If there is one thing you can expect to encounter in Brazil it is lines. Now these may be the kinds of lines you are used to, or maybe they aren’t, but the lines I am addressing here are particular to supermarkets.
So, you are out of food, toilet paper, cerveja, chokito, nudie mags, whatever and you go to the local supermarket to replenish whatever it is that you are missing. Good idea, that is what I would do too. Unfortunately, you did not realize that when you told your friends, “I’ll be back in a jiffy” (aka the time it takes light to travel one centimeter), that you did not realize what going to the market in Brazil entails.
After retrieving your desired items from their places of storage within the loja, you proceed to the register and encounter the lines.
Now comes the all important decision: which line to get in.
Maybe the one with the fewest people – but no, that would be too easy. So maybe you go for the one with the fewest number of items, maybe you guess which checker shows the most promise or maybe you just say “fuck it” and walk out without buying anything (yes, I have done this a few times in Brazil, it can be that bad).
Finally selecting a line you look around and see the faces of your fellow line-waiters to discover that everyone looks absolutely miserable, but strangely, everyone also appears to be content with the situation.
You think, “where is that angry bitch who yells at employees to, ‘get more cashiers up here’ (as if they are just on reserve in the back waiting to be called – seriously, fuck that lady)”?
You wonder where the impatient grunts, scoffs and equally obnoxious noises people love to make whilst waiting. But now that I think about it, I hate all those things so I don’t really know what I am complaining about.
So you get to the register and about 40% of the time you will find someone bagging; when there is no bagger the cashier scans your items and the bags each one after scanning.
A minority of markets have the magical moving sidewalk for your products, but of those that do, an even smaller minority chooses to utilize them.
Now the person in front of you will have all their items at the back of the item shelf (or magic item sidewalk should you be so lucky), and they will refuse to move them up towards the cashier until the person in front of them has paid and left.
Then it is finally your turn, and if you haven’t left at this point (approximately 20-30 minutes in), congratulations, you now get to purchase your items.
You didn’t want that item the clerk accidentally scanned? Alright hold on, let them call their manager over to void that one item from the transaction. Now shut up and bag your belongings.
Paper or plastic? You will get plastic and like it, Brazil doesn’t fuck with that paper shit.