A few days ago we went to Burger King to buy some cheezburgers. Once inside we witnessed something quite bizarre: about half of the people in the kitchen were seniors, perhaps starting at 70 years old. Here they were, working their asses off to crank out burgers as fast as possible, looking bleary and tired. a 40-something woman was bossing them around and asking them to move faster. Hey, it’s lunch time so things can indeed get pretty hectic.
At first I’d think that it’s great that these people, who probably wouldn’t have found any other job, can get an opportunity at Burger King. Actually I’ve seen elderly people getting very low-key jobs, like janitoring or burger making, and while it’s a bit depressing, it’s also good that they can get jobs at that age.
Then again, most civilized countries have some sort of policy to take care of their elders. Even here in Mexico we’re supposed to have pension plans (AFOREs, a whole mess where you actually are investing your money on a losing portfolio, but can do nothing about it), government support for the elderly (local support amounts to MXN $700.00 a month, federal government gives a similar amount I think) and in a worst-case scenario a family should be able to support their elders.
So what’s happening? the fact is that those aids are insufficient and elders are forced to go looking for jobs speaks badly about Mexico and its policy regarding the elderly. So here I am working my ass off to survive in this country, and come retiring time, I won’t have enough savings to support myself; government policy to ensure I do have savings is flawed so there’s no guarantee, the economic situation is such that even my children might have a hard time maintaining me, and even relief programs giving a token amount of monthly aid are grossly insufficient, due to the country’s bad economic situation where the aid is hardly enough to purchase basic foods.
So the usual question is, do we really want to live in a country that’ll be this thankless and ruthless to even an elderly person who shouldn’t have to work his ass off just to scrape by at the end of his life? … as usual the answer is up in the air.