Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Culture Shock from Across the Border

All of us, Brazilian and foreigners alike, know that a trip to the bank in Brazil is a pain in the ass. Heaven forbid you actually try to open a bank account as a foreigner! You'll be asked to jump threw hoops of fire, ice, and possibly rabid bums.  You really never know.

Imagine the shock my ex-student, and now proud LEGAL Canadian resident, felt when he went into the bank and opened an account with no problem.

Honestly, I had long forgotten how it is to open an account N. America, but when I think about it, it is one thing our banks do well. That, and charge us extra fees and take our money, thus the desire to open new accounts.

My student was shocked as he was ushered over to a nice desk right away, when he got to meet the bank manager, and when the manager asked him if the service was ok.  Say what? The bank manager cares if I am pleased with their service?!

Yes our new Canadian resident, they do.  Everyone does. This little thing is called costumer service.  It's all the rage up north.  It's a combination of salesperson desperation, commission incentives, and North Americans need to have their egos stroked.

And it rocks! There is nothing like having a salesperson actually listen to you and, get this, try to help.  It's amazing. And if you aren't satisfied, they actually attempt to fix it, most of the time anyway.  And return policies... you can always argue return policies.

I will say, customer service is a service I really miss and now my student knows why.  After his banking experience, he called his wife to exclaim that she should have been there! She should have seen how much easier their life was going to be!

That's the funny thing about being an ex-Pat, you never know what will bring you to the other side. Personally, I'm not quite ready to give up on Rio just because I needed to have two official copies of pictures of my left ass cheek just to open a savings account, among other things.  I still find other parts of the grass down here a little greener.


  1. For me, overall the grass is greener - but I will never understand why places that require copies of things do not have a copy machine on site. Heck - I am perfectly willing to pay double the cost of a simple copy if you can do it for me right here. But no. You must leave the office, seek out a copy providing business, get your 10 cent copy, then return to the original office and get back in line.

    This is crazy to me.

  2. I agree. Because of the hassle I've totally forgone opening an account altogether.

    Haha rach, just want to give you props on how politically correct and EQUALLY critical your last two blogs were.

    Take that anonymous!