Ask a Brazilian: Lacking Change and I Touch Myself
February 24, 2009
This is our regular column called "Ask a Brazilian", the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian - for those issues you aren't sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.
I have lived in Sao Paulo since August 2008 and experience the same problem nearly every time I shop at a supermarket: the cashiers usually do not have correct change. For example, if I have 50 Reais and the bill is 47.55, the cashier will always ask me if I have change and if not, they occasionally even give me just 2 Reais in change, expecting me to overpay by 45 centavos. The amount is small, but I imagine over several years this could add up. Is there a shortage of change in the country?
Yes, there is.
Its not that the Banco Central doesnt make enough coins, its just that Brazilians are not used to paying with coins, so sometimes shops run out of change.
Its a cultural resistance that comes from our past economy, established only a few years ago. Back then, it was better to get candy than 10 centavos.
But anyway, you shouldnt feel bad to ask for the proper change, it is the right thing to do.
Follow this link (in Portuguese) for more information.
Thanks for your question,
This a tough question to ask, but I must ask it.
Why is it that Brazilian men are always touching there private parts. Even when in a conversation with women. This is in all social groups. I see it with just men as well as lawyers and executives. I find this very unpleasent when I am part of the conversation and my wife is or my secretary or just any women. I find it unpleasent even when just me and another man are in a conversation. Or even group conversations.
Since I know I can be very distracted, before I give you any answer I decided to pay careful attention. So I did, but I saw nothing. I thought that maybe only 15 minutes it didnt count... and today, in a three hour meeting with six Brazilians male, I finally can tell you again: I dont see it happening.
Unfortunately I have no idea why a man touches anything.
Lucky me, hum? I can imagine its a weird thing to watch.
Perhaps some of the readers have witnessed this and have some ideas?
Send more questions!
Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you're curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Ask a Brazilian" in the subject. We will forward to our Brazilian experts, and publish the best questions (and replies) on the site.
Previous articles in this series:
Ask a Brazilian: Tampons
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: A Brazilian CV
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: Gender Stereotypes
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Caçhaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Years
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers