Pay for cleaners

Mike1

Active Member
"cbphoto" said:
....as one of those "ignorant & uninformed" expats living here.... I have a question for you Mike1:Seeing
that you earn "way above the national average" which you said was 13
000$ annually (national average) ..let's assume by "way above" you
meant 2-3 times as much..so 26 000$-39 000$... are you seriously trying
to tell us that you can not "afford" to give your maid a decent pay?I
would be happy to give you double your 2cents ...if I thought you
needed it and if I thought your "2 cents" were worth any more....
It's
simple, you're not considerate enough to think about the fact that your
neighbors do not make as much as you do. Do you think it's fair for
your neighbors to be paying that "decent" pay that you've come up with
when the same house cleaner used you as a prime example? You're
obviously making it harder for others living in the same area because
of that "justified" wages and to the cleaner, she has a bigger excuse
to jack up the prices because "somebody" in the area can afford to pay
more. Are you here to blend in and make friends with your neighbors,
or are you here to make a lot of enemies? We live in Argentina, not
the US or Europe, and we have a responsibility to keep the balance of
things, not to blow it out of proportion to make it worse for the
locals and for others that comes in after you. We do not want the
label of having money written on our foreheads.

In the US and Europe, I hear about nothing but inflation and
money all the time. Obviously cbphoto, you still have that "I'm
American and I am better than you" attitude that the rest of the world
hates. Just because the cost of living here is considerably lower,
does not mean that we could manipulate it to our own liking and
throwing our dollars around. Start thinking like the locals, do what
they do, and think how they think. We are living here now, get used to
it.


There are balances of things here, and just about anywhere you go
to, and by doing so, you're disrupting it. Think about what you would
be doing in Europe right now when that $8000 camera is going for close
to $9500 in Europe and about $11,800 in South America, and petrol is way beyond $5 per gallon. I highly doubt that
you would be flaunting that dollar around out there. Would you be
charging US or European rates and have people taking advantage of your
service? You'd probably be playing the same game and try to get the
cleaning lady there to lower her price or keep it the same because it's
too much for your standards of living there. Keep in mind that where
you live offsets what you make. If cost of living is lower, adjust to
it accordingly it's not fair to the locals. We're living here as a
part of the society, not to be tarred and feathered out of town. Do your homework and think about it. Yes, the numbers of my income are correct, it's way higher than the average person here makes, but for $11,800, that's a $3800 difference that I have to make up for the SAME camera that I have to purchase in the US. How many Argentinians have $11,800 to throw around right now? even just $3800 is a real cutthroat, even for Americans and Europeans. If I charge my "fair" American rates here, I wouldn't be getting a single job right now. I just have to grin & bear that pain by working harder to make up for that $3800 difference. I hear my friends back home crying about a $20-$30 difference for goods all the time. Yes I'm making less than I would in the US, but I'm having more luxuries than I did living in the US. I have to consider the fact is that I also have to pay 30-40% more for equipment as well. Just had some equipment shipped from the US a few days ago and I've taken a 50% hit on the tariff. What's really fair then?
 

cbphoto

Veteran
5 years ago, of what I understand..maids got paid 5 or 6 pesos an hour..now 7. But the prices of everything have doubled... YOU Mike, and the way you justify your unwillingness to give someone an honest "living" wage are why so few have so much, and so many have so little... not just here in Argentina, but everywhere....Not sure where you live in the city.... but with your 30-40K a year, or more...I am guessing that you, probably don't live in a "poor" neighborhood... in other words your neighbors can also afford to pay their maids a "living" wage... But you are right... she might also work in really poor neighborhoods..(her neighborhood )and that wouldn't be "fair" to "them" or "her" since I am sure they would hate her for being able to support her family...I am not saying she should be paid 100 pesos an hour...but taking inflation into account...don't you think 15 would be reasonable? Or do you think giving her 15 an hour would cause the economy to crash, inflation to run even more rampant.....I am sure that if you explain to the maid, that even though you have much money and could double her wage, that it would be unfair to your neighbors who also could pay her double, that they might not "like" you anymore... she will understand :)If you can really not afford to pay a "living" wage...maybe you should clean up your own mess... I am sure she does, besides cleaning up for everyone else...
please.....
 

Mike1

Active Member
"cbphoto" said:
5 years ago, of what I understand..maids got paid 5 or 6 pesos an hour..now 7. But the prices of everything have doubled... YOU Mike, and the way you justify your unwillingness to give someone an honest "living" wage are why so few have so much, and so many have so little... not just here in Argentina, but everywhere....Not sure where you live in the city.... but with your 30-40K a year, or more...I am guessing that you, probably don't live in a "poor" neighborhood... in other words your neighbors can also afford to pay their maids a "living" wage... But you are right... she might also work in really poor neighborhoods..(her neighborhood )and that wouldn't be "fair" to "them" or "her" since I am sure they would hate her for being able to support her family...I am not saying she should be paid 100 pesos an hour...but taking inflation into account...don't you think 15 would be reasonable? Or do you think giving her 15 an hour would cause the economy to crash, inflation to run even more rampant... please.....
All it takes is one spark to start a fire. She could be telling her other friends about it and the domino effect begins. You have to keep in mind that an "average" Argentinian do not live alone, even the wealthy and the middle class. They have their resources pooled in as a family. This is not the US, where a single family resides in a home. I've seen 3 generations of an upper middle class family living in the same multi-story home. 15 pesos an hour is a lot according to Argentinian standards, it way beyond fair, it's outrageous. A waiter at a busy local non-touristy restaurant barely makes that much in 1 hour if you want to compare unskilled labor pay. He may be making $10-12 pesos in tips, provided that he's serving 8 tables and everyone gives him $1 peso each. How about the parking attendants, getting 25-50 cents, sometimes 1, maybe 2 peso tops, a pop in tips. Living in Capital does not justify that paying that much is fair because of the higher cost of living. You should come to the outskirts and see how people REALLY earn their money here. It doesn't take much to survive for a day here. I've done this experiment to see if I can make it through the day by carrying $20 pesos in my wallet and by the end of the day, I still have more than $5 pesos plus change left. For breakfast, I had coffee and facturas for $4.50, for lunch I had a choripan and a bottle of coke for $6.25 and spent $3.90 pesos for colectivos and subte. I did that just to prove that you could live on the cheap for 1 day. This is just from eating out, it's a lot cheaper if you cook your own foods at home.
By the way, I've done some additions & corrections above.
 

