Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mexico Memories

I was commenting on a friend's Blog today and was reminded of this occasion in a Guadalajara restaurant a few years ago. I thought I would share the story.

It was in a Guadalajara restaurant where we encountered our best example of the Ugly American! A couple had just gotten their bill and the guy shouted out, “This is in Mexican! Give me a bill in Real Money”! The waiter was unable to help him and the jerk just got louder and the waiter more frustrated and embarrassed. I tried to help by asking the jerk what the problem was and he indicated he wanted to pay with “real money”. I told him to just give them a credit card and the banks would work it out. He said, “I’m not giving anyone my credit card, I want to pay with CASH”, showing me a wad of US cash. I asked what the bill was and he said “490 whatevers” (about $30-35 US at the time). I said, “Just leave $50 US plus tip and that will be close enough”. He said, “Thanks, why couldn’t they have told me that? I don’t suppose they would have any change?” I said no, they wouldn’t have change so he slapped three US twenties down on the table and they stormed out muttering something about that expensive restaurants should have someone who could speak English. On our way out the manager thanked us and asked if we would buy the three twenties from him as it was difficult for him to deal with. We checked on the Internet and gave him fair value in pesos. The peso was much higher then but it was still one killer propina (tip)! The waiters followed us out to high five us. I love Mexico!

14 comments:

  1. And we wonder where the term Ugly American comes from. So sad. The world is a beautiful place but it's us humans that make it a not so friendly place.

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  2. Great story! I'm glad it worked out in the restaurant's favor as it did. A shame the clown will certainly never read this. I'm happy to say we've seen only one ugly American moment in our travels south of the border.

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  3. They must have flown in very recently as they could not have remained that stupid if they had spent ant time in Mexico. I hope they weren't spending much more time in Mexico.

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  4. The jerk should have bought pesos before going out to a restaurant and/or down loaded at least a dollar/peso conversion chart. I don't speak Spanish therefore I carry a smart phone which translate my English to Spanish and vice versa. I don't know how accurate the translation is but I try.

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    1. It is just common sense or common courtesy to use the currency of the country you are in. I know what would happen if I tried paying a restaurant bill in Oklahoma with Canadian cash! Why would Mexico treat US dollars any differently?

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  5. Let me see if I have this right. The guy trusts the restaurant staff to prepare, cook, and serve him a plate of food and he eats it, but doesn't trust the restaurant staff to process his credit card!!! It sounds like to me this guy was trying to cause a stink so that the restaurant owner would give him a free meal to quieten him down. A similar ruse was used at a high end steak house in Atlanta, GA we visited with my niece, but instead, the customer loudly proclaimed to the staff that the steak was not cooked to his specifications, but he ate it anyway and shouldn't have to pay for it. (My steak was delicious!). Shame on you, Croft; I think you spoiled his ruse. These kind of people see the word "sucker" written on everyone's forehead.

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    1. Maybe that was it Dee but restaurant prices are so reasonable in Mexico it is hardly worth the effort to avoid paying.

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    2. Croft, you and I and normal people think that way, but to people like that guy, it's a game; it has nothing to do with the price or the money. It's the "high" he gets when he gets away with it, similar to the high a shoplifter gets when he or she leaves a store with the merchandise without getting caught. I just laughed out loud when you said he had to plunk down three US 20s in cash. He said that he would only pay cash, and he certainly did! LOL!

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    3. Dee -- It is very possible the guy had been told by a well-meaning friend to never use his credit card in Mexico. For a period of time, that may have been good advice. Credit card information was being stolen retail. With wholesale hacking of credit card information, the retailers are small potatoes. But these warnings often hang on longer than the original event. As an example, my mother will not allow any ice cubes in her soda when she visits here for fear they were made from tap water. Even when told the water came from a bottle.

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    4. Steve might have a point here as well, these people were certainly not seasoned Mexico travelers. As they were walking out I said a sarcastic, "Enjoy your visit". I could not hear his response but it sounded something like, "We can't get out of here fast enough"! I assume meaning Mexico. They may have been on a layover waiting to fly out soon. Either way we all have a responsibility to learn and prepare enough to get by without embarrassing ourselves or our hosts when we visit another country no matter for how short a visit.

      I believe at that time the Mexican government was making it very difficult to bank US dollars because of cartel activity. The restaurant owners could have bee stuck with it if we had not taken it from them. Just a sad situation all around.

      We have had our credit cards compromised many times but always when we were in Canada or the US, never in Mexico.

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  6. He was probably a Canuck.... :P

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    1. No Don, in that case he would have had a hand full of Loonies! LOL

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  7. I bet the Mexican really don't like them.

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    1. It's really unfortunate that the actions of a few spoil it for everyone else.

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