Tag Archives: employment in Mexico

Failing at your own business–Taco Express

taco express

During the time we ran the Crap Shoppe, my husband found himself unemployed again. As he was still recovering from an operation, he needed work that wouldn’t be so demanding physically. He decided he wanted to sell tacos, but since I had all that stuff at the local, he couldn’t use it. So we rented a local in the ‘mercado nuevo’ which was a collection of locales (shops) that sold everything from shoes to meat.

It took a bit of investment, we needed to purchase a mini-fridge, a “comal” which looks like an inverted dish to cook the meat, and a gas tank. I used my aguinaldo (end of year bonus) from the school to get us up and running. I was excited. I even bought little plastic salsa dishes and bright orange placemats.

Not leaving anything to chance, my husband went to see Chencha, the local curandera (healer) to see what she had to say about the taco stand. She read the cards for him and said that things would be painfully slow for awhile, but then it would pick up and he should be patient. She gave him some spray called ‘llama clientes’ that was supposed to attract customers but smelled like old lady to me. She told him to take red and white carnations to the taco stand for luck. She gave him a prayer card.

We took our kitchen chairs to sit at the bar, painted Taco Express on the pillar outside and were ready to go. My husband hired his youngest brother C as his assistant. They were open exactly one week.  My husband threw a fit and brought everything home one day in the truck.  What can I say, he isn’t a patient man.




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Failing at your own business–Crap Shoppe

crap shoppe

By this time, we had accumulated quite a bit of clothing that my son had grown out of, as well as some other things that we didn’t need. I still had the crap from the first ‘bazaar’ that we hadn’t sold, and my husband decided he didn’t need all the tools he had brought.

My mother-in-law also had quite a pile of crap. She was then working as a street sweeper for the presidencia (town) and collected things from the market trash cans that ‘were still good’ and brought them home. She also made hand crocheted bags made with ‘fichas’ soda can tabs.

I moved my school things to one corner, bought a vitrina (glass display case) and organized the stuff. She and I decided to work together in minding the store and opened the Crap Shoppe. Now my mother-in-law and I get along like oil and water, so we tried to manage it so that we both weren’t at the local at the same time. I taught my classes, she swept the road, and in our spare moments, we opened.

I was not an active seller, preferring to work on my planning for school or other work that can only be done where there was electricity. My mother-in-law, however,was a professional street hawker. She would stand at the doorway, inviting EVERY passerby to look over her stuff. She also named a price higher than I was asking and usually got it, with a thank you from the buyer for the honor of buying this crap.

It’s an arrangement that worked out for the both of us. And there was a bit of money at the end of the day.

We were in business together about 6 months before she was killed. I really didn’t have time to open the Crap Shoppe full-time on my own with my classes, so I closed.




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Failing at your own business–juice and menudo


I was finding living without electricity very difficult, so I rented a small ‘local’ (it’s like a garage with a bathroom) in town to use for my computer. I didn’t have any commercial use in mind, didn’t even bother to open the ‘cortina’ (garage door). I just did my planning for school and made up the exams. I was there maybe 3 hours a week.

That seemed wasteful to my husband. He thought I should do something to at least make enough money to pay the rent. Ok, like what? Well, we could sell juice. All right. We had an electric juicer and his mother loaned us an orange juicer. We started with carrot and orange juice. Freshly made juice is sold in little bags with a straw in it, closed with a rubber band.

So we sold juices from 8 am to 11 am every day. We did ok, but I had rented the ‘local’ on the basis of proximity to La Yacata, not its commercial viability. It wasn’t a heavily trafficked area. The neighborhood residents were not well-to-do and less apt to buy something they could make in their own kitchen.


So the juices phased out, to be replaced by menudo (a traditional Mexican soup made with cow stomach) on the weekends. My husband was an excellent cook and his menudo with an occasional pozole (soup made with corn and pig feet) were delicious. Unfortunately, as these were early morning soups with the reputation of being cures for hangovers, and take hours to prepare, we had to start the evening before and cook all night.

As with the juices, we sold what we made, but didn’t see much profit. So we closed again.




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Failing at your own business-Produce Truck

fruit truck

Produce trucks provide fresh fruit and vegetables to outlying areas.

The next harebrained scheme for making money was a produce truck. My husband bought a 1985 clunker pickup truck. He removed the bed and refitted it with metal bars to hold the crates of fruit and vegetables. We made another trip to Morelia and stocked up on fruits and vegetables. We had carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillas, onions, garlic, oranges, pears and melons. We had a scale that I had used in the U.S. to weigh things to send through the mail. Ok, so it wasn’t in kilos, but we could approximate right? And some plastic bags.

We started on a Saturday, being payday, and drove through town. We started noticing that most other produce trucks had a sound system announcing their wares. We put that on the ‘to get’ list.

Well, we didn’t do too badly that day, sold some things. We probably acted a bit too grateful and surprised to pass as seasoned sellers, but hey, it was fun and we got to see some places we hadn’t visited before.

Day two, started out well. Then we ran into the ‘federales’ the state police. They wanted their ‘mordida’ or cut of the take. My husband pointed out that we had just started that day and we hadn’t made any money yet, so they accepted 2 bags of tomatoes as payment.

Then day 3 came and the truck broke down. I told you it was a clunker didn’t I? My husband went hitchhiking back to the nearest town to see if he could get a piece for the gas tank or something and left my son and I in the truck, guarding the wares. And would you believe, the ‘federales’ stopped, not to see if we needed assistance, but to see what they could take. I didn’t have any cash and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to even roll down the window to talk to them, so eventually they went away. They must not have gone too far, because when my husband came back, so did they, and picked up a few kilos of fruit for the Mrs. at our expense.

We persevered until the fruit we had bought was either sold or on the point of going bad. We didn’t lose money, but we didn’t make any either. My husband sold the truck.




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