Wednesday, August 8, 2007


The amount of time I waste here in Mexico is astounding. Countless hours sitting in Starbucks surfing the Web notwithstanding (as those squandered hours are of my own choice and making), in the past two weeks I must have spent an average of six hours making wasted trips to the bank, the cell phone store, Office Max, and even the doctor’s office. Ultimately I leave these places feeling frustrated at having spent so much time sitting in traffic to get to there and waiting for help once I am there, and then defeated at not having accomplished the necessary task.

Here is some insight into some of my recent frustrations with life in Mexico:

  • I arrive at 5:25 for a 5:30 doctor’s appointment for Asha; I wait thirty minutes, then ask the receptionist how much longer she thinks it will be until we are seen; she replies that she has no idea, but that there are still two patients ahead of Asha, and that the doctor has been in with the same patient since I arrived half an hour ago . . . .
  • I go to Office Max to purchase a cheap desk; I attempt to pay for the desk but am told that all desks of that model are out of stock in this store; I am informed that if I wish to buy it today (Tuesday), it can be ordered and delivered to my house on Thursday and assembled for free; not trusting that delivery on Thursday means two days from now versus some random Thursday in 2008, I decide to check at Office Depot instead. Finding nothing but overpriced and unsightly looking desks, I return to Office Max, deciding to take a risk on the delivery. I am then told, by the exact same employee who assured me of delivery Thursday that the desk was not in stock, in any Office Max in all of Mexico City, and that I could not purchase it. He did, however, have a lovely floor model with scratches that I could buy for the same price as a new one, and then hire someone to take it apart from the store and deliver it to my house, for an additional cost.
  • I try to obtain a credit card from HSBC, where it took us three months and four trips to simply get a joint checking account; I am told to return several times with additional pieces of information, each time only to be told that I forgot something that I was never before told to bring. To add insult to injury, I am finally informed that I cannot obtain a credit card without my husband’s signature on the application form because, even though I am a joint owner of the account, I do not earn my own money.

So at this point I have no money of my own (according to the Mexicans), no credit card (and accordingly no cell phone because after three trips to the cell phone store, I was finally told that I would not be able to purchase a phone or a plan without a Mexican credit card), and no desk at which I could sit to do any work, if hypothetically I had a job.

What I do have, however, is a slightly battered spirit still determined to face more frustrating but hopefully fruitful trips to the bank, doctor, cell phone and office supply stores this upcoming week.


HFD said...

Just wait until you have been in Mexico longer - I/we have lived in Quinatana Roo almost 10 years -- then you will really learn frustration. Especially if you leave the relative civilization of Mexico City for more provincial Mexico. I would warn you how awful HSBC is in MX -- I wrote London complaining -- but the other banks are equally incompetent.
You must remember the song of Mexico is "No Hay" in stores - there ain't none and we don't care" and that the customer is not only always wrong but really doesn't count for anything except leaving money behind.
Also, don't waste money on insurance. They are happy to sell it to you but will never, never give any of it back for any reason.

Rupal said...


I know what you mean about the "No Hay." It is weird coming from the US where every so often you would get a salesperson saying "we don't have it, but you can check in the following place." Not so much here in Mexico. Yet at the same time, I find the service in most restaurants better - the wait staff always tries to accommodate -at least more so than I have found in some European countries.

Theresa said...

I don't understand why you want to get a checking account in the first place. No one takes checks, and hardly any place takes creditcards! It's all cash. We just keep our money in the USA and remove it via ATMs. We are thinking of getting an account in a casa de cambio though.
If you get one thing done a day, you are so ahead of the game!

Rupal said...

Theresa - You are right - this is such a cash based society that our ATM gets more wear and tear than anything else. We end up using checks for things like our rent and my daughter's school, but that is about it, and luckily my gym and the grocery stores take our ATM as a credit card so I don't have to worry about the insanely low limit of 3000 pesos a day at the ATM.