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Another airport scam pulled on my ex-wife


Eric Blair
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When my ex-wife came here last, she was in a wheelchair. She was taken off the plane and wheeled through everything the limit line after passing into the main arrival area. She was told she had to pay US$20.00.

I saw her and was walking over to her and first thins she said was "I need US$10." I asked why. She said she only had US$10. and the cost was US$20. She had given him the US$10. I said there was no charge for the wheelchair. She said she had told him that and he said the US$20. was not for the chair, but the "Pushing service." You paid only if you wanted to give a propina/tip. I looked at the porter and just said, " Muy malo para una mujer con discapacidad." He just turned and walked away.

On her first trip here, her carry-on had been taken from her at the plane door, and when she got it, it had been ransacked and her $$ (US$70.00)and some costume jewelry taken. I told her forget it, nothing she could really do.

Just FYI

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I'm sorry this happened to your wife. I would have reported the wheelchair incident to the airline and the airport management. And I have to ask why she would hand over her carry-on (you say it was "taken from her", what, by force?) to anyone, knowing it had money and jewelry in it.

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It's called gate check and they do it when there isn't enough overhead room for carry on baggage.  Most of us carry our valuables in our carry on rather than checked luggage. I'll bet she had to get her carry on on the carousel rather than at the gate.  That gave the thieves a place and time to ransack her carry on.

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Gosh, I'm so sorry this happened to you and your ex. What the porter did was abusive ($20USD?????). Hubby often has to have a wheelchair because distance walking is difficult (don't even get me started on Mexico City airport...ugh!); however, the porter should be tipped. The way this guy handled it was wrong, wrong, wrong, but it's not the easiest thing in the world to push an adult and it just seems to be fair that they get something for it...just not $20.  In MC, it's worth every centavo of the propina given and it's never been more than $200 or so pesos...our choice.

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My wife has used wheelchair service all over the world. We have always given $30 US for the service of getting us from the plane, through immigration, have our bags picked up and taken to ground transportation. I have a feeling this hard worker sensed he was not getting his propina and therefore, made the comment. He had nothing to do with your money and costume jewelry loss on a previous occasion. 

 

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4 hours ago, ComputerGuy said:

One approach to me was, "there is no charge, but we don't get paid to be here". I give $50p, which is an excellent tip for here.

 

3 hours ago, HarryB said:

My wife has used wheelchair service all over the world. We have always given $30 US for the service of getting us from the plane, through immigration, have our bags picked up and taken to ground transportation. I have a feeling this hard worker sensed he was not getting his propina and therefore, made the comment. He had nothing to do with your money and costume jewelry loss on a previous occasion. 

 

Guys here carry buckets of cement on their shoulders up a ladder all day in the hot sun for 300 pesos/day. That's hard work.

$20 for pushing a wheelchair for 10 minutes is just a rip-off by someone who thinks all gringoes are rich. I'm with Computer Guy- 50 pesos for 10 or 15 minutes of wheelchair pushing is much more than most people earn here for hard labor.

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At the Mexico City airport I needed a wheelchair because of a sprained ankle. Another woman, also using a wheelchair, was in the same coach of the train that connects the terminals as I was so I asked what the proper propina would be because she was Mexican and would know what was fair. She said about $200 pesos as the guys who were pushing us were not allowed to go back on the train but had to take a taxi or walk back to the original terminal with the wheelchair. It's different at the Guadalajara airport with only one terminal. 

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5 hours ago, HarryB said:

My wife has used wheelchair service all over the world. We have always given $30 US for the service of getting us from the plane, through immigration, have our bags picked up and taken to ground transportation. I have a feeling this hard worker sensed he was not getting his propina and therefore, made the comment. He had nothing to do with your money and costume jewelry loss on a previous occasion. 

