There is a certain critique of Latin Americans that comes up from time to time among some gringo expats.
The critique is that people down here are less respectful of the tools, vehicles or whatever that you loan them where they come back in worse condition.
I've heard this idea proposed online in blogs and podcasts among a few gringo expats and I've also heard it expressed by just a tiny few in real life also among gringo expats I have met over the years down here.
To be honest, I can't tell you from personal experience how true it all is.
I have lent out shit to folks down here and have mixed results in getting the shit back in decent condition or how it was when I lent it out.
Regardless, the critique came up again recently while talking to a friend of mine so I'll drop that and some other minor stories that come to mind.
Blayde's Electric Scooter
A friend of mine named Blayde lives in Mexico City also.
He lives near La Viga Metro area but bought over a year ago some electric scooter that gets him quickly to Condesa area whenever he feels like spending time in that area.
While electric scooters sound kinda gay, he doesn't like taking the metro and getting a car is complicated I guess.
Anyway, I remember him telling me recently about lending the thing to a Mexican neighbor of his who needed to get to some point in the city quickly.
And, from what he told me, the thing came back supposedly worsened.
I honestly have no idea how bad the damage was because I didn't take a look at it nor do I care that much.
But shit about the paint or whatever that he was telling me about over a week ago.
I'll leave it at that.
Too Lazy to Clean Shit
Over a year ago when I lived in Roma Norte of Mexico City, this is one of the only other examples I can think of regarding a Latin American not respecting the shit you gave them.
Basically another American I met named Alex lived in the same apartment building of mine and often cooked at home because he was vegetarian and Latin America isn't overly generous to vegetarians.
Anyway, he ended up loaning some pan and other cooking shit to some neighbor who asked if he could use it.
He used it.
And it ended up in the sink not being cleaned or anything.
Left in the sink for a long ass while and the dude who borrowed it never cleaned it after using it despite borrowing it from Alex.
And that was it.
Tools Not Returned
I'll keep this one simple because it's been years since I heard the story and I probably didn't get much details anyway when I was told it.
But back when I lived in Guatemala, I knew another American named Jeff that I wrote about in articles like this one here.
We often talked at a local cafe in a city called Xela.
And he was the first person I met who ever proposed the idea that Latin Americans respect less the shit you lend to them.
That it comes back in worse condition or whatever.
He was living in a place on the outskirts of Guatemala City and loaned some tools to some neighbor.
A hammer here, some other shit there, etc.
And he didn't get it all back.
While he probably had other stories of Latin Americans not respecting shit since he really believed the idea, that's one of the few that he told me.
So What's The Verdict?
So is it true?
Do Latin Americans respect less the shit you loan them?
Where it either doesn't get returned back, comes back in worse condition, not cleaned, etc?
Honestly, I have no idea.
I never spent much time loaning shit to anyone before I left to live in Latin America.
So I have nothing to compare it to.
Down here in Latin America, I have loaned shit to people before.
Basic shit like brooms, medicine, random tools, etc.
Sometimes the shit comes back normal.
Sometimes it comes back dirty, in worse condition, etc.
But I don't normally loan shit of much value anyone since I'm not letting people borrow a car of mine or anything too big.
So I've never given it much thought until recently when I heard the idea again from Blayde this time with him complaining about shit with his neighbor.
Either way, I felt like giving some light to the idea just because you genuinely hear it from time to time among some expats.
Not saying it is true but I just wanted to acknowledge this idea that is out there.
One thing I will say -- if I had to guess -- is that probably those who respect less the shit you give them or take less care of the shit you give are probably those of lower socioeconomic status.
Or people who are very young in their early 20s and are relatively immature.
Like you'd see anywhere else in the world.
So, even though I can think of a few incidents that might back this idea up after giving it 20 to 30 minutes of hard thinking into shit I've been told over the last decade, I don't believe it too much.
But, on one hand, I can kinda see where people are coming from when they say it.
After all, if socioeconomic status had any importance to this shit, then maybe it's slightly true since Latin America is poorer on average than countries like the US.
And, when it comes to how people treat shit in public, I guess the idea sounds more reasonable when you see no shortage of people littering like I wrote here or whatever else.
Like when you walk into a place with ATM machines and one of them has shit smeared all over it (has happened from what I saw once).
Or seeing random people throw shit into the space where the train runs through in the metro stations of CDMX.
So on and so on.
But, even when I think of CDMX, you definitely see more respect for public space in nicer than areas than poorer ones (even if neither is perfect just like the US as a richer country isn't perfect either).
So, if more people respect less public spaces, then would they be less likely to respect the shit they borrow from others?
Thinking about it along those lines, I guess I can see it.
Either way, I'm not saying again that this idea is true that Latin Americans respect less the shit you lend to them and I again just wanted to bring this topic up because, as I said, it's a talking point you hear among some expats.
So I'll leave it at that.
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