Many Mexicans suffering poverty use a variety of unique methods to put food on the table.
One of the more popular methods for earning money is cleaning windshields. If you have an American tag on your vehicle you’re going to be bombarded with multiple solicitations to clean your windshield dirty or not.
These take on a variety of approaches:
1. An individual politely asks as you pull into a convenience store, “Sir, may I clean your windshield?” If the dust has gotten to the point where vision is obstructed I give the go ahead then go in to purchase a cup of coffee or a six-pack of Tecate.
2. The next method involves the cleaning of the windshield without permission. When returning from a shopping errand a decision must be made, to pay or not to pay. A surprised newbie will dig for money reasoning there’s an expected obligation while a more seasoned veteran says I didn’t ask for the windshield to be cleaned and I ain’t paying. My decisions are generally based on whether the windshield needed to be cleaned. I do get irritated if work has been done on my freshly washed vehicle and the once pristine windshield is covered with greasy streaks. One window washer that plies his trade at one of my regular stops cleaned the windshield without permission. I drove away, not paying and received a nasty look. The next time he didn’t try the same tactic. On a subsequent visit I gave him the go ahead and established the ground-rules for our business relationship. He now asks.
3. The stoplight onslaught is a weird one. Out of nowhere using a full-blown assault a guy throws his rag on the window. You waive him off, but he continues undeterred not caring if the glass is dirty or not. He knows the unexperienced will feel guilt and pay anyway, the experienced will just drive off shaking their heads. Often the wash rag is dirty, sandy & oily and just nasty, resulting in an awful job. One guy barefooted, wearing no shoes or shirt and apparently high on something threw his rag on my just-washed vehicle. I waived him off and shouted no, no, no. He started a scene at the intersection screaming in perfect English, “You have a negative attitude and remember this my country, you’re just an old man who’s a visitor here.” I smiled and said to him as I rolled away, “You’ve got me with that one I am an old man.”
One of our fellow American Legion members recently designed placards to display on the dashboards advising all rogue washers not to clean the windshield. Will this work? I’ll let you know, Dan McWhitis…