 

My partner is legally blind and when he travels alone the service provided by the special needs staff is incredible - getting him thru customs, from gate to gate, making connections, claiming baggage. $15 - $30 USD is our norm for a tip. A pet peeve is people  equating manual labor with ANY other work. I have NEVER heard that done in ANY other country except Mexico. I have never heard that to excuse leaving a bad tip or justify a bad salary in the US or Canada. Would you say that to a Doctor? To a Lawyer? To a Teacher? Manual labor is manual labor. Other jobs are other jobs.  I am sorry your ex wife had a bad experience. That is an exception and not the norm and your special needs person had NOTHING to do with her carry on luggage problem

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So how about equating it to the average salary for all jobs in say, Guadalajara, since this is the airport that was referred to in the OP.  $30 US is Approx. 600 pesos. No one in Mexico earns 600 pesos a day for unskilled labor, and it's probably average for skilled labor. $30 US for 10 min- half hour of wheelchair pushing and assistance isn't a tip- it's a way out of line with Mexican wages salary. Even if they only got 4 of these jobs per day, that amounts to 2400 pesos/day! And pushing a wheelchair doesn't require any special skills or training, no matter how nice and attentive they are to the customer.  I'd love a job where I could earn that much in Mexico for a few hours work in an air-conditioned building.

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Most of us foreigners moved here in part for an affordable cost of living. When gringos "tip" way far out of line with the normal wages in Mexico, making themselves feel good about being generous, it leads to an expectation that this is the norm. Thus you get the entitled attitude that the OP experienced, with the wheelchair pusher demanding $20 US and walking off in a huff when told that $10 US seemed adequate for the service provided. If your Mexican maid demanded to be paid 400 pesos for a half-hours' relatively easy work, you'd probably look for another maid.  Gringos who consistently overtip ruin it for those who don't have so much disposable income.  I always tip, more generously when I know the person doesn't receive a salary, like the supermarket baggers, but I'm mindful of the local economy. 

Rather than pay someone $30 US for basically walking, while pushing a wheelchair, and maybe handling a few pieces of luggage, it would seem to me more generous to pay the guy $10 US, and use the other $20 to buy a bunch of groceries for a struggling local family. 

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I must say, $600p is a massive tip for just about anything. $600 pesos gets me and my lady a very fine meal lakeside, including tip.  I charge $300p for an hour of experienced computer repairs. So I work two full hours to get $600. I can most definitely not equate that kind of skillset to pushing a wheelchair for less than half an hour.

Let's do some real comparisons, since the U.S. buck seems to be the standard in this discussion. Geek Squad from BestBuy U.S. charges $130/hour for housecalls. That's roughly $2,600 pesos per hour. Now, do you hear me complaining about my rates? So, for a guy to complain he didn't get 20 bucks at the airport, means he's already been twisted.

https://fitsmallbusiness.com/geek-squad-prices/

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I pay the same tip in Mexico as in the US at the airport. They provide me the EXACT same service. I am a Scottish Canadian and we certainly are NOT raised to throw money away, but I do tip appropriately. Obviously my opinion of what is appropriate does not match a few other posters here. That is their prerogative. I do not judge you. Please extend the same courtesy to me

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Hal- there are very few services in Mexico that are anywhere near as expensive as they are in the US or Canada. How does it make sense to pay the same for the service in Mexico that you do in the US? I can assure you that the daily living costs for the airport porter in Guadalajara are one helluva lot less than what they are for the airport porter in the US. if you think $30 is a reasonable amount to pay here, you should be paying the US wheelchair pusher $90.  Following your logic, we should all be paying our maids here $80 CAN, i.e. 1200 pesos for a 4 hour shift, because that's the going rate in Canada.

Wanna know what Mexicans really think about gringos overtipping outrageous, by Mexican standards, amounts? They don't think we're generous, they think we're fools.

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Tips are inextricably tied to wages and types of work. Besides, that is hardly the point being made. That point is "why would anyone pay a tip that is bigger than the actual pay?" Why would I tip a guy twice what I earn in an hour, for a 15 minute stroll?

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11 minutes ago, ComputerGuy said:

You think me mentioning my income is condescending? Okay, I see your point. But that wasn't my point. I could have used any example. I chose one that I know from experience.

Not you obviously just because your post is above mine you jumped up but you know my position on Expats and Mexicans and I support them. I gave your post a Thanks.

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