On cheese and email

A few months ago I found a half-decent cheese in Manaus. I was so happy (this is not dairy country, so one can’t expect much in the way of decent dairy stuff), I dashed off an email to the producer to congratulate them.  I wasn’t expecting free cheese for life or anything, but I guess I must have been expecting at least a thank you email – even an autoresponse like “Your message has been received…” or something – because I found, after a few weeks of silence, that actually I was quite irritated by the blatant disregard for me and my important communication. Feeling irked and quite childish, I banged off a few more positive feedback emails to other companies and government agencies in Brazil…and once again was underwhelmed by the response (zero responses to six emails, I think). It was hard to credit: here was the great Clive Maguire, after all, doling out his valuable commendations, and he was being completely ignored. I ask you..

I pondered the problem for a while before other things flushed the email issue from my mind.  Recently, however, I’ve had cause to try to contact various companies and agencies in Brazil again, and am finding that my earlier experience was not a blip – not some post-Christmas email blackout or something. It seems that Brazilian companies, or their staff, as a rule  just don’t respond to emails. You might as well save your bandwidth. They obviously prefer phonecalls or personal calls. All well and good, except that half the time the telephone numbers they publish don’t work, or are fax numbers. And the levels of inaccessibility of people if you try to track them down physically are often mind boggling. So what is it with Brazilians and emails, is what I want to know. Why do they seem unable to respond to any email, on any subject? Paraphrasing (heavily) some of my recent emails, we have

“Dear John, can I deposit R$28,000 cash in your agency?”

“Dear Janet, I’m interested in hiring your company. Can you give me further details of your service?”

“Dear Customer Information person, I would like further customer information on your advertised product.”

and even

“Dear Mildred, can I book a night at your hotel?”

…none of which elicited so much as an automated response.

So, what am I doing wrong? What is it with you people? Is there a secret password? “Dear John, DIB DIB DIB, can I give you some money?” perhaps?

Come on – fora de brincadeira – what’s going on? Someone enlighten me, please….


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