Saturday, September 10, 2011

How to Buy an Air Conditioner in Rio

This is not easy. First, you check the internet, to discover that everyone posts photos of products they can't sell you because they are "sold out." So you must check out brick and mortar stores, which is okay. We're thinking this should take 25 minutes, then lunch, and still leave time to take a walk on the beach or something.

Stop One: Walmart.
The Walmart isn't that far away, and the last time we were here, we saw some air conditioners. We make our way to the section, where perhaps five models are on display. Two look like they should be part of a children's plastic playhouse, and there's no way we're lugging something that cheap home. We settle on one with the right BTUs and a price we can live with and call a salesperson over to help us, because there aren't any on the shelf, just a display model. "We'd like this one, please."

"Oh, we're out."

Cue raised eyebrows and I pretend to translate for hubby. "Okay, well, what about the floor model? We'll take it for a discount."

"It's store policy not to give discounts. Also, we don't sell our display models. Because we don't give discounts."

I'm waiting for him to suggest we order it with them online, or that they can let us know when the new stock comes in and deliver. Nothing.

"So...we should try a different store?" Bemused smile from the man who obviously doesn't work on commission.

My question: Why waste your display model then? Or do the employees get them at the end of the season?

Store #2: Carrefour
Carrefour carries exactly one model of window air conditioner. It is about 12 inches wide and looks like it might chill a cardboard box. We walk around, the long way, to Barra Shopping and try

Store #3: Casa & Video
They are packed, blaring obnoxious music and barely have room to move around, but they have three models, one of which we like and a really reasonable price. We decide to look further, but so far, this is promising.

Store #4: Ricardo Eletro
The salepeople are very insistent, but friendly, and chat with us in English while someone goes to find out the price on the model we want that's not in stock. Their in stock models are 2x what C&V is selling for, but they'll match the price if we bring a flyer. Problem is, they're on the 2nd floor. It's just easier to buy at the store that's right across the corner from the taxi stand...

Stores #5, 6 and 7 were Lojas Americanas (we didn't even enter, that place scares me!), Ponto Frio (pricey!) and Polishop (only the kind you could roll from room to room).

The winner? Casa & Video, of course.

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