Sunday, July 26

Business Weak

A friend of mine recently gave me a fabulous hairbrush – so fabulous, I thought it came from a top salon. Turns out it came from The Euro Store – that Italian reproduction of the Dollar Store, except that everything’s $1.42 (at today’s exchange rate). But, funny thing about the euro store in Rome – the one near Piazza San Silvestro decided to improve on the dollar store – and go not one, but two better: His store is called the €1 €2 €3 store. So much for containing costs in a global recession.

Rome and the Province have been pretty busy busting up mafia organizations all around town. This month we heard that they’ve confiscated 328 properties owned by mafia ties (or their so-called, prestanomi – basically, unemployed people from the south with clean records who seemingly amass small fortunes overnight and buy prime real estate around the country).
So, with city funds low and operating costs high, what do they do with the property? Sell them at the amazingly high market prices? Naw….they want to turn them into various city buildings…uhhhh—basically making them cash bleeders, not givers. I guess even humble city clerks still want to stamp their cards under frescoed ceilings.

Along with their bust of haughty establishments like the Via Veneto's Caffè du Paris, (the swanky bar was closed for their money-laundering activities) – only to reopen a few hours later. Granted, that was to establish the City as officially governing their monies but still…

America just went to Digital TV. The government has offered coupons of sorts so you do not end up as roadkill on the digital highway. TV converter boxes usually cost between $40 and $80. Each U.S. household may request up to two $40 coupons to help pay for the cost of converter boxes.

In Italy, they’ve done the same thing. All you need is to purchase a simple decoder – the most economic – inappropriately called “ Zapper” (word used to mean switching from station to station, obviously due to the exceptional programming) – yours for only 100 to 200 euro ($142 - $284). You can even get a more interactive unit at the special price of only 250 to 350 euro ($355 to $500)!
But, not to despair, you can receive your own rebate of 150 euro per user! But before you rejoice, read the fine print: the Zapper is excluded from the rebate program. And, don’t forget: You better have your RAI subscription (107.50 euro) intact and up to date.
One thing I have to look forward to: If I’m over 65, I can get 50 euro off (but by then, will we even have Tvs?) And, when I reach 75, I don’t even have to pay the RAI shakedown!
Let’s hope there will be no more RAI by then.

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