I’ll admit, I’m a tough customer. My first career was in hospitality and I know what it takes to deliver a good customer experience, and I know what makes one fail.
On Wednesday, Day 151 of my challenge to be a bit more brave in my Brazilian world, I got pretty pissed off. I had organized a group lunch for the INC – International Newcomers Club – an organization that is, in my opinion, important to expat survival in Sao Paulo. The restaurant and I had exchanged a number of emails. I believe I had made it very clear that in exchange for bringing about 20 patrons into their establishment, we would need to have separate checks. However, after the meal, the restaurant began to tell the group that they in fact could not manage this.
Listen, I know that one of my competitive advantages is that I can win an argument. Especially with a vendor. During the most recent stage of my career, I had to debate and negotiate on a regular basis. When it came to being the client, I most often got what I thought was fair.
However, up until now, I was not confident enough in my Portuguese to win a fight in Sao Paulo. But day 151, I managed.
Everyone paid on their own. Which is what I thought was fair. Did I instill a sense of fear and resentment upon the restaurant manager and waiters? Sure. But I made my case and won it in Portuguese, even if it was on a small scale.
Who knows what battles my future holds?