money'. Their mental image of Americans is somewhat skewed. Maybe if I were to live in Mexico City or maybe even in one of the more prominent expat communities that would not be the case.

The thing is, it's possible that the majority of Americans who do visit here, do have extra money, certainly by Mexican standards (and mine too). For instance, my friend in the US moans about how poor she and her husband are (yes, their investments took a hit) but she's telling me this from her vacation home in the islands after which they'll be spending a week at a resort in the mountains .... etc. etc. Good grief.

Just remember, it's all relative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Social structure

Yesterday a friend and I went for a manicure/pedicure. Not a big expense but we consider it a luxury outing and do so maybe once a month. The salon had a new nail gel system and when my friend asked the price of a manicure using the new system the manicurist laughed and said "you are rich, you can afford it".
In her eyes I suppose we are rich.

In over a year this was the first direct comment I had heard but I do believe that the majority of working Mexicans see expats as rich. I wonder if they think the same when the truly wealthy well dressed nicer car driving Guadalajarans arrive for holidays here and truly throw money around, unlike us pensioners.

I smile at everyone and donate my coins to the man with no legs or the elderly ladies in front of the stores when I have them and try not to look affluent. On my budget that is easy LOL
I have had many experiences that would indicate I should be more generous because I am an American. I was getting at the "automatically" do they think we can afford to be more generous than obviously middle class or wealthy Mexicans, who in my experience are generally thrifty towards the general public. There is a thing that being too easy shows a weakness of character, also prevalent to consider.
 

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Aah, not sure about the 'should be'. I do know that the 'poor' here in the village do not, generally speaking, have warm, fuzzy feelings about wealthy Mexicans. My husband explains that years ago the caste system was far more visible and the wealthy and poor just didn't have contact with eachother. As a child, he said one would never see a wealthy Mexican on a bus with the poor folks. It just wasn't done.

It may just be that 'foreigners' are more approachable and 'easier'. And yes, my husband agrees with your comment about a Mexican attitude relative to 'weakness of character'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mexican buses

Aah, not sure about the 'should be'. I do know that the 'poor' here in the village do not, generally speaking, have warm, fuzzy feelings about wealthy Mexicans. My husband explains that years ago the caste system was far more visible and the wealthy and poor just didn't have contact with eachother. As a child, he said one would never see a wealthy Mexican on a bus with the poor folks. It just wasn't done.

It may just be that 'foreigners' are more approachable and 'easier'. And yes, my husband agrees with your comment about a Mexican attitude relative to 'weakness of character'.
I might think wealthy people might be that way, but have a limited exposure to the wealthy so cannot say for sure. It might be resentment aimed toward them and it might be something else. I notice middle class Mexicans are very well indoctrinated into the class structure and have rules of conduct. One thing I do see is that NOB professionals that are upper middle class, for example Dr.s ,lawyers, judges, university professors, etc. are middle class here and not wealthy as you would indicate. They just don't have the high income as NOB.
 

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Living in Mexico City and working part-time for a living, I doubt my Mexican friends and students think I'm better off than they are, and I'm sure that most of them are better off than I am. However, a guy I was dating for awhile was having financial problems, and I was really taken aback one day when he hinted that he wouldn't mind if I gave him some money. I won't go into the details, but this was the beginning of the end to our relationship. When I mentioned what had happened to a couple of Mexican friends, they were really surprised and advised me to stop seeing him, which I did!
 

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I have had many experiences that would indicate I should be more generous because I am an American. I was getting at the "automatically" do they think we can afford to be more generous than obviously middle class or wealthy Mexicans, who in my experience are generally thrifty towards the general public. There is a thing that being too easy shows a weakness of character, also prevalent to consider.
I missed that nuance the first read. Need more coffee. Yes there is that attitude and I also agree they see it as weakness of character.

Again a smile and a simple innocent look about you gets you past many such encounters. I find the young men selling fruits and berries to be very aggressive some days and I just smile and look vacant rather than engaging in my usual firm no gracias.
 

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Grizzy;745008 Again a smile and a simple innocent look about you gets you past many such encounters. I find the young men selling fruits and berries to be very aggressive some days and I just smile and look vacant rather than engaging in my usual firm no gracias.[/QUOTE said:
Sometimes I pretend I don't speak Spanish when I don't want to deal situations like that. ;)
 

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.... you have extra money? Especially when you first chat with them. Or indicate most Americans and Canadians in their perspective countries have extra money to spend on luxurious living?
Around the neighborhood and in stores and such, I usually don't have many experiences that make me think that they have that impression of me (although there have been a couple times).

