It is fun and funny to compare experiences between U.S. and Brazil. Before I left for the U.S., I needed to get some documents notarized. Here is the process I went through…
1. Walked to the notary building (a.k.a. Oficial do Registro Civil das Pessoas Naturais).
2. Saw that the building had been vacated with no forwarding notice.
3. Looked up on my phone where they might have gone without getting my phone stolen.
4. Wandered streets until I found new location.
5. Explained what I needed in Portuguese. Had the agent stare at me blankly. Explained what I needed in Portuguese again. Gave documents at counter with I.D.
6. Sat down and waited.
7. Went back to counter and gave passport.
8. Sat down and waited.
9. Went back to counter and answered random questions.
10. Sat down and waited.
11. Went back to counter, collected documents, paid R$18.
In the U.S., I also needed to get a document notarized. Due to most recent experience in Brazil, I put this off as long as I could. Finally, I went to Citibank, remembering that banks in the U.S. often could notarize documents. Here was the process:
1. Asked the receptionist if there was someone who could notarize my document. She responded that she, in fact, was a notary.
2. Gave her my I.D. and she signed and stamped the document.
3. Asked how much it was and she said there was no charge.
Makes you wonder, why in a country with so much regulation, the process is so much easier.
Next stop was another bank. I posted a few months back about my banking experiences (Payments Predicament & Update: Payments Predicament ) in Brazil. Now, the following made be exclusive to smaller cities/towns in the U.S. because admittedly I never saw this in NYC. Or, banks simply may be desperate for customers these days as many Americans are simply shoving their earnings under their matresses. Here is what I witnessed:
Two bank employees were hanging around the entrance of the bank. As soon as we walked in, they asked us what we needed. I was with my mother, and she simply needed to make a deposit, and she was ushered to the nearest window and was assisted immediately. Another lady came in at the same time. When asked what she needed, she informed the other employee that she need to make a payment. This employee actually plucked the paperwork from her hands, brought it to a waiting agent, and escorted the lady to the window.