By Jerry Davis, Author of Life In Mexico, Amazon Kindle
Wouldn’t it be great to have servants, to live the life of Downton Abbey, to have Mammy serve us as she did Scarlet O’Hara? To be able to say, “Peel me a grape”.
Here in Mexico help is easy to find and inexpensive but before you hire anyone remember that those aristocrats who lived upstairs in Downton Abbey had no privacy. None.
Servants are snoops, eavesdroppers, readers of private letters and when they join forces, are good at piecing together information. Mammy had to have the threat of a whipping in order to make her work. (Would you willingly break your back for people who would sell you, sell your children, break up your family, whip you and pay you nothing?)
In Mexico we pretend to pay those who pretend to work and that is why so many Mexicans have relatives who have sneaked across the border to find better paying jobs.
We do pay a salary, enough to live on, but not a very sumptuously.
Juan my gardener works for his brother-in-law Israel who is a contractor. I pay Israel $8.15 an hour and suppose that he pays Juan considerably less.
At Christmas I refused to give Juan his lawfully required Christmas bonus but give him a cash gift instead because Israel was the one legally required to pay the bonus. When I asked Juan if he had received his legal bonus, he shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Israel sent me a note on Constitution Day explaining that because it was a holiday Juan would not show up. Later, when I asked Juan how he had enjoyed his holiday he simply shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Abuse of the help was more common years ago when maids received $2.50 a week, room and board, medical care and very often sexual…