El Fomentador

Alive and well in Mexico…

Posts Tagged ‘China

Felicidades Waldo’s Mart

with 7 comments

Happy B-Day to Waldo

I like to give Waldos Mart a hard time. But I shop there, and I know lots of people that do. Last time I was there they had a new shipment of religious candles on the shelves…and not a ‘Holy Death’ candle in the bunch! Bravo, bravo, Waldo. I don’t know if there is an actual Waldo, but the big news is that the discount chain, with outlets across Mexico, turned 10 years old this year. In fact they had a glossy flier printed to help celebrate. It was something like 10 weeks, 10 items, 10 pesos, to mark 10 years. I’m sure you get the theme. So all I can say is:

Happy Birthday! ya’ big lug….

Gentrified Waldos

Probably the really big news, (for Waldomaniacs), is that the chain has started to go up-scale. Well, okay, there has been an attempt to go a little more up-scale. Actually, the new stores I’ve seen are in ‘roomier’ buildings, better lighting, wider aisles, with what would appear to be, oh I don’t know, a more thoughtful layout of the myriad of products offered by the great Waldo. True, the shelves still contain some of the same kind of crazy stuff from the four-corners-of-the-world. Like, for example, strawberry jam from Egypt, enjoy it with “Obrian’s”  brand peanut butter from China; spread some on your favorite crackers from Spain, Vietnam or Indonesia. The ones from Vietnam are kind of a generic “Ritz”, produced under the “Kihn Do” label, clever, huh?

Exotic treasures for the sweet tooth brought to you by Waldo from the Far East

There’s a variety of hard candies from a variety of places stretching from the Argentine to the United Arab Emirates. Don’t forget to pick-up some snacks for the kids. I especially like the “Fear Factor” gummies, but a lot of tiny tykes go for the Gummy Dinosaurs; a selection of bubble gum pops, candy-filled straws, marshmallows and assorted gumballs, (all of the above imported from China), should be enough to give anyone a sugar-rush, not to mention trace amounts of a hand-full of other, as of yet, unidentified chemical compounds. I shouldn’t really pick on China, but what the hell? I’m sorry, but I just can’t bring myself to believe that it can be cost-effective to export and distribute Chinese marshmallows around the world. I mean, what is the pay scale for a Chinese marshmallow maker? Read the rest of this entry »

The “BUM”ingham School of English

leave a comment »

This outfit has all of the markings of the classic franchise patito. Stuck into an, otherwise empty, ugly concrete and plate glass, two-story office building off a busy, cluttered street on the edge of one of the growing manufacturing cities along the industrial corridor of the Mexican Bajio it is the epitome of the penchant of the patitos for merging incompetent English instruction with shamelessly predatory business practices.http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Rubber_duckies_So_many_ducks.jpg

So, of course, I went there to talk to them about working. I should add that this was nearly two years ago when I was still, as a German friend here says, an “innocent American.” At the time all I really wanted was access to an office and a classroom. I wanted to teach advanced courses in writing and speaking in English. “BUM”ingham already has it’s own “system”. The material (supplied by the franchise seller) is incredibly poor, even by the low standards of the “edu-business”. Of course, all new, bad material is required at each new “level” and is outrageously over-priced.

The “principal” offered me a job that morning, at $30 pesos an hour, (less than three dollars). I guess I couldn’t help but chuckle, and he said, right away, ok, $50 pesos per hour (less than five dollars). I started to say, well, that’s not really what I want to do…and he interrupted me to say, “It’s not much money, but you don’t have to do anything. I asked what he meant and he said the students just write in their workbooks (mostly those inane fill-in-the-blank exercises; I’ll be honest, I have trouble knowing what answer they want sometimes!) and the teacher is only there to answer questions (I’m assuming they would answer the questions in Spanish because, true-to-form, no one there spoke English, not the receptionist, not the owner, the principal (just barely), and certainly not the students.
Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Waldo’s Mart

with one comment

Do you want to have a little fun with this whole “global” economy thing? I suggest taking a walk up and down the aisles at “Waldo’s Dollar Mart”, (available in selected Mexican cities.) Just try not to go there on Friday night or Saturday afternoon, the place is always packed on the weekends. It is really a “13 pesos” store. Everything in the place is 13 pesos, actually a little more than a dollar right now (and when I think about it, that is probably a result of the NASA photos - free space and planets photosglobal economy too!)

If you don’t have a Waldo’s in you city, don’t worry, I’ll be bringing you the details of just what kind of products they have there. And believe me, they have stuff from the four corners of the globe, even though, technically, the globe is rounded. And we’ll look at what 13 pesos will and will not buy today. (In other words, just how much cheap labor, producing cheap products, does this weary old world really need to keep spinnin’ ’round?

One example that I find particularly interesting is canned cream-style corn imported from China. It kind of reminds me of the old joke about selling refrigerators to Eskimos. In case you are wondering, no, I have never eaten cream-style corn from China–my doctor said I should cut back on my lead intake.

If you have been to a Waldo’s Mart share your favorite Waldo’s story.

Santisima Muerte, Holy Death, Batman!

The Catholic Church has condemned Santa Muerte as devil worship. Ok, you are in Waldos, you have to pick-up a few items, you don’t have much time; just remember to grab a veladora (a candle) with Santisima Muerte (Holy Death) on it. This popular “Saint” is not recognized by the Catholic Church, which condemns it as Devil worship. The image has been adopted as the saint of many organized crime groups in Mexico, and as Forrest Gump would say, “…and that’s all I have to say about that.”

The images of “Holy Death” don’t do  much for Mexico’s image. And won’t do anything  to help “smite” your enemies, so “forgetaboutit”

Read the rest of this entry »