Friday, September 18, 2009

A Lie That's Become Truth

When living in Mexico, finding ways to break bills is a constant and strategic battle we all face every day. And most people don't mind lying and being lied to about change (see comments from my last post about change). Is it just me who's SO hot and bothered about lying?

I started a new job recently that requires me to commute by taxi to work and back. A more economical way is to find a driver, and that seemed like a good idea so I wouldn't have to call up a taxi service and give directions every day. An acquaintance recommended her driver, and he was willing to take me for 30% less than a taxi service. Sounded fabulous.

On the very first day the driver was supposed to pick me up, he didn't show up. I called his cell phone, he didn't pick up, I ended up taking a taxi, and was late to work (fine for a Mexican employer but not okay for my American employer). Since he never called to explain himself, I was deciding later that day whether to call him or not. #1: Talking on the phone in Spanish still isn't easy, and #2: I needed to have an uncomfortable conversation with this guy in Spanish and let him know what he did was NOT okay.

I rang him up in the evening, and I'm not sure what to think about the bag of lies he fed me. He said his car broke down and that he told our mutual acquaintance to call me. Bro, "my car broke down" is one of the lamest, over-used lies in the book of Mexican excuses. I can't tell you how many times we've been told that lie, and it's so common that it's nearly a truth. Just like lying about change -- you start to hear it and use it so often that it becomes a personal truth.

Part of me wants to give the driver another chance because this kind of lying is not really considered lying, but the American side of me wouldn't give this guy a second chance. At least tell me a believable and original lie, man. Still not sure what I'm going to do because if he does something like this the first time, he's likely to do it over and over again.


  1. Alice,
    Stick to the American side of you. When I came to Mexico at the request of several Mexican companies who wanted to meet U.S. quality certification requirements I thought it was a hopeless case at first. However, I stuck to my guns and over a ten year period I was able to pull all of us up by our boot straps. All it takes is persistence and determination and lots and lots of patience and never give up, never give up, never give up...ever! Amen!

  2. I'm tryin..obviously things will get easier when I learn Spanish better and ppl will feel less inclined to take advantage of me.

  3. Why not embrace the cultural idiosyncracies? That is something that I find refreshing about latin cultures. In the U.S., everything is so utterly monitored and accounted for. Not surprising for a country who's only real purpose is ultimately industry and where quality of life is an after thought or a concession.

  4. Anonymous, I do find that the relaxed sense of timing here is refreshing, but at the same time, I have to respect my American employer who expects me to be on time.

    Your blanket statement about the US is only as true as you make it. Quality of life is something each of us have control over.

  5. I think Bob's right -- you have to find someone else. If this wasn't for your job, you could let it slide. But it's important that you arrive on time, and if there's a 50 percent chance he might not show up, he's gotta go. Stick to your guns. Or you can ask if your employer would recommend a driver de confianza.

  6. For sure I agree with Lesley and Bob, unless its something I dont have a choice about, I keep my expectations the same and let the people I deal with frequently understand that. And if I have to I stop dealing with them frequently. It is nice that people are layed back here but like yous said your American employer shouldn't have to get the raw end of the deal. Maybe there is another driver you can find because that does sound like a better deal than dealing with taxi's every day.