Monday, November 26, 2007

the rotten apple

I wouldn't eat that if I were you


Do I remember why I couldn't bear to live in Italy one more day by the time I left? The land of poets and artists, the place that so many people dream about?



We cut off our telephone service (if you can even call it service) in our former home in June. We had no telephone line for the last few weeks we lived there. Cutting off our service was like most things in Italy, akin to having your wisdom teeth removed, and required long phone waiting times and various faxes. (Yes, I said faxes).



The beauty of this is that a phone bill recently arrived in our Italian PO box, a phone bill for the new services we apparently subscribed to in October. This would almost be funny if it weren't so common in Italy. Legal robbery, no one accountable, frustration and fury.



My mother-in-law, widowed in July, is still trying valiantly to redeem 10,000 Euros from the bank account she shared with her husband. Apparently the fax of the photocopy of her ID card wasn't legible. She is 71 and just lost her husband of 50 years.



There is a beautiful golden apple, so shiny and succulent, so aromatic and perfect, that once cut open is crawling with worms. Rotten to the core. That's Italy. The bel paese.

11 comments:

Goofball said...

wow, that is so sad. But Italy is indeed known as a corrupt and inefficient country. Your stories sound like Kafka.

But unfortunately Belgium is not free of it either! Now and then our own corruption scandals light up, I myself have been struggling getting rid of an ADSL subscription I never asked for, ...

Pffff, extremely frustrating!

Goofball said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm so sorry about the craziness there, and particularly what your MIL is experiencing.

I'm afraid those kinds of things can occasionally crop up in the states, too. We keep getting billed by a certain company for services we didn't order and then we get it straightened out, over hours, only to have the same thing happen the following month.

The difference, I guess is that here it tends to be the exception, rather than the norm.

Fourier Analyst said...

The sad part is that this nonsense is not just limited to Italy. I am afraid that at some point soon you may encounter similar frustrations in the US. (sigh)

But still there is less monopoly and more competition so you have a better chance at getting service!

Jennifer said...

I think those things can happen anywhere. The difference is that in the States you are surprised if you don't get a great customer service rep on the phone who fixes the problem, while in Italy you are surprised if you do.

jennifer said...

OK- I was pissed off when I wrote this post. But I must say that my years in Italy wore me down with frustration over trying to carve out a life in such a maze of irresponsibility
and apathy. These things may happen anywhere, but in Italy they happen as a rule, and no one is ever held accountable. This morning I was aggrivated on behalf of my MIL and myself, but these two pithy examples are nothing in comparison to the big stuff. I like goofball's (I have trouble calling you that!) Kafka analogy.
Anyway- I'm calm now... phew!

anno said...

The kind of bureaucratic evils and casual abuse of power you describe here make me seethe -- here in the States, I've run into it most with insurance companies. It's why I occasionally wish I were a lawyer or carried a badge. Grrr.

jen said...

but you write it like poetry, friend.

Kataroma said...

You summed it up perfectly. :(

Of course other 1st world countries have these problems occasionally but here it's on another level entirely.

Ambra Celeste said...

Well spoken, succinct and truthful. Bravissima! I sure wish it weren't this way though...

signor said...

esagerata