Shopping in Brazil

6 de January de 2014

What’s it like to go shopping in Brazil?

Have you ever been to Brazil? Wait, let me rephrase that! Have you ever been shopping in Brazil? Today’s Dica is all about that! After all, once you land in Rio de Janeiro, you’ve got to know how to go about buying the things that you want, right? And for the right price, too!

Getting a Good Deal

Brazilians aren’t really born-hagglers, but that doesn’t mean they’ll miss out on a discount. It’s important to keep in mind your basic Brazilian etiquette rules, though. And it’s very plain and simple: if you’re at an open air market or street stall, haggling is not only okay but very common. Do you really think everyone wants to pay full price when out and about? So if you really feel that those earrings aren’t worth forty reais, go ahead and ask for a discount, or even suggest a different price. No one will take offense! Shopping in Rio de Janeiro is beginning to sound more fun, isn’t it?

When you’re in a shopping mall, however, shopping in Brazil becomes a little bit more boring and tame. Haggling is not common in these situations, however, there are a couple exceptions: cash and à vista. But what does that really mean? Simply put, if you pay in cash, or you pay everything in one go (especially if you’re making an expensive purchase), you usually have the right to a discount. This can be anything from 5% up to 15% even, depending on the store and the purchase. And this discount is usually negotiable, as well.

Other Options When Shopping in Brazil

If you’re not paying the full price in one go (à vista) the alternative is to pay for your purchase in installments. Paying in installments is a very common practice for Brazilians, especially if the price is high. And most stores offer the possibility to pay in installments without any interest added, that is, without paying any additional value on top of the original price of the product.

We even have an expression for it that is essentially a word play with à vista – pagar a perder de vista. That is, instead of paying à vista (in sight), you’d be paying in installments that make you lose sight of the actual money you spend. This expression is especially used when you choose to pay for something in installments that are very low, say forty reais a month, instead of something that will weigh on your bank account.

But hey, keep in mind that you may still find some with interest rates! Each purchase and store follows a different rule. So just because you got to pay for your new clothes in Farm in four interest-free installments, it doesn’t mean that you can do the same for your new fridge, for example. That’s something you’ve got to ask the salespeople when shopping in Brazil!

Some Vocabulary for When You’re Shopping in Brazil

Alright, alright, so you’re ready to go on your shopping spree. How do you say those things in Portuguese? We have a couple shopping expressions in Portuguese ready for you to listen to and try out, and some payment methods too. Just knowing how to say buy in Portuguese won’t be enough! After all, it won’t help you inquire about possible discounts and installment deals. Check it out:

desconto discount
pechinchar to haggle
pagar à vista to pay in one single transaction
parcelar / pagar a prazo to pay in installments
promoção sales
estar na promoção to be on sale

Now let’s see how those words and expressions can be used in practice!

Dialogue in a Street Market

Vendedor: Oi, tudo bem? Gostou de alguma coisa?
Cliente: Sim, gostei desses brincos. Sabe me dizer quanto custam?
Vendedor: São quarenta reais.
Cliente: Hmm… Não sei. Não rola um desconto, não?
Vendedor: Não sei. Quanto você estava pensando?
Cliente: Que tal vinte?
Vendedor: Vinte não dá. Mas fecho em trinta para você.
Cliente: Tá ótimo. Vou comprar!

Salesman: Hi, how are you? Are you interested in something?
Client: Yes, I like those earrings. Can you tell me how much they cost?
Salesman: They’re forty reais.
Client: Hmm… I don’t know. Can I not get a discount?
Salesman: I don’t know. How much were you thinking?
Client: How about twenty?
Salesman: Twenty is not possible. But I could do thirty for you.
Client: That’s great. I’ll buy them!

Dialogue of Single Payment Purchase

Vendedor: Olá, posso ajudar?
Cliente: Oi. Quero comprar duas passagens para São Paulo.
Vendedor: São trezentos reais. Qual vai ser a forma de pagamento?
Cliente: Quero pagar à vista.
Vendedor: Ótimo. Nesse caso, você tem cinco por cento de desconto.

Salesman: Hello, may I help you?
Client: Hi. I want to buy two tickets to São Paulo.
Salesman: That’s three hundred reais. What’s the payment method?
Client: I want to pay it all now.
Salesman: Great. In that case, you get a five percent discount.

Dialogue in a Shopping Mall

Vendedor: Boa tarde! Posso ajudar?
Cliente: Oi, pode sim. Quero comprar esta TV. Quanto custa?
Vendedor: É uma ótima TV. Tá em promoção, até. Ela está saindo por mil e quinhentos reais.
Cliente: Tudo bem, quero passar no cartão.
Vendedor: Qual vai ser a forma de pagamento, crédito ou débito?
Cliente: Depende, tem desconto se eu pagar à vista?
Vendedor: Claro! A gente dá um desconto de cinco por cento para pagamentos à vista, e dez se for em dinheiro, também.
Cliente: Dinheiro eu não vou ter agora. Mas cinco por cento não vale a pena, não. Prefiro parcelar mesmo. Como ficam as parcelas?
Vendedor: Você pode dividir o pagamento em até dez vezes sem juros.
Cliente: Tudo bem.

Salesman: Good afternoon! May I help you?
Client: Hi, yes you can. I want to buy this TV. How much is it?
Salesman: It is a great TV. It’s on sale actually. Right now it costs one thousand five hundred reais.
Client: All right, then. I’ll pay by card.
Salesman: Which form of payment? Credit or debit?
 It depends. Is there any discount if I pay all now?
Salesman: Of course! We give you a discount of five percent if you pay it in one go, and ten percent if it’s cash.
Client: I don’t have cash on me right now. But five percent isn’t worth it. I prefer to pay in installments then. How does that work?
You can split the payment in up to ten installments with no interest.
Client: Good.

That’s it for today, everyone! How are your haggling skills? Maybe we should practice haggling during our online Portuguese course. That sure sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Is it common to haggle in your country? Tell us about it in the comments!
See you in the next Dica!

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Click on the links below to see more related Dicas:
Shopping in Portuguese
Buy in Portuguese
Shop in Portuguese (with a recorded dialogue!)
Shopping in Rio de Janeiro