Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ALL CHANGE AT THE POSTA

Most of you know of my antipathy towards the Italian Post Office and James and Tuscan Tony have had similar experiences where they are. But I must say that I went into the Sorda branch today and found it much improved: more staff were on duty, air conditioning has been installed and enough seats have been placed around the walls for everyone who wants or needs to sit to be able to do so. If it’s not stiflingly hot and I can sit I don’t mind the wait as I can pass the time happily people-watching.

There is now a machine near the door from which you take a numbered ticket as you enter so there is no longer any jostling or surreptitious elbowing in a long queue [though I suspect that there still is some at 8 am when the place opens, in order to get to the machine!] This morning my ticket was number 106 and the display board was showing 89 when I sat down. But the numbers in between came up really quickly as the holders of tickets 90 - 95 and 100 – 104 were nowhere to be seen. Sicilians will just say “pazienza” , go away and come back tomorrow if they realise they will not be served for some time, whilst I, as a Brit., feel honour-bound to wait it out. In addition to this – I could hardly believe my eyes – two postage counters and three banco posta counters were open! So it took me only 30 minutes to pay a bill.

When I went there on a similar errand last week, one of the clerks remarked, “You’re the lady with the dog, aren’t you? We see you passing every day and we laugh when the dog barks at the motorbikes.” So it seems that Simi has cheered up some routine days for the staff! That particular clerk waves at us cheerfully whenever she sees us go by now. This morning all the clerks were smiling and I’m thinking it could be that they’ve had a holiday; it could be the effect of the air conditioning and the nicer surroundings they are now working in; but I like to imagine that it’s this conversation about the dog that has “humanised” me in their eyes: I know I can appear quite cool and unapproachable when I am irritated and my lack of pazienza in there must have shown in the past. What a leveller a dog is!

17 comments:

PinkAcorn said...

Do you have to pay your bills in cash? You can't just put them in a mail slot at the Post Office? Geesh, and here I am all irritated when I wait more than 10 minutes in line!!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, pink. No, no mail slots. Most of my bill payments go out on direct debit from the bank but every now and then one arrives which needs to be paid at the PO.

Winchester whisperer said...

Love my dog, love me....or something like that

Ellee Seymour said...

Give Simi a hug from me, but I'm sure you were noticed too for your blonde bombshell hair, red lipstick and very style shoes.

It's very cold and miserable here, btw, just about to book my ticket for some Sicilian sun, sea and,...whatever comes next ;-)p

Sir James Beiggelschwarz said...

I just love the bit about Simi barking at the motorbikes.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I have just done so, Ellee, and Simi sends kissies and wags back. I'm sure I was picked out 'cos I just happened to be there! We are sweltering here again today but it can't last much longer. Are you really coming to Sicily? Hi, James. She wants a ride on one, you see! I tell her, in English and Italian, "You cannot go on that bike so stop it!" and for some inexplicable reason, the riders laugh at us!

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

WE have these little lights that flash up and tell you which counter is free and announce 'number three' please.
It's always the counter with the new starter...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, Crushed. It would be, wouldn't it?!

jmb said...

Ah the Italian Post office. But it sounds as if things are improving there and a number system is definitely a step-up.
Doesn't it feel nice to become part of the in crowd, even if it is the postal workers.
regards
jmb

Chris said...

Didn't you know? There's an international school where they all go to learn how to treat customers with that special blend of surliness and patronising contempt that only post office clerks can manage. But at least it seems that they're kind to animals.

Lee said...

Simi's a little star!

The numbering system might help in the patience department from now on at the PO...let's hope so. I'd be going crazy! I have no patience when it comes to queuing! Hence I do the majority of my bill paying and banking via the internet these days! ;)

Will B said...

Hurrah for drastic improvements in service! I suspect it was the air con and the general niceness (I am not sure that's a word, but I've been up all night..) of the place. Good working conditions makes good workers which in turn breeds good customer service! I wish they'd have listened to that at my last job. Ha.

Tuscan Tony said...

According to Mrs Tuscan, the situation has been worsened here by the numbers - everyone grabs their one, sits down, relaxes and starts chatting and then huge confusion as numbers get missed etc. You can't win in Tuscany!

Stan! said...

Most banks and public institutions in Turkey have recently adopted this practice of getting a ticket and waiting your turn. It is, of course, a major improvment on the riotous scenes that formerly used to greet ones eyes on entry to a Turkish bank. I remember fights breaking out on occassion in the old days, the Police being called in, etc....I naturally used to retain a stiff upper lip at all times.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, WW. Quite so. Jmb, yes, it makes you feel accepted. Hi, Chris. That explains it then! Ciao, Lee. Simi says thank you. It would drive you barmy here! Hello, Will. Yes, you'd think management would grasp that, wouldn't you? But so often they don't and they lose by it. Hi, TT. I can just imagine it! Gosh, stan! Fancy the police being called! There have been occasions of near riot here but the Sicilians just don't have the energy for it in the end.

Girl on the Run... said...

Well you know Simi is so cute and all of course she would make anyone happy!

Glad to see the post is getting better! The post sounds like Motor Vehicles here. You have absolutely no patience for any of it but have to do it no matter what.

Hope your both doing great. The reports on the heat seem to be unbearable! Wish I could send you both a cool breeze!!

M

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Simi is wagging her tail in agreement, M! Just hoping the improved service at the PO stays that way! Thanks again for your goos wishes.

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