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View Full Version : Is Mexico really this much of kleptocracy?


astro
03-23-2012, 03:19 AM
I recently sent a USPS package to Mexico that contained some women's boots. The buyer insisted on registered mail as she indicated her package might be stolen en-route otherwise.

How in the world can an economy function if government workers are pilfering the mail for goodies as a matter of course? It's boggling. How does anything get done?

UDS
03-23-2012, 03:35 AM
Well, it's a problem, obviously, but it's not a insurmountable problem if there are alternatives to the mail (like UPS or Fedex).

Moral issues aside, you could argue that the growth of any private parcel delivery service when there is already a universal govertment-run service indicates that the government-run service is suboptimal, and is imposing avoidable costs. Those costs may be pilferage, or they may be unreliablity, or they may be slow delivery times, or they may be excessive charges. From an economic point of view, these are all just extra costs.

grude
03-23-2012, 04:07 AM
She might be worried you'll try to scam her, with reg mail at least you have a delivery confirmation# which while it doesn't show every hop gives you some info.

Shipping packages internationally is wonky and not just to Mexico, I've had problems in Canada(sitting in customs for WEEKS-MONTHS?! before being cleared) The Netherlands(package never shown as reaching Netherlands via DC#, four months later it magically showed up confirmed by the DC#) and Italy(outright theft or so customer claimed, Italian post web site doesn't let you check DC# and calling Italian post directly they won't check either). If you look on forums like ebay's for sellers you will notice the same countries being problems over and over again, sometimes it seems to indeed be the postal service, sometimes it seems to be scams for refunds basically(DC or tracking#s or even sig confirmation check out but customer insists they didn't get their order).

Because of this most sellers just flat refuse to ship internationally, if you are going to registering the package is cheap and gets you a DC# at least.

Diceman
03-23-2012, 07:49 AM
We recently had two people from Colombia come to our workplace. They had an expensive piece of equipment with them, and when they left, they did not want to take said item on the plane with them, for fear it would be stolen. They had us send the item to their American affiliate, who will apparently send it down to Colombia some other way.

Baracus
03-23-2012, 08:05 AM
Some people are just paranoid, too. My wife's grandmother immediately suspects that the PO workers have stolen/are reading her magazine if it doesn't show up on the expected day.

But as others have said international shipping does seem to have its problems. I remember years ago my mother's aunt in Germany sent us a package. When it arrived, it appeared that somebody had opened the package and replaced its contents with some random crap from someone else's package.

guizot
03-23-2012, 08:21 AM
We recently had two people from Colombia come to our workplace. They had an expensive piece of equipment with them, and when they left, they did not want to take said item on the plane with them, for fear it would be stolen. They had us send the item to their American affiliate, who will apparently send it down to Colombia some other way.DHL. In Colombia, one "avoids" the government mail. When sending something abroad, you have to use Avianca (the airline). If you want to mail a letter in town, you could use the government post, but most businesses opt for private courier (i.e., a guy on a moped you can trust).

Rushgeekgirl
03-23-2012, 09:11 PM
We had enough mail just not show up (especially boxes) that we stopped sending gifts and just wired money for holidays. It was all going to Pachuca, Hidalgo or Mexico City.

Poysyn
03-23-2012, 09:40 PM
When I used to work tradeshows and sent giveaway stuff to the Mexico Air Show we always sent extra shirts and stuff, knowing it would not all make it there.

md2000
03-24-2012, 11:06 AM
I knew some guy whose 20yo son worked unloading cargo for a small regional airline in northern Canada. According to the son of another friend, who knew him, the work crew used to help themselves from the cargo from time to time, especially the boxes going to the local music store (remember CD's?). It was not really wholesale theft, but from what I heard it was fairly often and went on for years and nobody cared enough to stop it, and he never got caught. Similarly, there were occasional stories of groups in Toronto's main postal station A in Missisauga being busted from time to time for theft from the mails - but by then it was mainly new credit cards, apparently recognizable by the return address. So it can happen even in Canada, and the main reason it would stop is if the authorities cared enough to stop it.

So in Mexico, I suppose the postal bureaucracy does not care enough to try and stop it, and so it has gotten more and more blatant. The other problem is that if it is like Canada, international parcels need a declaration of goods inside and their value, which I suppose is spanish for "shopping list".

Colibri
03-24-2012, 02:09 PM
Moving to IMHO from GQ.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Baker
03-24-2012, 04:14 PM
I once corresponded with a guy in Latvia, just before the fall of the USSR, and for a time after.

At Christmas I sent a gift, a fruitcake(no jokes please!:p) and he said if it was food it was best to send it in as plain a package as possible. Apparently the company in Texas that sent it, and does a lot of international shipping, had encountered this problem before, of stolen mail, because they weren't in the least surprised at my request for stealth packaging.

When the USSR was still really in power he sometimes didn't get certain National Geographic magazine issues. One's on space travel for instance. Or the one with an article on Finland "Plucky Neighbor of Soviet Russia"

msmith537
03-24-2012, 04:39 PM
How in the world can an economy function if government workers are pilfering the mail for goodies as a matter of course? It's boggling. How does anything get done?

It is Mexico.

Johnny L.A.
03-24-2012, 04:49 PM
This has nothing to do with Mexico, but I'm posting anyway.

