Once again, I am just back from a supermarket and once again, my pazienza has been sorely tried: This time it was a supermarket that I don't usually go to, but as they have certain offers on this week and a friend had offered me a lift, tonight I went there.
I hadn't intended to buy a doormat but I do need one, so when I saw a very cheap and jolly specimen I picked it up, only to be told, at the cash desk, that it couldn't be sold until tomorrow. I asked why, in that case, it was on display and the response was a shrug. I asked for the manager, who only repeated that the item could not be sold tonight,"because it won't pass through the system" so I asked if it could be put aside for me until tomorrow. The answer, again, was "No". I found this unhelpful to say the least and I'm also British enough to expect to hear the words "I'm sorry" but what flabbergasted me was that my Italian friend thought it was all perfectly acceptable.
The first time I came to Italy, in 1969, one of the reasons I thought it was a wonderful country was that service standards were so high compared to those of the UK at that time. It remains a wonderful country in many ways and you can still find excellent service in some sectors, particularly in bars and restaurants, pasticcerie, small shops and when dealing with most craftsmen. But in the intervening years, the rest of the world has moved on where Italy has not and service standards in some supermarkets leave a lot to be desired. [I'm not even going to start on post offices this evening!] This is sad in a country that was once so proud of its tradition of good service and in these economic times Italy cannot afford to be uncompetitive.
I have now decided that I am not going to be a doormat even if I can't get one and have just taken the supermarket chain in question to task on twitter. Needless to say, no reply has yet been receieved.