Losing one’s wallet; all money, credit cards, identification, probably ranks as one of the worst travel experiences one can experience. I lost mine on Christmas Eve and would like to discuss what happened, because I think it is an interesting study into how NOT to do tourism.
I first rang my banks to cancel my credit cards (well tried to, one bank HSBC had the wrong number listed so there was no way to report my card missing). I then rang my travel insurance company to discover in such a situation, one is completely on their own. Well, at least I know from my Dengue Fever experience in Bangkok, medical expenses are covered IF you are willing to play the extended paperwork game! Always good to read reviews of travel insurance companies to understand what happens when the shit does hit the fan.
Anyway, next stop was the Police Station where I met tourist guide and translator, Fernando Merida.
I was basically told that if I wanted the police to do their civil duty, and write a report to state my wallet was missing, I would have to pay $450 pesos! A little difficult considering I had no money! On returning a 2nd time I realised the trick was to tell them you had no insurance, and that you didn’t need a police report to claim loses with an insurance company.
The last time I used my wallet to purchase something was at an OXXO store. They are the franchised convenience store of Latin America. They have security cameras and I thought it would be handy to somehow get access to the footage of me making my final purchase, so as to see if maybe someone pickpocketed me, or, I left my wallet on the counter. Asking the manager for information on how to get access to the video footage, you would think I was accusing him of stealing my wallet himself. He blew up into a terrible huff, cursing and all red in the face! It made me feel a little suspicious that he was hiding something. Anyway, finally he gave me an email address, to which OXXO recently replied:
“request to view the video should be made by the competent authority together with the complaint in the first 3 days of the event, which is why we can not meet its application as we would like. However, we invite you to come to our stores to be granted a complimentary coffee for the inconvenience caused”
So basically, despite the police visiting the OXXO store in question, speaking to the manager. The manager not wishing to give his name. The manager in no way wanting to help me in my request to view the footage. The manager acting terribly affronted that I should even make such a request…in a way that made me very suspicious of him. Without his help, I can’t get access to the footage and work out what happened!
The reason I wanted to write about my experience in Mexico, is because I want it to be lesson to Mexico Tourism, on how not to treat tourists.
Tourists accept that in most cases we pay more for all services. You make money from us, we get to see new and unique things…WIN/WIN!
But when we are faced with situations where things go wrong, robberies or injuries, loss or death. We hope that your legal and medical systems will not take advantage of us in our time of need, but ensure we are treated with respect and dignity.
There is no point encouraging tourism, encouraging people to visit, if you can’t at the most basic level, ensure their safety.
Palenque Tourism, I hope you can look into my case and ensure no other tourist have the local police try and extort money out of them for the simple civic service of writing a police report for missing property.
As for OXXO, I’ve made a little video for you.