Although we live in a digital age, paper consumption is still at very high levels. This is evident for any person who lives in Mexico, where there seems to be an obsession, even love affair, with paper. Any kind of paper and paper products. Oh- and we cannot forget stamps and seals to go with paper. Of course, just like any society, Mexico publishes multitudes of newspapers, advertising brochures, government booklets, etc. However, Mexico is on overload when it comes to paper and sometimes stamps/seals. Here are some observations regarding paper and paperwork in Mexico.
*A fideicomiso, or land trust held by a bank, can be up to 20 or more pages. Every single page has a notary seal and signature.
*Many notary offices still utilize huge books to handwrite entries for real estate transactions. These volumes of books are kept in the office “libraries”.
*Bank receipts, even for a simple deposit, many times will have a stamp and signature somewhere on the printed document.
*Some medical offices, no matter what technology is available, will still use the old-school, leather-bound appointment books.
*Simple, printed receipts from stores can be printed on 8″ x 10″ paper. With seals, of course! The whole process of a purchase in stores can be quite humorous, as you must get the “Pagado” (paid) stamp, followed by a trip to another window to pick up the merchandise and to receive an “Entregado” (delivered) stamp. Many times it is the same clerk who will move from one desk to another! Below is the outcome of a simple light fixture purchase. A huge receipt, with the ‘paid’ and ‘delivered’ stamps. All that, for a small light!
*Speaking of simple receipts, in most small stores the old-fashioned and handwritten receipts are still used.
*Volantes (flyers). You cannot walk down the street without passing businesses who post employees outside to hand out flyers. Walking past homes, you will see lots of small advertisements taped to doors, gates and windows.
*Poster board. What was once a staple for school children’s projects before our technology overload is still widely used in Mexico. Restaurants will post their daily specials; barbers will promote their cheap haircuts; market stand vendors will label their products; street food vendors will post their offerings and more! You can spot the bright, fluorescent poster board with black marker writing a kilometer away!
*Booklets for healthcare visits. If you belong to the Mexican Social Security Medical system, you are given a booklet and all your visits will be documented in writing and stamped inside the booklet on the appropriate pages. Sometimes, even veterinarian offices will utilize a ‘carnet’ to handwrite checkups, vaccinations, etc.
Paper, paper and more paper!!! I have no idea why all this paper has drawn my attention. I am always comparing life in Mexico to that in the U.S. With so many differences, why paper usage and paperwork have such a lasting impression is beyond my comprehension. Perhaps, it is because paper documents are so important to get things done here. FYI- If you ever live in Mexico, DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR ELECTRIC OR WATER BILLS! They, along with many copies of them, are needed to do just about anything here! In fact, copies of everything may be needed! That may be why copy shops are so prominent here. That topic can be a future post!