Below behold a photo of one cent, or um centavo, in Portuguese. It is worth less than half a penny in American currency. I had to ask for it. The man behind the cash register was not going to give it to me.
My total tab was 2.99. That is two reals and ninety-nine cents, or dois reais noventa e nove centavos, in Portuguese.
The owner of Fenix panificadoria, or Fenix Bakery, took my three reals and did not offer me any change. Only after asking for my change–my one cent that he owed me–did he give it to me. My friend Luciana read in the Gazeta do Povo that Brazilians lose 35 reals each year, because greedy vendors do not give them all their change. Carole, another Brazilian, says that vendors are programmed to take advantage of the public. But some stores, such as the huge supermarket chain Mercadorama, often give change in the customer’s favor.
Maybe they do this because they know your are pissed from having to stand so long in line.