Gringoes > Culture > Supermarket Queues
Supermarket Queues
By Teresa Cristina
March 27, 2017

The topic of queing in supermarkets is dear to my heart, since I find it so, so annoying – and yes, I am a Brazillian who can not stand this. I thought it would be helpful to write about it, to set expectations for foreigners shopping at supermarkets around Brazil.

Well, the story is more or less this one…. you get your cart at a grocery store, start shopping for all items and then when you are done, you drive yourself to the cashier in order to get your items checked out and paid for. Well, in Brazil you will see folks shopping around and bringing the items to the front where somebody (a mate, a child) awaits with a cart or simply with its body, saving the position in the line. Or, worse yet, you will pick your line, generally speaking, you pick the one with the least number of persons or the least number of shopping carts, and all of a sudden somebody appears in front of you with a cart overflowing of items, just to note his/her mate (family member most of the time) is awaiting in line saving a position in front of you.

Just to keep it entertaining, my last incident was at Super Adega in Brasilia – DF (man! This is the typical place you will see this behavior, the store is full during the weekends and you can observe the worst behavior from Brazillian shoppers). Anyway, I was done with my shopping, picked a line and awaited patiently, but then I saw the young man in front of me restlessly looking towards the back of the grocery store. I thought to myself, this is not going to end well. He had his cart in front of me, naturally, when all of a sudden his wife arrives with a packed cart and enters right in front. I politely said that was not OK and they should do that no more in respect of others.

As a Brazillian, I always encourage people to speak out about these type of incidents, since it is very offensive to any individual; you take your time to shop, while somebody else is playing smart on your account. More than once I have politely let people know this is not OK, and my right for picking up a line with a pre-known number of people and items in front of me needs to be respected. Do the same. If you are a foreigner, Brazillians will tend to feel a little bit more ashamed for being called upon their bad behaviour. Or, you just take it easy, seeing it as one more characteristic of Brazillian culture, and be cool about it. Maybe as I grow old here in Brazil, I will just learn to accept this type of behavior, which today I do not.

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