Monday, March 1, 2010

Guanajuato, Mexico - Working the Culture #6

I wanted to make some more comments on my last post in which I mentioned a passage from Ned Crouch's book, MEXICANS & AMERICANS Cracking the Cultural Code.

I went on the explain what he suggests might be going on culturally when at a deli counter, for example, someone might push their way past you when you were there first and shout their order over yours, and the employee on the other side of the counter stops tending to the fulfillment of your order entirely and waits on the newcomer.

I called Crouch's explanation a load of crap.

The reason I do is because I have asked locals about this very situation. Without exception each Mexican has attributed this behavior to "bad behavior." Malcriados is what they call these people who push their way past you expecting themselves to be waited on over you.

This behavior is called rude by Mexicans who are younger and who hail from more developed areas of Mexico and other Hispanic countries. A Colombian told me it is nothing but rude behavior from Mexicans who do not want to have to wait in line.

To prove my " not want to wait in line..." theory try this: Go to an area in Guanajuato called "Embajadora" and watch the noon car traffic. Apparently, waiting in a line of traffic is something that wasn't mentioned in the Mexico Driving Handbook. Also, watch Mexicans at a bus stop. They act like it is a Chinese Fire Drill and will rush the bus door pushing each other out of the way. If that isn't enough, be sure to go to the Supermarkets in Guanajuato and watch them at the Paqueteria where they have to check their bags.

I tend to swing toward the " not want to wait in line..." explanation.

Twice my wife was in a counter line where the owner/vendor was a gentleman in his early forties and who had worked for American businesses. In each incident a Mexican woman pushed my wife out of the way, ACTUALLY PUSHED HER, and demanded to be waited on first. The owner, who was waiting on my wife, told the Mexicans to wait their turn in line. These woman, in both cases, acted like they had been slapped in their respective faces.

I do not know exactly what's going on because of the various explanations I get from Mexicans, but I think this practice is a Byzantine leftover from an older time when class ruled. Guanajuato is in the middle of provincial Mexico and was described once to me by a Mexican friend in another more advanced Mexican city as "mired in time."

I agree with my Mexican friend.


2. A WALK THROUGH MEXICO'S CROWN JEWEL - A Guanajuato Travelogue

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