A few years ago, I was sitting down at some hamburger place with a former landlord named Maria in a Mexican city called Pachuca.
Her husband was sitting down with us and a handful of other foreigners – one from Italy, another from Germany, etc.
Anyway, we talked about different things.
How do we like Mexico?
Where one of the dudes seemed really interested in continuing his time in the country.
To also the usual topic of if “gringos are cold” or “Latinos are warm.”
And, among everything we were discussing, the topic of “entitled foreigners” came up.
Given that Maria and her husband worked in renting out places, they had experience with both local and foreign clients.
Though, as you can imagine, they didn’t rent out to too many foreigners in a place like Pachuca given the lack of foreigners who know about the place.
But they had apartments around Mexico that sometimes were rented out to foreigners like myself.
During the conversation anyhow, Maria and her husband eventually disagreed on if foreigners ever come across as “entitled” when compared to locals.
Simply more demanding for what they pay for?
Perhaps more likely to complain about stuff?
Maria thought that gringos were not excessively more demanding than locals and all around were reasonable in their usual requests.
But her husband, while agreeing with her mostly, did find that foreigners are more likely to be a “little more entitled” than locals when it comes to doing business with either group.
And it’s a sentiment you hear among some locals in Latin America.
Not just her husband.
For example, we have this screenshot I took here of some Costa Rican who supposedly finds gringos to be quite entitled!
Is he right?
Well, I actually agree with a bit of what he says but the topic anyway of the "entitled" gringo is interesting to discuss.
Why do some locals find us entitled?
Well, let me break down my perspective on how I see it.
Any Entitled Gringos Latin America?
I’ll just summarize my point thoughts bullet point by bullet point here to keep it concise.
No need for too much elaboration in my opinion. It’s a simple topic.
First, when we say “gringo,” I’m referring really to any “western” foreigners from the US, Europe, Canada, etc.
In the discussion with Maria and her husband, that’s the broader group they were referring to.
Second, are Americans specifically more entitled than other westerners?”
Well, being from the US, I’d obviously have my bias here, wouldn’t I?
And, to be fair, I haven’t met so many foreigners in the last few years to help me compare Americans against other “westerner” nationalities.
Still, it’s something that you do occasionally, once in a blue moon, hear Europeans specifically gripe about when it comes to us Americans.
That we complain too much and act more entitled.
I’ll simply say that, for many, it’s a stereotype that is out there.
And, in many cases, there is often smoke behind the fire for many stereotypes.
But that’s all I’ll say because I don’t have a strong enough opinion that is well formed on the matter to know if Americans specifically act more entitled than other “westerner” groups.
Third, I feel sometimes locals in Latin America might say this because they carry with them an xenophobic sentiment with an inferiority complex.
Where they think that us gringos always think we are better than them and that literally everything we say is somehow indirectly a statement against them.
While there are plenty of gringos with that attitude, this type of Latino is a bit excessive in how he views EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT said by a gringo to be somehow making fun of him.
This type of Latino is one insecure type and has a very small dick.
And, in my opinion, is likely to throw out the “entitled” complaint in moments when it’s not justified simply because he sees any complaint or request from a gringo, no matter how reasonable, to be coming from that of someone who is looking down on him and feels like he “owns the place.”
When, in reality, the motherfucker only asked for extra ketchup for his fries.
Fourth, to be fair, you do have some gringos who do truly act entitled and do truly look down on the locals.
The type who shows up to Latin America as a tourist and thinks that he can do whatever he wants because he is in a country where nobody knows him.
And where he might truly look down on the locals as inferiors.
Fifth, I emphasize the word “tourist” in that sentence a bit above.
From what I’ve come to understand, it seems to me, only in my minimal experience, that the tourist is more likely to be guilty of the above than a “expat” who has some roots down here.
Granted, expats can be guilty of this too to be fair.
But, if I had to guess, it wouldn’t shock me if tourists were often more guilty than expats or especially actual immigrants to life down here.
Sixth, it needs to be said that some gringos are simply not used to traveling to the “third world.”
Though I think that term is a little bit cringe for Latin America as a whole, it gets the point across as to what I mean.
No, Latin America isn’t drowning in extreme poverty all across the region (though many pockets of the region are like that).
But, broadly speaking, Latin America is generally less developed than the US and one can reasonably expect to probably sacrifice some amenities when living down here unless they bring in extra dough for it.
