Last week the two of us took advantage of our days off from teaching and cheerfully skipped off to the post office to mail a package filled with sweets, pasta and a Venetian mask Christmas ornament to dear ‘ol Mom and Dad. After getting pushed, yelled at and redirected to new windows at every turn, we left the office in a sour mood.
The Italian post office is set up exactly like the American DMV. There are long lines of counters with flashing electronic ticker numbers and you have to visit a ticket machine to get a space in line. As foreigners we were completely lost as to which button to press so we went with “buy postage”.
We waited to hear eager to hear, “We are now calling: P-0-4-7 at window number three” and we ran over to a teller who immediately shooed us away and said, “postage, window two”. We tried to explain we didn’t want postage, we wanted to send a box, but a new Italian woman had already pushed her way up to the counter and made it clear through finger shaking and a slight shove that we were NOT going to snatch her spot in line.
We finally located a room where we could purchase boxes for mailing and we went through three more lines before we finally made it to a woman who accepted our package and sent it n its way. Overall the trip was a 30 euro annoyance, but Mom and Dad will have their pasta! Perrin and I will NOT return to an Italian post office again and our parents will have to suffice with digital images of our journey.
Tip for future visits: Find a box first; Ask someone which ticket option you need before waiting in line.