The real 'slap-in-the-face' experience that I had was when I opened my latest business 3 months ago. For starters, my wife went first to speak to the landlady about renting the place, so that I could get a true rent price. When I went to close the deal a week later, with cash in hand, she tried to raise the rent on me $500 pesos after getting past her awe that I am an American. I almost walked out the door, and she became more reasonable and backed down on the additional $500. She also tried to tell me I'd have to pay certain municipal fees through her and that the electric company gives them a flat rate of $1000/month. I guess she thought that since this was the first time she saw me, it must be my first day in Mexico...

But it gets better - the landlady is the local rumor mill for the pueblo. Shortly after opening, many clients were telling me word for word that they all heard the same thing from her: The ****** is only here and has the business for fun, he has so much money it doesn't even matter to him. Most were convinced after some thought about the risk I take as well as looking at my clothes/vehicle that that's not the case.

The stories ended up reaching who I call the municipal extortionist, who calls himself an inspector. Rumor has it he was running around talking to others about how he was going to leave with a fat wallet after talking with me. He came one Saturday night, and said I could pay a permission to stay open 8 hours later with the president for $7000, or for only $4000 I could pay him for his word that he wouldn't come by (since he's supposedly the one who enforces such things). Mind you I only open 3 days/week, and my business permit for the year had a cost of ~$2500. I told him I'd rather not pay anyone and just close at the correct time. After back and forth with him telling me it wasn't an option to not have the additional "permit", I showed him the security camera I have outside recording our meeting and he decided to leave. If only he knew the camera wasn't hooked up yet.

But it doesn't stop there...the next weekend the local police commander came by and informed me that police services in the area carry a charge of $100/week for businesses and that I owe him 3 weeks already. I said that would be fine, that I'd remit payment in the morning to the ministro publico in xalapa (this is while I am jotting down his car #) - to which I was told that everything seems to be in order and there would be no need to make any payments. Later I found out the police commander is the landlady's son-in-law...what a coincidence.

Still, 3 months later, I am fending off rumors of my supposed riches. When customers start the talk, I usually can explain how its just not true. As far as the landlady, I have her locked in contracts and have receipts for every peso paid. I've given up trying to convince her otherwise, and now use the 'rich-******' idea against them. I frequently tell her that the next official that comes by to try to extort money will be sorry, that I'll use every peso I have to be sure they get prosecuted (not true). I know she'll spread that statement, and so far its worked, because I haven't had any more problems.

Its kind of amazing to me to have so many people think I've got piles of money laying around. Even when confronted with clear cut evidence that its not true, convincing some is near impossible. To those, as long as it doesn't affect me, I end up just throwing up my hands and letting them think what they want. Just another stereotype that people plop me into that has no truth.
 

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Around the neighborhood and in stores and such, I usually don't have many experiences that make me think that they have that impression of me (although there have been a couple times).

The real 'slap-in-the-face' experience that I had was when I opened my latest business 3 months ago. For starters, my wife went first to speak to the landlady about renting the place, so that I could get a true rent price. When I went to close the deal a week later, with cash in hand, she tried to raise the rent on me $500 pesos after getting past her awe that I am an American. I almost walked out the door, and she became more reasonable and backed down on the additional $500. She also tried to tell me I'd have to pay certain municipal fees through her and that the electric company gives them a flat rate of $1000/month. I guess she thought that since this was the first time she saw me, it must be my first day in Mexico...

But it gets better - the landlady is the local rumor mill for the pueblo. Shortly after opening, many clients were telling me word for word that they all heard the same thing from her: The ****** is only here and has the business for fun, he has so much money it doesn't even matter to him. Most were convinced after some thought about the risk I take as well as looking at my clothes/vehicle that that's not the case.

