Today’s Spanish lesson is the word “jalador”. Not the squeegee, which it translates to, but the street slang jalador. Why am I teaching you slang Spanish today? Because if you are coming to Mahahual for a vacation visit, you will need to know that word. Jaladores are the annoying guys who wait for you to step out of the taxi or shuttle so they can pounce on you and talk you into going to one of the local beach clubs, bars or restaurants. Free-lance commissioned sales people, and all with the charm of Eduardo Haskél, (Eddie Haskell to the gringos) and the ethics of an ally cat. They will charm you, BS you, lie to you, whatever it takes, to drag you into what is always one of the worst places in town to spend your day at the beach. How do you know they are no good? Because they have to pay jaladors to bring them people, that’s why!
Jaladores of El Faro, Drunk Burrito & Big Mamas All On 1 Group Of Tourist
The tradition of jaladores in Mexico began in the “fondas”, small little restaurant operations in Mexico’s urban markets. These little fondas are Mom and Pop places with no budget for advertising, so they pay people tips to go out and hustle up, or push the people like a squeegee pushes water, into their places. The tips are small, so the people who work as jaladores are generally the lower end of the worker pool. If you can’t get a job as anything else in Mexico, you are a jalador. It is however not accepted business practice in most places of Mexico. These days, in most tourist and modern urban areas, jaladores are not permitted at all because they are usually more annoying than than helpful. In cities like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and even Tulum, soliciting business away from the business’ location is forbidden. Stiff fines go to violators and the result is tourist can stroll 5th Avenue, or any avenue in Playa Del Carmen, and not have to dodge a jalador every step. The shops on the streets can still try to talk you into their shops, and that can be a bit annoying, but paid jaladores, out soliciting business are no longer there.
Jaladores are the “used car salesmen” of the community. They can usually talk a mile a minute, and it is intended for one purpose, and it has nothing to do with you having a great day. It has everything to do with getting you into whoever is paying them the most money that day. They are aggressive and try to push the button in your head that says, “this place is fine, because they are all about the same”. Trust me, the beaches all look the same, but the restaurants and beach clubs are not all the same.
Let me be clear, GOOD BUSINESSES IN MAHAHUAL DO NOT USE JALADOES!! Most feel it distracts from the ambiance of our town and is not a positive thing for tourism. This is especially true for international tourism, where visitors are not accustomed to such aggressive behavior and too often do not return because of it. Bad places, that can’t get customers the old fashioned way, by hard work and doing a good job, do it the easy way, they pay jaledores to bring them people. Those jaladores will say or do whatever it takes to get you to follow them too. If you say you are looking for a specific place, like mine, you’ll be told we are closed down, I’ve been kicked out of the country for kicking puppies, I’m dead, I full but also own his place, I’m 10 miles outside of town, we changed the name, and on and on and on. How do you know a jalador is lying? You got it, his lips are moving! Too often their work pays off though, and people “buy the used car of the day”, while the good guys, the ones who don’t use jaladores, miss out.
Doubling Up Jaladores From El Faro & Diving Burrito-That’s Tourist Abuse
Businesses like my Tropicante, as well as others like 40 Cannons, No Hoch Kay, Caballo Blanco, National Beach Club and a few others, do not use jaladores. Our concern is, as I say, the image of Mahahual tourism in general. The greeting tourist get when they step onto the streets of Mahahual is very much one of the lasting faces a tourist will forever have of Mexico and Mahahual, and I don’t think the jalador is what anyone thinks is a healthy face for Mexican tourism. If a businesses has no regard for this, you have to wonder about how they run other parts of their operation, like the food and drinks they serve you, or the way they treat their staffs.
The King of The Jaladores, Usually At The Second Stop
When you are approached by a jalador, and you will be as soon as you step from a taxi or even worse, the local shuttle trams from the port, do all of us good businesses a favor. Don’t support this sort of business behavior. Please! We have tried for years to get this practice banned, like it is in other tourist areas of Mexico, and for many reasons, have not managed to do this. If tourist will just walk past these guys with a simple smile and a “no gracias”, the jaladores will go away. When they do, you can go find where you want to spend the day the old fashioned way, stroll the malecon, look at the businesses, the menus and the staff, and decide for yourself where to spend the day. That, or Google!
Visitors should help us make our town more tourist friendly by rewarding the businesses that work hard, provide good service and respect you as a tourist, and skip past the jaladores when they approach you. Do that, and you’ll enjoy your stay in Mahahual. Follow Eduardo Haskél and you will most likely end up in one of the communities worst businesses.