Living in Guatemala vs. the U.S. -- Part 3

First, let me say that there are so many things that are not different at all. There are stores, low-, middle- and upper-class people, cars, buses, schools, and jobs all over the spectrum. Lots of people work 8-5, five days a week, go to church on Sunday, ... While you could say most people speak Spanish there are certainly areas in the Southwest of the U.S. where you could say the same.

The biggest different I see is the cost of labor vs. the cost of products. That, in itself in not what you see but it is the cause of the reality. Labor is cheap. What that translates to is that labor is used much more than in the U.S. Here are some examples:

  • A delivery truck -- say one delivering soft drinks -- will likely have four people on the truck rather than one or two. People will manually take cases of beverages and either carry them or load them onto a hand truck to deliver them to a business.
  • People, rather than machines, will keep the city clean. For example, in Guatemala City you will see hundreds of individuals with a minimalist uniform and a big sack picking up trash off the city streets.
  • I business will more likely have enough employees to watch for possible theft rather than some high-tech theft prevention system.
  • If something heavy needs to be move you will see four or six or ten individuals moving it rather than seeming some expensive machine used to do the task.

While this doesn't seem all that different, you just need to be here and experience it. It is totally logical but it just "feels" very different.