Tortilla sales had dropped off drastically and my sister-in-law was worried. If she couldn’t make a go at the tortilla business, what other line of work would she get into? She fretted a few days, hoping it was only a temporary problem. But then the menudo (tripe soup) didn’t sell on Sunday, which was unheard of.
She trotted off to see Chencha. Last time she went, Chencha told her that her sister L had thrown something at the local (store) that affected her sales. (See Failing at your own business—Tortilleria). This time, Checha said that the low sales were caused by a fat, unkempt woman. My sister-in-law identified her as the woman who sells tortillas around the corner. I expect this woman might have bad feelings for T, since my sister-in-law makes an awesome tortilla de prensa (pressed tortilla) and I would imagine this woman’s sales had dropped off, eliciting the envy that caused the black magic use and subsequent panteon (cemetery) dirt throwing.
So Chencha prescribed a candle and some spray and T went back to work. Sales continued to be slow the following week. When clearing up one afternoon, she discovered 5 yellow manchas (spots) that certainly hadn’t been there the day before. She used a fibra (scouring pad) and agua bendita (holy water) and scrubbed until the dots were gone.
Later she was talking to me about these problems. She couldn’t understand why someone would have so much envdidia (envy) as to do these things. She certainly didn’t feel threatened by the tortilla place around the corner, or the one down the street. In her opinion, each did what he or she could to get by and as long as her tortillas sold, she didn’t care who else sold tortillas in the area.
I told her that most people didn’t think like that, especially here. It seems if someone gets ahead, those around him or her become jealous. There is even a common saying here. If someone gets something new, or is doing well in business, those that remark on the new purchase or success expect the person to dar el remojo (cut). Remojo literally means to soak or wet. So those asking for the remojo (soaking) are asking to be showered with the same splash of success as the new owner. Once upon a time, the remojo was literally something given by the new owner to those around him or her as a way prevent envy of those who did not have a new item, child, spouse, etc. It isn’t a practiced custom anymore, per se, but the expression and the intent remains.
So apparently, T hadn’t fulfilled the requirements of the remojo and the ensuring envidia (envy) sparked these problems. She placed a sábila (aloe vera) plant at the entrance of her local to absorb the mal vibra (bad vibrations) and bravely carried on.
Her persistence paid off and sales again were steady. She has since hired a worker to help her meet the demand!