TSA thefts (http://dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2095660/TSA-agent-Alexandra-Schmid-JFK-airport-stole-5-000-cash-from.html)
TSA agent stole $5,000 in cash from a passenger at a checkpoint.
TSA agent stole (at least) 8 iPads from checked luggage.
TSA agent in Miami stole things from luggage (including an iPad).
Two TSA agents from JFK International Airport stole $40,000 from a piece of checked luggage.
A TSA supervisor and a TSA officer stole between $10,000 and $30,000 worth of belongings from passengers
I've also had people advise me not to send packages via UPS, as these people said UPS has a theft problem.

OK, to make this post at least somewhat relevant to the thread: In the '80s I attended (private pilot) ground school at a community college. The dean who taught the class made frequent flights to Mexico in his airplane. He said that he always carried an extra $50 for each flight plan he needed to file there. Flight plans are required, and are free; only if you want them actually entered into the system (and thus be legal), you'd better have a $50 'tip' for the (equivalent of a) Flight Service Specialist. I've never flown to Mexico, so I'm just repeating what this single individual said about his personal experience.

Balthisar
03-25-2012, 08:54 AM
I've had better luck receiving postal mail in China than I ever had in Mexico. Don't get me wrong; I love Mexico. But if it didn't arrive via a courier, I didn't ever count on it arriving. Of course, I've always blamed it on incompetence, and not outright theft.

bump
03-25-2012, 10:59 AM
It is Mexico.

Indeed. This is a country where despite having the 13th or 14th largest GDP in the world, they can't manage to reliably get safe and clean drinking water to their people in the 21st century.

If they can't manage that one most basic of public services, what would make anyone think that they'd be able to handle drug cartels or something as trivial as mail pilfering?

Vinyl Turnip
03-25-2012, 11:35 AM
According to my wife, unregistered items mailed to Brazil are also extremely likely to be "lost" at some point. Whenever she travels there, she plays courier for a few people who don't want to risk shipment (and it's not just the shipping cost).

gracer
03-25-2012, 11:57 AM
One of my kids back in Brazil collects coins, so whenever I have some exciting new coins I send them over. The first two packages didn't arrive. After that I started sending them with a little message inside, written in English and Portuguese. It said:

"Dear Thief,

These coins are not worth much money at all. They are for my young friend Saulo, who lives in a children's home and collects coins. Please don't steal them.

Many thanks,
gracer"

Since I started doing that they have never been stolen again.

Kizarvexius
03-26-2012, 06:24 PM
I lived for 20 years in El Paso, a city which is anywhere from 2/3 to 9/10 Hispanic, depending on whose numbers you accept. It was my perception that in Mexican culture, the average man or woman on the street not only recognizes the existence of corruption at every level, but expects it. That the person who is not skimming off of the top is regarded as a fool. That the official who refuses to accept a bribe is not being honest, just demanding a higher price. That the guy who pulls off an impressive scam is much more admired than the pesky crusading journalist.

Take this with as much salt as you wish, but these were my impressions based on many years of experience.

florez
03-26-2012, 07:06 PM
. It was my perception that in Mexican culture, the average man or woman on the street not only recognizes the existence of corruption at every level, but expects it. .

What you perceive in Mexican culture, could be the result of a Mexican perception of justice or lack of it, after several centuries of European imperialism and colonialism.
It just depends on your perspective.

billfish678
03-26-2012, 07:11 PM
What you perceive in Mexican culture, could be the result of a Mexican perception of justice or lack of it, after several centuries of European imperialism and colonialism.
It just depends on your perspective.

Uhhh, whose been running Mexico for a good long while now?

foolsguinea
03-27-2012, 12:55 AM
People who misspell "who's"?

Kizarvexius
03-27-2012, 01:59 PM
What you perceive in Mexican culture, could be the result of a Mexican perception of justice or lack of it, after several centuries of European imperialism and colonialism.
It just depends on your perspective.

My comments were merely a statement of my observations, and not intended to reflect any moral judgement. I leave that to the ethicists and theologians.

Vinyl Turnip
03-27-2012, 02:11 PM
Uhhh, whose been running Mexico for a good long while now?

Drug cartels?

hellpaso
03-28-2012, 11:32 PM
My comments were merely a statement of my observations, and not intended to reflect any moral judgement. I leave that to the ethicists and theologians.
Most people just don't understand.:smack::D (I do!)

hellpaso
03-28-2012, 11:33 PM
Drug cartels?
:eek:;):(

Ann Hedonia
03-29-2012, 09:22 AM
I've experienced two incidents in the good old USA

I order some stuff on-line and it ships via UPS. But I don't get the package. I track the paackage and I see a strange delivery exception...............apparently someone at a UPS depot a couple of states away noticed that my package had been opened and some of the contents removed.................UPS contacts the shipper.

Then I get an very aggressively NASTY call from the shipper..............."so, you're CLAIMING that you GOT this package but someone had opened it and removed some of the contents????????"............no, I'm not claiming anything, I never GOT the package, if you would learn how to read you would see that the tampered package was intercepted and it never GOT to me". Eventually they "got it" and replaced the package.

Alos, back in the day when digital cameras were really expensive I ordered one on-line, then realized I wasn't going to get it in time for the event I wanted to photograph. So I bought another one in the store and returned the one I sent on-line via insured US mail.

It never gets back to the shipper. A track of the package shows it disappearing after being scanned in somewhere in Kentucky. Post Office people exhibit a little disbelief but the tracking info speaks for itself. I fill out the forms and get $500 + the shipping cost back from USPS.

I think the lesson here is to never insure a box small enough to fit in a coat pocket for $500.

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