Ahhhh...summer travels - you visit new places, some exotic, some chaotic...For me, spending summers in Italy is always a treat. The cities empty, the drivers are psychotic, but thankfully fewer, the season's events always spectacular. But for others, lulled by the non-stop hospitality of faraway places, or just being coddled in places so exotic they forget how going back to reality might just feel...But upon your return, there's always one instance that reminds you that the summer lovin' has been called to an abrupt halt. And in Italy, that usually has something to do with the Post Office, the supermarket, or calling a toll number customer (dis)service line.
A friend who travels back and forth to New York relayed his very own 'Bentornato in Italia' moment. It happened at the swanky Feltrinelli store in Milan's fashionable Galleria. Innocently enough, he breezed in to buy a few cds. The clerk, upon ringing up the sale informed him there were no plastic bags for his purchase. Clearly a laureate of five-star customer service training, indeed, she informed him that he "could just put them in his pockets or something." A look of dismay crossed his face, and after he stated he might have wanted to look around, but perhaps he should only limit his browsing to pocket-sized items, she offered another type of bag for 20 cents.
Clearly not thinking like a local, he said, "If you're out of the regular bags, perhaps you should be giving me that bag for free..." Thinking exactly like a local, she didn't budge.
Refusing to pay for a plastic bag, he then proceeded to try and put items in his jacket pockets without getting stopped by security. As he went on his way, he happened across another cashier. There, he found umpteen bags for the taking.
His American side wanted to perhaps mention to the first cashier that it might be a good idea to ask a manager or a fellow cashier for bags when one went dry, but then, his Italian side kicked in and he just grabbed a bag, shrugged his shoulders and went on home.