Places like São Paulo ought to be the exception of bad service in restaurants and bars. It´s not really a question of bad, but inefficient.
You might have noticed the amazing number of salespeople loitering inside a shop, or the amount of bartenders at a café while the queue seems to get longer and longer.
Service training is (almost) non-existent in Brazil., and could even be considered an innovative aspect of corporate strategy. Companies don´t seem to see the point in training their staff to be more effective. They often spend fortunes on an excessively high number of workers which do not really know what they are supposed to do and how.
The other day I went to the airport. There were 6 people behind the counter and four people desperate for beverages or a cool drink. We all placed our orders and paid at the cashier (another tactic to reduce confusion and surmount the inefficiency of bartenders) and started waving our receipts before thestatic staff. No one moved. Being an ex-bartender myself, I looked at one of the women leaning on the coffee machine and shouted, “two espressos, please.” I then looked at another peeping out of he kitchen door porthole and ordered, “and an orange juice…”
The other customers just looked on and waited (see my post, “Why Brazilians don´t complain,” for more details…)
On another occasion I was in a shopping centre in Florianópolis. We were 6 this time, flagging receipts in the hope of attracting some attention. One of the 6 tenders on the other side of the counter was cleaning the coffee machine (they can sure clean), while the other 5 were trying to take a cake out of its box and place it in the display refrigerator untouched. The man next to me actually laughed.
I sometimes suspect that the high level of company failure and closure is caused by the ineffective and, consequently, excessive number of personnel required to do the job of one (phantom) efficient worker.
What´s really unfair is that efficient workers are often left to pick up the mess (or lack, thereof) of their co-workers, as in the case of a builder/carpenter I know, who has to walk behind his “peers” and correct all their terrible calculation mistakes.
No wonder Palace II fell to the ground….
Brazilians still haven´t mustered the art of investing in personnel training, which is a sad consequence of the bad level of education in Brazil. Unfair, but necessary.