Sunday, November 09, 2003


There is no such thing as a return desk in Italian stores. If there is a problem, or if you don’t like it, too bad. If it is an obvious defect, you will be issued a store credit. We discovered this fact when we bought material and rods for curtains last month. We chose a wrought iron rod for the bedroom, and decided on the one hanging in the middle, or the third down from the top, out of five total. As the rod was being wrapped in a large cardboard tube, the clerks were careful to check for all the necessary parts. Then they began putting stuff in another cardboard tube, and then another, so that we had now had three large cardboard tubes. Art and I both asked repeatedly…”Solo uno?”, and were assured each time, yes it was just one.

I just didn’t have a good feeling about the whole deal. Since I didn’t check in the store, I opened up the tubes as soon as we got home. My only hope was that the hardware to hang the rod was in two of the three tubes. But no. We had three rods, all different. They had given us the first, and the second, and the third rod!!! We knew we would be in for a hard time, so we asked Wendy to meet us at the store the next day. We explained to her that we had both asked repeatedly if it was only one rod, and they had repeatedly assured us that it was. We explained how the misunderstanding must have happened…when we said we wanted rod number three, they thought we wanted the first, second and third rods!!!

Thank goodness Wendy was with us! Of course the store understood the problem, and realized how it had happened. And of course, they were willing to right their wrong. But they wanted to give us a store credit, not a credit to our Visa. We explained that no, we probably wouldn’t spend another 80 euro there, since we had bought the material for all the curtains, as well as chair pads. Then was a long explanation in Italian, and a lot of discussion. They were telling Wendy that if they gave us a cash refund, it would create a problem for their books. They would have to sell 80 euro worth of merchandise and not ring it up. Wendy just gave them that look…the one that says, “Come on guys….like you’ve never done THAT before?” So we got the 80 euro in cash.

Fast forward to last week. We found a complete set of matrimoniale sized flannel sheets for about 24 euro at the IperCoop. What a deal! This morning we changed the sheets, and were going to put the new flannel sheets on. And the bottom sheets even had elastic! Then we started to put the bottom sheet on, and saw that it was for a single bed, or maybe a one and a half person bed. The top sheet was fine. There were two pillowcases. But there was no way this bottom sheet was going to fit our bed. Since it’s Sunday, the IperCoop won’t be open. Monday we need to come back to San Venanzo right after school so that we can see what the problem is with our PostalBank bancomat cards. So, Tuesday after school, we will be at the IperCoop, and will try to explain in broken Italian what the problem is. We really would like to just get another set of the same sheets, and hope they still have some. Watch this space for further developments!


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