I’ve been in Brazil long enough to know that people here believe “sharing is caring.” One sees this mostly where food is involved. Call me very American if you will but I don’t like sharing (perhaps because I grew up with brothers who used and abused my things without asking).
Regardless, as a young adult, who is on the poorer side of the economic spectrum, I need to know how I’m spending the money I have. Time, in many cases, is also money (in other words, they are both investments). A few months back, I lived in a shared apartment with a few other guys, all adults. Going to the market, finding specific food, paying for it with money I earned, and returning home is all a process and an investment. Nonetheless, various times I would find certain items either missing or half empty, only to find out later that one roommate saw the other (or vice-versa) eating said item. To me, this boggles my mind, especially considering they weren’t friends of mine, just flatmates. If you didn’t buy something with your own money and invest an hour in acquiring that item, keep your hands off it (duh)! Seems so simple, yet it has happened in several places I’ve lived in Brazil where shared common spaces were the norm and 20-35 year olds were involved.
From 0 to 100, where 100 is me being totally understanding of this behavior, I’m pretty much at the 0 point (unless specifically and politely asked for or offered). If you grew up this way (sharing things) in your family home or act this way with really close friends, the more power to you! That’s great you feel that way but that doesn’t mean it applies to people you simply rent rooms to or share common spaces with.
By the way, I am saying this here and, in a polite manner, to the infringers in person. I’m not trying to be an ass, the main point really is that I have to watch what I spend and how I spend it (be it time or money). The secondary, yet equally important point is that I’m an adult and so I respect other people’s things.
I’m not saying this is a Brazilian thing that somehow applies to all Brazilians (I’ve lived with Brazilians who didn’t do this) but I’ve lived with many, many different kinds of people in the US and no one ever used my stuff (without asking permission first).
PS – Andria, in the comments, says it’s an education problem, not a nationality problem. I think she’s right ; ) Though that doesn’t mean the Americans I’ve lived with are educated, per se, rather they must have grown up with same ideas of individualism and respect of personal property that I grew up with.