By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
DEAR MEXICAN: I live in La Habra, and I've noticed the local Mexicans have a real affinity for palm trees—the more, the better. Some houses have more than 50 planted in a 10-by-20 front yard, so many you can't see the house. What's up with this? Is this some kind of Mexican status symbol?
The Crazy Gringa
DEAR LOCA GABACHA: It's a reminder of—take your pick—Palm Sunday, a Mexican's home state, the beach, the beauty of nature, the eternal Mexican propensity to turn anything into a business, or to buy better weapons and no longer rely on fronds for your shivs.
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DEAR MEXICAN: My boss, a gringo, questioned me on the choice of words I used in an ad that I wrote for a local grocery-retailer magazine. The article informed the reader that my company is now supplying a product that many of the customers who shop at their stores had grown up on. I stated, "We can now expand our product offerings to your Mexican customers." My boss took exception to this statement and thought it might be offensive to Mexicans. I hope that it was not in any way offensive to our neighbors to the south and those living here in the States. Was my boss being overly sensitive, or did I indeed use the wrong words?
A Proud American
DEAR GABACHO: Both. Your jefe must be clueless about the billions of spending dollars controlled by Mexican consumers in the United States, a market that'll be loyal to a brand for life for even the most nominal of nods—witness the Mexican affinity for gabacho beer companies for their sponsorship of soccer teams and Vicente Fernández tours. And your sentence, to quote The Elements of Style, is una pinche porquería. You should've written, "We know Mexis. Give us mucho dinero, pendejos." Attracting the Mexican dollar isn't something hard; hard is trying to imagine Mexico winning the FIFA World Cup at some point in this millennium.
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DEAR MEXICAN: How can I explain to a Mexican to pay the printed price and value of the product without hurting his feelings?
Let's Not Make a Deal
DEAR GABACHO: You can't—haggling is as ingrained into the Mexican psyche as hating the United States. And it ain't just Mexis who won't accept the printed price—read the memoirs of the children of immigrants over the, oh, past 150 years in this country. But cry me a río about making people pay the value of the product. You bought your merchandise at a reduced, wholesale price gracias to your business license, which allows you to mark up that price and make a profit. The producer, in turn, marked the price up for you so he could make a profit. That gabachos still insist on paying an arbitrary price for something despite it being inflated to nearly twice its actual value is the biggest question that the Mexican has about gabachos after the allure of Friends.
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DEAR MEXICAN: During the Iraq invasion, a Mexican guy at work said that every extended Mexican family has one person who looks just like Saddam Hussein. Are you the Saddam in your family?
DEAR GABACHO: No, I'm the Saladin.