Mexican Culture

December 7, 2007

Mexican street vendorThis post is inspired by a great new book I’m reading called Mexicans and Americans: Cracking the Culture Code by Ned Crouch.

If you really want to understand Mexican Culture, especially the part where you ask “why do they do it that way?”, this book demystifies the differences in our respective cultures.

I admit to being a Mexico fan since 1960 when I drove myself and 3 buddies to Mexico City from Dallas Texas in my 1949 Caddy. I’ve been learning about Mexico ever since (as the old song goes, “The Beat Goes On !”)

As most people already know the Mexican people are very polite. So polite that they may tell you what they think you want to hear. Yes, I know, you want to hear “just the facts” like Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame. We gringos are very direct. Mexicans on the other hand are often very indirect. They hate giving “bad news” or facing up to “no”.

Many years ago I was in Laredo and a young boy offered me a ceramic bull for sale. I politely told him no several times, but he seemed not to want to take no for an answer. At about the time that he was becoming a true pest, the friend I was walking with (and much knowledgeable about the culture) told me, “Just say no and wag your index finger like this (indicating a lateral horizontal finger wag).” I did so and the boy stopped in mid-sentence then turned and walked away.

To the boy, when I first said no, I did not really mean no, but rather I meant “tell me more”, or “offer it at a better price”, or something indicating I needed more information.

So this is the magic of understanding the Culture Code. You can begin to understand why they say what they say and do what they do and act accordingly much to your benefit.

  • Ned Crouch

    Thanks for the citation.
    -Ned Crouch

    PS By the way, I had a friend named Patsy Healey whom I lost contact with a half-century ago. I heard she was in the Chapala area. Does her name sound familiar? Thanks.

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