What happened to my brother-in-law Pepe is usually referred to as “the old mustard scam” in The Guadalajara Reporter. That’s what I called it too, until last week when Pepe fell for it hook, line and sinker.
I should mention that in my Mexican family, Pepe is the guy everyone consults when in doubt: Which model car is the most reliable? Where can I find chia at the best price? Where should I invest my savings? Pepe reads the paper and Pepe is always well informed.
When I discovered that Pepe had never heard of the “old” mustard scam, it dawned on me that maybe the average Tapatio is not nearly as well informed about every-day estafas as the Reporter’s regular readers. So, I began to ask everyone I knew—even staff members of Monterrey Tec—and to my surprise I was unable to find even one person who had heard of this particular scam. So, just in case you are one of those many people, here’s Pepe’s story in brief.
In August he was wandering through a half-empty area of Soriana Las Aguilas supermarket when a tall, thin, well-dressed man in a suit and tie stopped him. “You’ve got something on your clothes,” he said in a concerned voice.
Pepe discovered there was a brown substance all over his back, from shoulder to shoe. “I smelled it, thinking from the color and consistency that it might be poop, but it smelled something like mustard,” he says.
“Don’t worry,” replied the distinguished man in the suit, “I’ll help you—come with me.”