Matty

Active Member
I know I am going to get a lot of flak for this but let me go the extra mile and say that we just have to do what we personally think is good for one's self and own's economics. If one cannot afford it, why shoulder the laments of the world just to balance the strata of society. The fact is there will always be people that have and have nots. There will be richer people than the rich and poorer than the poor. To try to balance this is going against the very nature of a capitalistic society. Let us face it, those that have more money have more power, buying power and say on just about anything, really. This is a fact - and IT IS WHAT IT IS - a concept fully understood and practiced here in Argentina.
 

perry

Veteran
I believe that everyone should do his part to create a just society . I see every day in Argentina tremendous disparities of wealth and for a country that is supposed to be socialist savage capatalism seems to be the norm here.
Most Argentines who live in Barrio Norte can certanly afford to pay their cleaners 12 to 15 pesos an hour for a part time maid. Of course full time work should be less .
I have a maid who comes twice a week and I pay her 13 pesos an hour plus a meal . I treat her with respect and she does the same . Im sure that 90 percent can afford to do the same but do not as they seem to want to keep the status quo here.
Have you guys noticed that the service here is not as good as Europe or Canada or any developed country . Go to a restaurant where the waitstaff get 700 pesos a month when the rent alone is around 15000 pesos a month . Can you honestly say that they can not afford to not pay more . Good wages create healthy work evironments full stop .
My parents told me if you feed the People peanuts you get monkeys. This to me has always rang true
 

Mike1

Active Member
My point for the above is, don't try to reinvent the wheel. Don't fix it if it's not broken. We're not in the USA anymore, there is a formula that works here, just go with the flow. Look at the Native Americans when we tried to change them, some WERE from the East coast and ended up in the reservations of the Southwest in less than 200 years. Are they resentful? Can we give back what we've taken away from them? I don't think so. Argentina is no different, well except 90% of the Native American population were either killed off or were driven away. We have to adapt to the changes and accept the fact that this is the way of life here and has been like that for centuries. What is "fair" here may not be "fair" compared to what we're used to. I haven't heard of a single case of famine here. Sure, the living standards are not equal to the US, but they are not starving. It's like the poor in the US, sure they are living below the American "standards" but they aren't starving either. They have running hot water, electricity, a big screen TV or two, a car, and they're still complaining. There are social services that handles that.

It's never going to go away, get over it. If you want to make a difference, then go join a humanitarian organization like the Peace Corps or start one up yourself, but do not ruin it for other hard working Argentines by spoiling it for them because you feel sorry for your helper by paying them almost 2x what the going rate is. Yes, inflation is real, but that's anywhere, I could be in Timbuktu and I could STILL see it. I've already shown you what I could do with $20 pesos in one day. If you put inflation into consideration, how much would I have spent if that was in the US?

Let's see...for the same in LA on a budget... Coffee $2.25 croissants $2.95 at Starbucks. Sausage sandwich $6.50, soda $2.25 PLUS 8.25% tax. Metro day pass is $6, or put in $120 per week for gas, that's an average of $17.14 per day for a 7 days. That's $31.87 per day with a car or $20.67 without. I guess that turns out to be in the ball park of $65.31 and $100.70 in pesos on a typical work day. Yes, you're right, since we think of things in that term, $15 pesos per hour is nothing. Teachers here make around $20 pesos per hour, some at $18, for educated & skilled labor. They might as well quit their jobs and become cleaning ladies since they don't have to do that much schooling and will be making close to that with tips. Also keep in mind, how many Argentinians will be willing to blow that much (the US day budget) in one day without hearing it from the wife/boss? ;-)
 
"To try to balance this is going against the very nature of a capitalistic society. "
I don't mind trying to balance the injustices that are a result of a 'capitalistic' society. That doesn't mean that you should pay your cleaner 200% of the going rates, but you can help in other ways.
 

Celia

Veteran
"cbphoto" said:
I am not saying she should be paid 100 pesos an hour...but taking inflation into account...don't you think 15 would be reasonable? Or do you think giving her 15 an hour would cause the economy to crash, inflation to run even more rampant...
I don't think we need to preempt the inevitable salary rise....15 will be the norm soon enough, and by this time next year probably none of the people arguing in this thread will have cleaners anyway.
 

cbphoto

Veteran
Mike... we are merely talking about giving people a living raise. Being fair...doing whats right.. you in all your babbling say their is nothing we can do...the system is the system...in other words: right or wrong, you can't beat them, you can't set or choose NOT to set an example...you choose..to join them... in my book, that makes you a looser...I just gave my cleaning lady a 200% raise :) To all that have a problem with that:KISS MY.....
 

Celia

Veteran
I am paying a bienes personales tax which amounts to nearly 20% of my annual income to the Argentine government, because I own a property here. Isn't that for the redistribution of wealth?
There are countless other taxes on top of this, such as ABL and IVA. That's before factoring in utility bills. Unfortunately it doesn't leave me much leeway to start paying double wages to the cleaner....
 
Top