The stories ended up reaching who I call the municipal extortionist, who calls himself an inspector. Rumor has it he was running around talking to others about how he was going to leave with a fat wallet after talking with me. He came one Saturday night, and said I could pay a permission to stay open 8 hours later with the president for $7000, or for only $4000 I could pay him for his word that he wouldn't come by (since he's supposedly the one who enforces such things). Mind you I only open 3 days/week, and my business permit for the year had a cost of ~$2500. I told him I'd rather not pay anyone and just close at the correct time. After back and forth with him telling me it wasn't an option to not have the additional "permit", I showed him the security camera I have outside recording our meeting and he decided to leave. If only he knew the camera wasn't hooked up yet.

But it doesn't stop there...the next weekend the local police commander came by and informed me that police services in the area carry a charge of $100/week for businesses and that I owe him 3 weeks already. I said that would be fine, that I'd remit payment in the morning to the ministro publico in xalapa (this is while I am jotting down his car #) - to which I was told that everything seems to be in order and there would be no need to make any payments. Later I found out the police commander is the landlady's son-in-law...what a coincidence.

Still, 3 months later, I am fending off rumors of my supposed riches. When customers start the talk, I usually can explain how its just not true. As far as the landlady, I have her locked in contracts and have receipts for every peso paid. I've given up trying to convince her otherwise, and now use the 'rich-******' idea against them. I frequently tell her that the next official that comes by to try to extort money will be sorry, that I'll use every peso I have to be sure they get prosecuted (not true). I know she'll spread that statement, and so far its worked, because I haven't had any more problems.

Its kind of amazing to me to have so many people think I've got piles of money laying around. Even when confronted with clear cut evidence that its not true, convincing some is near impossible. To those, as long as it doesn't affect me, I end up just throwing up my hands and letting them think what they want. Just another stereotype that people plop me into that has no truth.
Thanks for taking the time to post that amazing (and depressing) tale of attempted bribery and corruption! As far as stereotypes are concerned, for the average non-thinking person, they're very hard to change since they're based on prejudice and emotion, not on facts. As a single American woman living alone in Mexico, even though I'm no spring chicken, I occasionally am affected by the stereotype of the libertine "gringa".
 

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As far as stereotypes are concerned, for the average non-thinking person, they're very hard to change since they're based on prejudice and emotion, not on facts..
That's an excellent way to put it. I guess I had set higher expectations for gov't officials to look past stereotypes and gossip. I somewhat expected that reaction from ordinary off-the-street people, but not from a municipal person and police commander.
 

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That's an excellent way to put it. I guess I had set higher expectations for gov't officials to look past stereotypes and gossip. I somewhat expected that reaction from ordinary off-the-street people, but not from a municipal person and police commander.
I guess greed can make anyone behave foolishly, and not only in Mexico. Think, for example, of the recent bribery scandal in Illinois which resulted in a long jail sentence for Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of that state.
 

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This is all very, very interesting. [Kaz - what kind of business do you have] - but I am sure we all know that stereo typing is not confined to Mexicans about NOBers. We all do it, even if we deny we do.
 

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This is all very, very interesting. [Kaz - what kind of business do you have] - but I am sure we all know that stereo typing is not confined to Mexicans about NOBers. We all do it, even if we deny we do.
Right, FHBOY. Just of the hateful stereotypes many Americans have of Mexicans.
 

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****** with extra money?

.... you have extra money? Especially when you first chat with them. Or indicate most Americans and Canadians in their perspective countries have extra money to spend on luxurious living?
Hi;

Yea of course they do. If you are the "average ****** or Canuck" you Do have a lot more than the average Mexicano. Thats the reason for the "****** Tax", where by the quote you for most things at a +25% rate above the real price. At times even Taxi Fares.

Me, I get around most of that by sending my wife in first to a store (who is Dual Nationality). Other times when they try to gouge me, I say no Senior, yo vivo aqui, y solomente pagar pecious de aqui!

Mr. Salyer
 

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Hi;

Yea of course they do. If you are the "average ****** or Canuck" you Do have a lot more than the average Mexicano. Thats the reason for the "****** Tax", where by the quote you for most things at a +25% rate above the real price. At times even Taxi Fares.

Me, I get around most of that by sending my wife in first to a store (who is Dual Nationality). Other times when they try to gouge me, I say no Senior, yo vivo aqui, y solomente pagar pecious de aqui!

Mr. Salyer
I keep hearing about the ****** Tax, but I've never run into it in Mexico City. Speaking Spanish well helps, of course, but I still don't see it as a problem here.
 
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