The American dream of retiring to Mexico and having a maid and gardener is alive and well albeit perhaps a bit tarnished. If there was a simple answer for hiring people in Mexico for these services the discussions would have ended long ago – a simple solution isn’t going to happen. Like the discussions on the ‘dangers of living in Mexico’, controversy about employing of maids and gardeners is ongoing.
Heard in a coffee shop near you, “You can move to Mexico, have a maid and a gardener while living on social security!”
My Amigo Steve brought the issue up as it relates to him over there on the sunny beach of Melaque.
Steve wrote in part, “I am purposely generous on the maid cost; she needs it.”
Steve being the consummate nice guy would be in that camp. But, if we look at this beyond the surface Steve comments, “The maid issue is a ticklish one.”
If we were to hire a maid in the United States for $60.00 US a day or more we probably wouldn’t be taking into account the maids living condition beyond that business relationship. But, somehow in Mexico we consider the helps life style as it compares to our own to the point of modifying compensation – perhaps because the gap between ‘the haves’ and ‘the haves not’ is widening?
The other side of that coin is “The gringos come down here and distort the economy. We cannot afford to hire these laborers at the rate of pay the gringos provide.”
In our part of Mexico there are few foreigners – thus the distortion of the economy is barely perceptible. However in areas where there is a large expatriate population the unbalancing of the economy can create wide spread hard feelings, widening the gap between locals and foreigners.
A thoughtful person who I know Steve is must carefully weigh these issues. Charity begins at home. Our home is in Xico, Mexico. We want to be a good neighbor and fair with the people we live amongst. But combining the hiring of a local service with charity is a problem.
If there was a simple answer we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Compensation, local economy and responsible behavior towards hired help have been issues since we first moved to Mexico.
The Calypso family doesn’t have a maid or gardener. We do occasionally hire some yard work service.
We tend to lean towards not disrupting the natural flow of the economy (read pay local rates). I don’t have any special insight or answers. What I do suggest is to not be too judgmental about what others might be doing and to thoughtfully consider the many angles of this very complex issue. Stay Tuned!