Less than three hours drive hugging the coast East out of Rio lies the delightful tourist area of Buzios (don’t pronounce the ‘i’). There are 23 beaches, unspoilt marinas where the local fisherman will fry up the most divine caught-that-morning fish (Chovo & Desugo I think were the names of two I had) and a central shopping and restaurant area that melds the charm of Brazil gone by with modern boutiques. All in all, a great place to spend a few days chillin’ out.
But what happens when you walk into any of the shops? Getting served is a nightmare. Even worse, merely getting noticed is next to impossible. Whether you walk into a local ice cream parlour, or an upmarket clothes store, pretty much every time you do, the same thing happens; the shop assistant is talking on their mobile phone. And not just ‘talking’ like I’m used to, either with earpiece or phone glued to ear. No. Everyone in Brazil seems to use their mobiles as a walkie-talkie. They look like Star Trek extras holding the phone in front of them, speaker on, and using it like a mouthpiece.
At first it was merely amusing, not the kind of thing to wind you up on a few cheeky days of R&R. But once I genuinely lost count of the number of times it happened it was beyond irritating. Several people lost out on my money. And these were places where I would have been quite happy to contribute to their well-being.
Perhaps when high-season arrives these people don’t have to work hard for their money. Yet how can they be satisified with such disregard for possible customers?
You don’t always realise it, but how you field each enquiry has such a massive bearing on the outcome it’s scary. Whatever the equivalent is in your field, don’t be on the phone when someone with cash in their pocket wanders in…