Sunday, November 29, 2009

Enchufe

If you live here any length of time, you need to worry about your "enchufe" (means plugged-in in Spanish) network. Enchufe is a Spain version of corruption-lite, less invasive than the bribe-the-cop routine in Mexico or the pity-if-something-happened-to-that-nice-shop routine in Italy, but invasive none-the-less. Really what it amounts to is a form of institutionalized queue-jumping.

Suppose you have some limited resource, such as spots in schools, Barca/Real tickets (obviously I didn't have enough enchufe for that one), phone connections, etc. There's some official way of getting it, such as making an application. However, if you happened to know someone, even tangentially connected, this person might be able to speed things up significantly. Not for a bribe or anything as declasse as that, but just to help you as a friend. Senior positions at companies tend to be filled with enchufe hires. You definitely don't want to be rude to them... you never know when you might need a bit of enchufe yourself.

The downside, of course, is that the normal people end up waiting a very long time.

Originally we were opposed to the idea, but hey, when in Rome... now we embrace enchufe with gusto.

1 comment:

Jennifer @ OrangePolkaDot said...

This was one of the first words I learned here! We learned it quickly while we were visiting "international" schools.