Thursday, June 14, 2007

"just forget it"

After teaching tonight, a group of Brazilians and volunteers went to a pizza place in the favela. The food was fine, except for the fact that the pizza didn't have tomato sauce. Instead, ketchup is their tomato sauce and you just put it on top.

But the interesting thing is when the bill came. We had ordered two pizzas, garlic bread, fried cheese (which is what they call mozzarella sticks. To me ours sounds a lot more appetizing), and various drinks. But the waiter left off one of the pizzas.

We thought this might be an error. I organized the billing (which besides making it easier on the group let's me put any cash on my credit card and thus use my card as a discount ATM), and told the waiter to just put the extra pizza on my card. At first we thought he just had a separate bill. Then we thought he wanted us to pay cash instead of put it on the card. Then we realized he was leaving it off the bill and hinting to us to tip him part of the value of the pizza instead.

Corruption doesn't just happen in the government.

So his employer lost the $10, the waiter kept $5 of it and we kept the other $5.

As we walked out, I looked over at the owner and wondered if he knew it.

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