Though, even with extra dough, certain sacrifices still have to be made.
Like understanding that you’ll be living in a place with, in all likelihood, more insecurity, more corruption, more scammers who can get away with fucking you over, etc.
And whatever else might be the issue.
In this case, I wouldn’t call the gringo “entitled” but simply needing an adjustment to life down here.
Be more reasonable with their expectations and how much they are spending to live down here.
Which is another point to bring up – budgets.
Seventh, it should be said that some gringos come down here with unrealistic expectations for what they’ll get with the money they bring down.
Let’s be honest – one of the largest reasons for why gringos even choose to live down here is because of lower cost of living.
While many would still contemplate a visit to Costa Rica, if we’re being honest, there’s plenty of gringos who would opt for a retirement in Paris or Miami but their 1,150 per month retirement income doesn’t allow for that.
But they hear all the time about “HOW CHEAP” Costa Rica or Mexico is.
And while it is true that both areas can be relatively cheap and you can get more bang for your buck, you also have to be realistic as to what you are truly going to get if your budget happens to be limited.
Therefore, said gringo might come across as a little bit entitled because he was misled into how much bang for his buck that he was truly going to get.
Eighth, to be fair, I feel some locals use the word “entitlement” too liberally in some cases. Especially those in touristy areas who are more prone to see us gringos as “ATM machines” and have their own unrealistic expectations for how much money they expect us to have.
When confronted with the reality that the very same folks coming down here for “cheap cost of living” happen to not be millionaires surprisingly enough (funny how that works), they call us “entitled” unjustifiably.
Simply expressing annoyance when they weren’t able to milk a particular gringo for a few extra hundred bucks than what he’d have charged a local or whatever the fuck the unrealistic number was.
Ninth, part of me wonders how much of this “entitlement” complaint is thrown more at older gringos than younger ones.
I can only say that, in my years working in customer service back in the US, it was always older folks who came across as more “entitled” than younger ones.
Always acting MUCH bitchier if there was some very slight mistake.
Literally foaming at the mouth retarded going “WHY THE FUCK DID YOU RUIN MY DAY?!?!”
While stomping out the door literally pulling a classic ol’ Biden with diarrhoea running down their pants as they walk out the door before they get on their phone sitting in their truck in blazing heat to complain on some Facebook group.
Whereas the millennial just rolls with it.
Accepts the small mistake and lets you fix it without drama.
So how much of this “entitlement” complaint is thrown at older gringos than younger ones?
Just speculation on my part because I truly don’t know.
But, while thinking about this, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was more common among older folks.
Tenth, is there any "English entitlement" among gringos? Where they expect everyone to speak English always in other countries?
I'd say yes. That's common enough.
While I do think any business catering to tourists should have someone with English skills ready for obvious reasons (they want money, their clients speak English. They need to know English to earn their money)...
Still, you do have some gringos who come to Latin America who are just ABSOLUTE DICKS about the English skills of the locals and acting very entitled about it.
Eleventh, are there some gringos who act entitled when it comes to simple cultural differences? Expecting everything to be like America?
And I'm not talking about not being adjusted to a society with lesser economic development. Just cultural differences that are not atrocious (like how women might be treated in Egypt from what I've heard among other expats).
Instead, the cultural differences are something like maybe not having free refills at restaurants, people taking their time to get somewhere, etc?
Granted, I don't think it's the worse thing in the world to complain about a simple cultural difference.
As long as it's within reason -- meaning you are bitching to everyone and grandma about it and being a rude cunt to the faces of the locals.
And, more importantly, that you learn to accept or deal with it how you can if you intend to live down here long term.
Still, when it comes to the topic of entitlement, this is something to consider and I can see why a local would accuse a gringo of "entitlement" when it comes to this.
I would only say that it's typical for anyone to move to another country and, while trying to assimilate a little bit, they still carry with them "their roots."
While assimilation is key to living anywhere for decades, I don't believe we ever truly give up who we are and some of the little things that are part of our own backgrounds.
You'll see the same among some Mexicans in the US for example or some gringos in Mexico. The amount of assimilation varies by the person obviously.
Twelfth, it needs to be said that I feel a large part of this complaint about “entitlement” comes from a specific gap in some cases.
I’ve already casually implied it a few times but let me say it more directly as we wrap this up.
Look, let’s take two types of people.
You first have the gringo.
Said gringo was raised in a “more developed” country where customer service works!
