Monday, April 2, 2012


We all know there are some service industries in the States were a tip is expected.  And we know that some waiters and waitresses work for really low wages and tips are suppose to earn a decent wage.  There are some service industries in Honduras in which people only work for tips. No wages.  Most of those people work really hard and even then may not be able to earn enough money to have a semi-decent living.  The people that park cars at the fruit market are among those that only work for tips.  The people that direct cars into parking places have staked out a section or a row and no one infringes on another person's territory.

The fruit market is open on Friday and Saturday of most weekends.  I usually go buy fruits and vegetables for Casa every other Friday.  I like Friday because there is less people there.  I have parked in the same area of the fruit market for over four years.  The girl that works that area knows when I will be coming and she always finds a parking place for me, usually very near the gate.  I always, always tip her, usually 20 limpira (which is about $1.00).  I never give her less than that. 

This past Friday was my normal day to go to the market.  Earlier in the week, we learned there was a required parent's meeting at Rosy's school Saturday morning at 10:00.  Rosy's school is just blocks from the market.  It made more sense to go to the market on Saturday and kill two birds with one stone (or one trip to town.)

This being Holy Week and the market being closed this coming weekend, I knew Saturday was the last day the market would be open before Easter.  I also knew the traffic around the market would be horrible.  I just did not know how horrible.  Thankfully, Matt went with me.

We delayed ourselves by stopping for doughnuts.  How can you not stop for doughnuts on a Saturday morning.  I don't think that 10 minute delay made too much of a difference.  I battled my way around the stadium to my normal parking location.  I turned up the row and was driving slowly, looking for the lady.  Every parking spot was full.  I passed her.  She was sitting in the shade.  She saw me and she jumped up immediately.  She began to ask some of the other parkers if they had a place.  No one had one.  She told me to circle around one time.  I handed Matt the list and told him to go turn in our order.  Circling one time was much easier said than done.  The traffic worsened and, for several minutes, was complete gridlock.  Eventually Matt called to see where I was.  As I turned up the row again, there she was and motioned me all the way to the front.  She certainly had one place for me right by the gate.  It looked awfully small  to me and I was sure there was no way I could get into that spot.  She told me the only way I could get in was to back in.  That sealed the deal for me.  There was no way I could do this.  Backing into parking places is not my strong suit.  With her expert guidance, I backed right into that parking place. 

I ran to get the cheeses and then our order was ready.  If Matt had not got out and turned the order in for me while I made one more circle, and, if I had not been giving what this lady thought was generous tips, we would have never made the meeting on time.  After the car was loaded, I discovered it was harder to get out of that place than it had been to get in.  But again, she guided me and told me when to stop and when to back and how far to back.   

I have no idea what this lady makes each weekend.  But, I know she thinks a one dollar tip is generous.  That says to me she might not be making very much money.   And, I know she wants to return that by always finding me a place to park.  I always appreciate that.  I appreciated it more Saturday. 


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