Friday, October 16, 2009

No change in Brazil

Sometimes I don’t get the logic rattling around in the heads of Brazilian business people. Take grocery stores for example. My experience, again and again, has been that the check out cashiers NEVER have any change!

How is it possible that a cashier that has been taking money from customers for hours can’t break a twenty?

It happens almost every time I go to the grocery store. Check it out: I’m waiting in line with my stuff and the person in front of me tries to pay for their groceries with a fifty. The cashier can’t make change. They have to call in the roving change-making lady to break the fifty for the customer. Then they change exactly that one fifty reais bill for that one transaction.

Then I step up to buy my fruits and vegetables with a twenty. Guess what? The change the cahier got for the single previous transaction did nothing to relieve her lack of change overall. So now they have to call back the roving change-making lady to give me four bucks change from my twenty.

It is mind boggling. None of the cash drawers at ANY of the grocery stores have any cash in them – at any time of the day. We wait repeatedly for the change lady to come and provide a few reais.

I have watched while the manager has come by to collect all the money in a cash drawer – leaving the cashier with less than R$50 in the drawer. Then all us customers have had to wait while the change lady has had to to come by to break any and all large bills in virtually all transactions that follow.
Once I was the first customer for a cashier just starting her shift at a major grocery store. First customer. Her cash drawer was empty and she had to call the roving change-making lady to complete my transaction. Sigh.

Experienced grocery store managers are encouraged to move to Brazil and liberate us from this nonsense.


Ivy said...

It's amazing, isn't it?!
I have a theory: changes and umbrellas vanish in Brazil!!

TexasHeather said...

This is so true! And I now carry R$2 in coins just to avoid that whole "nao tem moedas?" bit that ensues when I have only bills.

My theory: All the change in Brazil lives at the pedagios with their odd amounts. That is why there's none for the grocery stores.

Can you tell I have lots of time, nothing to do, and am thoroughly enjoying your blog? Hope you don't mind : )