Ok, not to beat a dead horse (translation for Brazilians: the attempt to continue a conversation or seek a resolution that is futile), but today I had to make two deposits at two different banks. Fellow bloggers had previously given me some good tips (see Update: Payments Predicament), but these weren’t bills with a barcode that I could scan at the auto-teller. I was walking in with emails that included letter-number codes that I couldn’t decipher, but could only hope would be understood by the tellers.
I arrived at the Bradesco on Rua Padre Joao Manuel at 11:05 a.m. There were 11 people in line and appeared to be no one behind the one counter. That was because the ONE teller that was working at the counter had to go into a little partitioned room to conduct each and every transaction. What was this place before it was a bank? A kennel?
I had to quickly take the picture above because I’m quite certain they recognized me from last time I was there and got in trouble for taking a picture. (Weird – see Pink.) The security guard actually came up behind me and looked over my shoulder to see what I was doing, but by that time I had already switched over to pretending to read emails on my phone.
There were three people at customer service desks helping other customers with various, undisclosed tasks. Where was the manager for the Bradesco at 808 Rua Padre Joao Manuel and why wasn’t he monitoring this situation?? Oh, there we was, waddling down the stairs. He took one look around, saw all the people waiting, and high-tailed it back up the stairs. Nice. One of the guys from behind one of the three desks, Ricardo, kept going back into the partitioned teller area, but not helping anyone. There must have been a pile of brigadeiro back there or something.
I did feel bad for the one teller, Eduardo, because he did look awful stressed. There were also a pile of senior citizens waiting to be helped. And Eduardo had to leave his cage and go over to Ricardo’s desk to pick up anything he printed.
My transaction was not complete until 11:42 a.m. This would not fly in the U.S. After 10 minutes of waiting, people start to grumble. Come 15 minutes and a riot begins to form with people threatening to take their business down the street. And these threats work, because people are in line because THEY have accounts at the bank. Most of us were in line because SOMEONE ELSE had an account at this bank and we were making a payment for something we wanted. For me, it was just a birthday cake for my daughter. For others, it was gas or electricity. In fact, I’m guessing no one in line had an account at Bradesco, so threats were futile. Everyone should be aware that in Brazil, there is an additional cost embedded in a product or service you need to pay for directly at the counter of the vendor’s bank. That is the opportunity cost of spending your time in a way that’s more productive than standing in line. Be sure to negotiate appropriately with these vendors.
I arrived at the second bank, Itau, at 11:50 a.m. I had better luck there. I think it was because Itau was undergoing some heavy renovations and it didn’t even look open. Itau did have a helpful sign on the teller window alerting patrons to when and why lines might be longer at times. I asked my teller if I could take a picture of the information sign, but he explained, as I had guessed, that photography was absolutely not allowed in the bank. But he did tell me, only after I asked, that the information was available on the website.
My transaction at Itau was complete at 12:02 p.m. And I was grateful.
(See original post: bank vs. banco)