All about numbers.

10 10 2007

In a country that does not make or use 1-cent coins, why, when I buy bug spray that costs R$5,17 and plop down a R$10 bill, do they bother asking me if I have the seventeen cents? The answer is clearly ‘no.’ And upon giving them, instead, twenty cents, why do they give me back five cents? I’m no math whiz, clearly, but isn’t someone losing out on this transaction somewhere? In the cab the other day, the fare cost R$17,00. I paid with a twenty. The driver didn’t have three reais for change, so he just gave me two. People! We are not trading stickers or pretty colored pieces of paper with animals and numbers on them! This is money! And yeah, I know, five cents here and one real there, whatever. But it adds up!

I have lived here for over a year and I still can’t wrap my brain around certain behaviors. I’ve managed to deal with the toilet paper, but I can’t quite get a grasp on the money thing.

(Links about “the toilet paper”: click here and here.)


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10 responses

10 10 2007
Jennie

Oh, that would drive me CRAZY, and not just because I’m an accountant.

10 10 2007
Catherine

I think you need to find some new ways to stick it to the man! You DEFINITELY shouldn’t tolerate THAT!

10 10 2007
Nilsa S.

Toilet paper? I must have missed that one. You’ll definitely have to provide a link back – pretty please!

One cent here, a quarter there definitely adds up. You should see my loose change jar at home!

10 10 2007
ginacoggio

It DOES drive me crazy! But I’m not sure I feel justified sticking it to The Man because he’s not MY man, as in “I’m Just Visiting” the country where The Man rules. I always feel more comfortable sticking it to The Man in the States because I have the right to do it there.

10 10 2007
Davis

Can you believe trying that in NYC with a Cabby? In Vermont, people might not notice because we still pay for things in fruit, veggies and maple syrup. Kristin once went to Mings and the guy couldn’t make change and had her do it. She had to go and pull money out of the cash register. I figured that could have been a quick way to have a European vacation. But alas, she was a good girl.

10 10 2007
luanaspider

Oh!!!!! that explains why you wanted money for the teachers day!!!

just kidding

But eventhough if he doesn’t have the money he should have given you more, not less. What if he was lying to you and he just wanted the money. Even if he didn’t have the money, it is the same thing as stealing.

10 10 2007
Catherine

But Gina, THE MAN is EVERYWHERE. He’s the SAME Man no matter where you go. The Man has the ability to speak ALL languages and morph into ANYTHING! He’s very tricky. So tricky, in fact, that he’s fooling even YOU! Don’t let him get away with that.

11 10 2007
Susan

So true Gina about being a visitor…seems harder when that’s the case. BUT it would drive me NUTS!
I love me some soft tooley paper althought it does seems wasteful.

11 10 2007
sangroncito

The money thing drives me crazy, too. There`s always a shortage of change. In Bahia a 50 reais note might as well be a million reais. And I never have any small change because people are always asking me for it for some reason…the bus, a telephone card, a cigarette, anything, and I`m such I sucker I give it to them and then have no coins or small bills for myself. And don`t get me started on prices….tomorrow is dia da crianca and you can`t believe the prices for small cheap plastic toys imported from China that wouldn`t even cost 99 cents in the U.S….I just dont understand how all my minimum wage neighbors living on 380 reais a month (or less, because here half a minumum wage is common) afford even toilet paper!

15 10 2007
ginacoggio

Just this morning, my friend paid for a cab ride with a 50-reais note. Took the driver about four minutes to figure out the change after asking me if I had a 2-reais note. It’s just incredible here, the inefficiency. And you’re right about the cost of stupid things! Anything plastic is extraordinarily expensive–doesn’t matter what. A soap dish is something like R$17,00! RIDICULOUS!

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