When I enter a shop in Italy, the experience is far different from my frustrating encounters with the fraud Italian services business.
This morning, I went to a coffee bar for my typical Italian breakfast, and they greeted me as if I was a long lost friend returning after years of absence. They prepared a coffee for me, as a work of love and served it with a smile that would make your heart melt.
Ok I admit, the lady likes me, but hey...
I passed by the newspaper stand. The lady greets me with "Ciao caro! Where are you rushing to? You seem so much in a hurry? How are you doing?".
I have only met her twice in my life.
Dropping by the local supermarket, every single employee greets me with "Buongiorno! Come stai?" even as they pass me, while I am looking at the racks of pommodore sauce. (the supermarket has about 10 racks. One is entirely reserved for tomato sauce, one for olive oil, two for pastas).
And the service is expanded to a level foreigners might get annoyed (I'm not). Like when I was asking for "that piece of Gorgonzola cheese" (pointing with finger), and the guy behind the counter grinned and shook his head: "I will give you this one, much better!", without even asking me.
When I ordered 400 grams of "prosciutto crudo di Parma" (raw ham), he cuts me 580 grams. Does not even ask me "Ok if it would be a bit more?". He did say "This ham is really good, look at the texture, it is just right!"
Last time, I ordered prosciutto, the lady countered: "400 grams??!? Are you sure? That is a lot!". I said I was sure, and a discussion started between both ladies behind the counter. They agreed to "wrap it in two separate packs, so it stays fresh for longer, as he will not eat it all at once!", while their smiles reminding me of my mum's.
Ok, I have to admit, they both like me. The ladies behind the counter I mean. Well, my mum likes me too, but that is not what I meant.
The language barrier is hampering a more intimate exchange of information, though. Laura from the coffee shop downstairs always gives me the best of smiles, as if saying "I know
that you know that I am thinking "I wished I knew enough English to have a decent conversation with him".
I think she likes me too.
More posts about living in Italy