It works a damn lot better than the customer service he is encountering in Mexico.
Where, if something fucks up, he can realistically get the problem fixed.
While the customer service he finds in a place like Mexico involves a strategy on trying to say no to the customer or make things difficult, the customer service back homes involves the mindset of “the customer is always right.”
Products and services are also of a higher quality back home in the experience of the gringo.
And, while in Mexico, he encounters a local offering some service that just isn’t up to task with what he is hoping for.
Let’s say, for example, said gringo needs a bathroom made in his apartment in Mexico.
And the worker guarantees that the door to the bathroom will be of good quality!
Who can fuck up a door, right?
Then the door looks like the bathroom door to my current apartment here.
In which I wrote about that door as an example of “half ass work” in Mexico.
Assumingly, the landlord never felt the need to complain about it or have it fixed for some reason because the damn thing never closes.
The mistake that the dude making the bathroom door was never fixed.
And this is where the problem is.
The “gap” as I described it before.
The gringo is going to pay for a bathroom door now and he doesn’t want half ass work.
He wants the door to FUCKING CLOSE properly!
He paid for a service, now he wants the service offered as promised.
Big concept for the local, no?
“What? Offer a service as promised? And not half ass it? What you mean?” asks the local in disbelief.
Then, when said gringo complains about the fucked up door, the door designer dude tells him to kick rocks.
Bad customer service now.
Gringo then, in typical gringo fashion, then complains about it online.
A technique of hitting back at the poor service that said door designer dude wouldn’t have to worry about 30 to 40 years old.
And he sees his reputation taking a hit.
And while plenty of locals complain online these days too, the “gap” here is in the expectations and tolerance for stupid shit between the gringo and local.
Where a local client, maybe like my current landlord, simply shrugs his shoulders and rolls with the poorer quality in service.
Knows that complaining isn’t going to get him much results.
For example, over a year ago, I had bedbugs in a new apartment I moved to.
Long story short, the landlord wanted to blame me for it but I knew it wasn’t because of me.
Then the neighbor, who walked out his door, joined in on our conversation.
He lived in the same room before I moved in.
I asked him about the bedbugs.
He admitted that the room had bedbugs when he lived there.
Why the fuck didn’t he report the problem to the landlord?
He shrugged his shoulders – who the fuck knows.
But, if I had to guess, it’s probably because he’s more used to accepting services not as ideal as one would hope and knowing that complaining won’t achieve much.
Of course, to be fair, not every local is like this.
Those with better financial backgrounds do have higher or, what I would call, “normal” expectations.
You can read more about that incident here.
Still, it took the gringo to complain to fucking fix the bedbug issue.
So when I speak of “this gap,” I’ll summarize what I mean here.
The local offering a product or service is accustomed to getting away with offering it at a lower quality than what a gringo would accept but plenty of locals would accept.
Furthermore, the gringo is, in my opinion, more likely to complain if there are some serious issues.
Though, as a side point, you do have some “very humble” gringos who wish to never complain ever because they see themselves as guests who should keep their mouths shut basically.
Regardless, it’s my opinion that the gringo is more likely to complain and have higher standards.
Therefore, regardless of how justified those standards might be (they are in some cases and completely outrageous in others), said gringo is going to come across as “entitled’ to the local by being more vocal about his expectations that might be higher than the typical local client that the local businessman has been working with.
Again, I just want to emphasize that not every local has low standards or won’t complain.
With the internet, I think more locals are complaining online at least if something isn’t what they expected (though if I had to guess, I’d bet that gringos complain more here) and, as I said, not every local has low standards like in the examples of the door or bedbugs above.
In my opinion, it varies by their financial background, individual assertiveness and how developed their country is (Uruguay vs Bolivia for example).
Either way, that’s one of my larger theories as to why the gringo comes across as entitled.
The gap between the expectations and assertiveness in demanding what they hoped for between the gringo and the local.
Anything to Add?
Before I began writing this, there were a few other theories that crossed my mind regarding this topic but they’ve escaped me momentarily.
If I remember them, I’ll throw them into this article at a later point.
Anyway, feel free to drop your own opinion below in the comment section!
I definitely feel, just to clarify, that plenty of gringos who come down here are entitled as fuck.
But I also feel that some locals aren’t very fair in their assessment of that for some of the reasons outlined above.
Though any comments – in agreement or disagreement – are welcome.
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And thanks for reading.