Thursday, October 06, 2011

Slight of Hand

We drive around a lot. For this driving I get to experience a lot of different classes of services.

From the window squeegee guys, to the great Pemex service attendants that go out of their way to help you, wash the windshield, check the oil, put air in the tires.

For some of you, you have never experienced that kind of service at a gas station. Trust me, that was common up unto about 25 years ago in the states. In Oregon it still was awhile ago, but I am sure that law has been changed.

But in Mexico the attendants do just that. Some times the stations are also filled with other unwelcome attendants.
It is hard to admit that Tancho got taken, especially since I look out for such things. But a few days ago in Tepic, I got taken or almost. But this time I learned my lesson the hard time and it will be the last time......I promise.

The attendants let vendors hound you selling all kinds of stuff. Nuts, candies, gum, pirated DVD's and CD's, caramel, sandwiches, tortas, tamales and the list goes on and on.

At this gas station I have been a mark before. But last time I wasn't sure.


I always buy a new set of wipers before the rainy season, so my wipers were 6 to 9 months old, tops.

I also don't buy the cheapest ones, usally will get Bosch or other middle to high end ones at AutoZone.
My attention was diverted for about 5 seconds by the gas attendant and that was all it took.

Booth Wiper arms were moved away from the windshiled and the guy was pointing to some trailing rubber hanging about 6 inches from each blade.

KRAP ( actually it was something a lot more profound) were the words out of my mouth!

What the scam is, that while they move the windshield arm away from the window they will slice about 6 inches of the trailing edge of the blade, leaving it hang to point out to you that you need to purchase their new blades.
"You need new blades"
"Especially since it is raining down the road towards Guadalajara"
Gee, thanks for the weather report.

Knowing that I had just used those blades earlier on in the morning and they were in perfect order pissed me off even more.

So now he wanted to sell me two wipers for only 240 pesos......what a deal.

After getting home and after stopping by at our Morelia Auto Zone to purchase a set of wiper blades I checked out the rubber with a magnafying glass. And sure enough you can see the uneven edge where it had been sliced.

Gotta hand it to him, he was fast.

So now, I think I will have to jump out of the car to avoid them handling the wipers or better yet, switch gas stations. I have only had this problem at this perticular one.

There are tons of scams that gas attendants can do. One popular one for unobservant travlers is to hand the money over to them, for lets say 750 pesos.

One of the bills would be a 500 peso note, the guy grabs the money and then looks at you, saying he needs more money. He then shows you that the 500 peso note you handed him was actully a 50 peso note.

So you fork over another 500 to him and he thankfully returns that 50 peso note. not in question.

Never hand them all the money in a lump sum. Period.

Hand over note over note while counting to them. That will eliminate that scam.

What I normally do is always have 200 peso bills because that's what most of the ATM's spit out, and count them to them one by one.......


jerryL said...

They use to nick the fan belt when it was customary to raise the hood to check water and oil levels. Now that is not required,wipers appear to be a profit generating pastime.

Anonymous said...

As fine as you describe your Mexican home, I'm nevertheless increasingly convinced that it's not for us. The local TV news headline was about Mexican woman who stole a $3 pumpkin from the display outside the Supercenter. Oftentimes we still forget to lock the doors.

Dider and Pilar

Dan in NC said...

Interesting Jerry -in the 60's I was a grease monkey at a Texaco station, and actually won an award (belt buckle with a silver dollar) from a Gates rep for telling him his fan belt was frayed! Seems they drove around checking service stations service personnel's capabilities. Now, you only find out up here when the belts are lying on the road....unless you are into self maint. How times have changed!
Dan in NC.

Calypso said...

I recognize all these stories (including JerryL's).

It is easy to get complacent and even trusting these days (getting old I suppose - but then wise too).

I stopped letting attendants get under my hood years ago.

But, a few words to keep us wise is always a great help. Thanks amigo!

Don Cuevas said...

Thanks for the tip.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Yes, there is a difference in if you leave your doors unlocked or not, but that unfortunately is rapidly changing NOB also. There is a lot if cultural differences between the concept of sticky fingers and rapid riches......
And we still forget to lock the doors down here also, which is not wise.
Dan, I was thinking of how maint.has changed in the past few decades while writing the piece. Funny how much more attention was required to keep the cars running then....
John, complacency in my case comes with getting older, which negates the wiser business....
Sr. Cuevas, as always we are full of tips.....

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

As always, another good tip. And, here's one for you:
An expat gringa tells of taking her car to the car wash here a few days ago. While she was waiting, and watching her car, they opened both front doors, which blocked part of her view, and while they were cleaning someone rapidly removed her front Jalisco license plate.
Be advised.

Felipe Zapata said...

How on earth do you run into these situations? I question your karma. Almost 12 years here, and I've never encountered any of this stuff.

When I gas up, I get out and stand there, and then I pay exact change, and I get in the car and leave. Period. Sliced windshield washers? I've never seen a washer salesman at a gas station.

Tancho said...

I have never had this issue here in Michoacan. The wiper incident was both times in Tepic. Wasn't' sure the first time, when only one wiper got slashed, but this last time cinched the deal of never stopping at that station again or letting them even touch my wipers.....]
The money situation luckily I have never personally experienced but have been told by a few friends who have driven the road. Merely a public service announcement on my part, since we were discussing rip offs.....
I think Michoacan is a more honest state, or at least they have more profitable priorities to worry about.