“Shopping in Brazil before the late 19th century meant facing a Portuguese immigrant, almost always serious, standing behind a counter, demanding guarantees to grant credit. Around the 1880s, however, common men carrying bags full of fabric, thread and lace started knocking on the doors of Brazilians.
They spoke little Portuguese and were always ready to lower the prices of products and to accept payment in installments, as they would return later.
They were the Arab immigrants who, without planning it, brought innovation to the activity they chose as their breadwinner in Brazil, trade.
“They brought a breath of fresh air to trade in Brazil – marked by the Portuguese traditionalism – with credit, discounts, and stock flow. Trade was reinvented,” said Oswaldo Truzzi, a professor at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) and author of book “Patricians – Syrians and Lebanese in São Paulo.”
As they carried their merchandise, they could not walk and walk, selling nothing. “So they sold in installments, gave discounts and traded,” said the professor.” – Source (more)