Italian businesses have frustrated me countless times, especially phone service companies. When I’m upset or frustrated, I hardly ever get a response or even feel like I’m valued. Even when I’m not frustrated people just don’t try to keep me happy.
Take the grocery store for example. If I’m checking out at HEB, usually the cashier will be peppy or at least have strength in their movements. They’ll ring me up with some sort of motivation or hast. At the grocery stores here, half the time it’ll just be an employee going through the motions. You might write it off as, “Yeah of course, that’s how that are everywhere actually.” But here it’s more than just going through the motions. They go slow, they give me the limp arm, as they ever so slowly scan the groceries and plop (not place, just carelessly “plop”) my items on the counter. They look at me, expecting me to just leave my money on the counter and get out of their face, instead I always have to pay by card. This gets me a lot of glares, especially when they realize I have a foreign card and they have to press one extra button.
Whenever I do get a good customer experience, it really has a huge effect on me. I smile, in disbelief, and it really brightens up my whole day. I was walking with my friend Anna to the Armani Silos exhibit, when we passed a store that caught her eye. They were selling purses: leather and ones with fur. We decided to go in and see if the fur was real. It was. Dyed fur, but still real, from the leather hide of the animal. She really liked one and eventually decided to buy one, they weren’t too pricey.
The guy manning the store was really friendly, helping us when needed, and giving us good information. I had some trouble opening a particular clutch and after a few minutes of all us fiddling around, he finally figured it out. She bought the bag and looked around some more while he packaged it. It was a local shop and the sack didn’t have any branding, so he got out his marker set. He drew on the bag, representing their little shop through colors and art. He took his time, and he did it with a smile in his eyes. On the way out the door he gave both of us little furry keychains. That was the icing on the cake.
We walked out the door extremely satisfied. I was in shock about how kind that man was. Even without the free gift, his smile was so unusual for someone working a job in Italy. If you want to check out the shop, I took a photo of the business card. It’s a nice, affordable bag shop in Milan, near the Porta Genova stop. Check it out.