I’ve just been through a recent experience that reminded me that getting things done in Mexico takes patience.
Just as I began my blog this week, I received a text message from my bank stating that my credit card had been “restricted” due to some suspicious activity. Now, one might think that simply calling the bank and telling them that the charges were authorized might do the trick, but things are not quite that easy in Mexico. After a rather heated discussion with the bank, my new credit card will arrive sometime at the end of next week and until then I will have to make do with what I have.
Banks are a source of frustration for many of us down here, not just expats but Mexican nationals as well. A typical visit to the bank will likely require standing in line, showing your passport and other official identification, possibly showing a proof of address (either a phone bill or electric bill), signing numerous receipts and other odd pieces of paper, sometimes just to make a deposit or withdrawal from one’s own account. And if for some reason the system goes down (“no hay sistema”) you will have to come back another day and start the entire process over.
Banks are not alone in the “Try Your Patience” category; the water company, the telephone company and the electric company are all in the mix, followed closely by city hall and other government agencies. Advice that I have consistently given my clients and friends is never try to do more than one thing per day. If you need to change the name on the electric bill or pay your property taxes or exchange money from the bank, dedicate one day to each activity.
I recommend that you bring a book or a magazine and start early. Be prepared to wait. Bring photocopies of your things with you – it will make things go much more quickly and the person helping you will be thrilled. Be sure and carry with you, along with the copies, your original passport, Mexican immigration document, proof of address that is no older than one month and information regarding the procedure you are trying to accomplish.
When you are done, congratulate yourself! Go to the beach! Treat yourself to a nice lunch (or dinner depending on what time it is when you finish) and have yourself a big margarita! Remember, you will need to do this all again mañana.
Hasta la proxima!