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Carl Carlson

Oct 28, 2001, 3:23 PM

Post #1 of 3 (5809 views)


Coping with "I had to visit my sick mother".

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I hope I will not offend anyone. <p>There is a common problem among Mexican construction workers, a problem of making promises (I'll be here tomorrow.. It will be done by friday...) that won't be met. I remember one fellow named Wedo who's crew of masons didn't show up one week because he had to visit his sick mother in Sinaloa. A few weeks later she was sick again and he had to visit her in Phoenix, then his truck was stuck in the ditch... or was that the time the carborator was being rebuilt. And, then he had to visit his sick mother in Nogales. All I can say is for a sick woman his mother gets around an awfull lot. <p>I currently have such a problem with a blacksmith who is building me a spiral staircase. Pancho couldn't finish it once because he had to go to a funeral. A few days later he had to go to another funeral. Then at the last funeral, his mother had a heart attack, and he had to spend a week with her. Then his pregnant wife started to hemoridge, and the stairs were delayed again. How could one possible complain about these delays? Finally he showed up with the staircase. It spiraled the wrong way and some of the steps sloped an inch an a half. Then he wouldn't answer his phone calls. I finally threatened him with going to the authorities. I didn't know anyother way to handle it. We are getting together monday afternoon to discuss the changes needed to the stairs. Then we'll repeat the cycle. Sigh!<p>I understand the need to adjust for cultural differences and the need to laugh at this sort of inevitable situation. But, I also have to get this house finished. How do you folks cope with this problem?<p>Thanks,<p>Carl Carlson


Oct 28, 2001, 6:59 PM

Post #2 of 3 (5806 views)


Coping: I don't put up with it

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Hey Carl, you sound like me about 8 or 10 years back. In Spanish what you are experiencing is called abuso. You need to understand that in Mexico favors are more important than money. The problem is that your workers are doing you the favor, you are not doing them a favor to give them work. You need to change that.<p>To begin with you are not dependent on them. You can change avaniles, for instance. You can also not pay them for a period equal to the ammount of time they make you wait. In short, be more Mexican. As for your welder, well...I hope you go by his shop every day to check what he is doing. If you don't he will certainly do things his way and at his time and not yours. <p>Consider that the folks who are helping you have never seen much less lived in what you are building and to them it is all new. If you don't teach them everystep of the way they have no other option but to make it up as they go along. Not good. <p>Another thing that will help is to tell them the ground rules right from the beginning. I wouldn't worry so much about following the rules of the country so much as following the rules of how much BS you are wiling to put up with. <p>FYI I work a crew of 30 men building houses. I have more than 100 people involved with supplying materials and goods for homes under construction. I speak from some experience. Hope this helps.


Oct 28, 2001, 7:44 PM

Post #3 of 3 (5807 views)


where and how do you work

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interesting<p>I've run into a number of gringos (in Latin America) that make a living as an intermediary between the locals and retired gringos. They work as general contractor for just about any construction projects.
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