Minimum wage? HA! Decent pay? HA! Benefits? HA! Insurance? HA! Vacation? HA!
Ok, so we weren’t in the States any more. Finding employment was a challenge for my husband. Keeping it was a challenge for me. So we had the novel of idea of working for ourselves. We failed at EVERY endeavor.
First, my husband opened a vulcanizadora (a repair shop for tires, bike and tricycle tires, moto tires, car and truck tires, wheelbarrow tires, etc.) He had an air compressor, pump, and the basic tools he would need. We went to Morelia and bought a bulk supply of patches and glue. We rented a place and opened.
Business trickled in. By trickled, I mean by droplets. Maybe one client a day, maybe not. Let me tell you a little secret about my husband, he is not very patient. My son and I would arrive with his lunch and his comment was ‘ahorita vengo’ meaning I’ll be right back’ and he’d be off. Well, I brought my sewing machine over and busied myself with making stuff while William played contentedly nearby. Then he’d be back and decide that it was time to close, so we would.
This type of behavior isn’t confined to my husband. It seems to be the hallmark of little businesses here. The owner opens around 10 am, maybe 11 am. He or she is there maybe an hour or two. Then leaves to take care of something or other, leaving behind an employee or the kid. Of course, should anyone happen to stop by and want to make a deal, the employee/kid usually doesn’t have the authority to do so and will tell you the owner will be back at x hour. If you are determined, you may come back at x hour only to find that the place has been closed for lunch, which here is from about 1:30 to 4 or 5 in the afternoon. Then the place may open again around 4 or 5 and stay open until 6, but then again maybe not. So how does anyone sell enough even to pay the rent?
Anyway, we weren’t making any money with the tire patching business. So since I had been making things with the sewing machine during those long, hot afternoons, I had enough to open a ‘bazaar’ in the adjoining alcove. I had stuff, nothing very interesting, but things we had brought that we didn’t really need and the stuff I had made while I waited to return from wherever he had gone like ponchos, little girls’ dresses, some cloth baby toys. And I was more patient than my husband. I stayed open from 10 am to 2 pm, and sold nothing.
That little venture lasted about 2 months, then we closed down and renewed our employment search.