Yesterday I had to go to Gubbio, a glorious beautifully preserved medieval city. It is the nearest town to Bellaugello Gay B&B, and where I shop, bank, socialise and occasionally eat out. Yesterday, as always I had little time and lots to do…
First stop the bank “the Monte dei Paschi di Siena”. I have recently opened a business account at this bank represented in Gubbio. I had to speak to the manageress. Why is it that the bank’s think you have nothing better to do than sit in a designer chair for 45 minutes whilst waiting to speak with the manageress? It is not the first time, indeed the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank motto must be; ” we take our time and your money”.
I have a newish current account for my Umbrian gay guest house at MPS bank, and I thought why not get deposits paid into this account, get it started.. There is a discrepancy with the BIC code, and I realised I do not have any single document with the physical address of the bank to use as a reference, even when I access my account online. I have requested a bancomat card, but it seems that is a luxury the bank will only give me when they have €3.000.00 in my account. On checking the account online this morning I discover the bank has already taken €32.85 from my account for “interest and skills” – interesting because I had not put any money in the account. How can I ever build up to €3.000.00 balance if the bank takes interest and’ skill’ charges (just what are skill charges?) like that? Oh and every time you ask a question in this bank we will tell you a different story, and deny responsibility, because “I the manageress have only been here three weeks and I am not responible for what happended before I arrived”, so, from me I thought a reasonable next question.. “so who was responsible?” reply.. “nobody there was not a manager for three months – but it is not the bank’s fault or mine”
I have waited three months for a POS credit card machine from the MPS bank. The branch still does not know the cost of the machine if connected to the internet, and cannot tell me which carrier the bank uses for connections over the cellphone network. The manageress informed me the costs of cellphone connection were ‘High” what does high mean? She could not tell me but they must be exorbitant. 3 months to get the paperwork through, how much longer will I have to wait for the machine to be delivered and how much longer before it is connected and finally works I feel utterly useless and sorry for my customers. My conclusion if you have a choice do not have anything to do with Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank, they are utter disfunctional rotters.
Next call to my other bank, a queue, yes there is always a queue. I needed a chequebook, no you cannot order it online and no they do not arrive automatically when the last one runs out. You have to wait at the counter, so I waited and waited.. I also wanted to close a direct debit payment, that too has to be done in the branch, but of course the computer terminals were down, so I will have to come back another day. Then to the cash machine to print a mini-statement. Why is it the guy infront of me has to conduct multiple transactions? The bankomat machines in Italy I believe are bought second or fourth hand from places like the UK. They are slow dead slow, and tedious. After 45 minutes I managed to leave the second bank.
Here in Italy you can buy stamps at a tobacconist. That is when they have them. Over the past week I have tried every tobacconist in Gubbio for one, yes one stamp to send a letter to the UK. why do I persist in going to the tobacconists to discover repeatedly they do not have stamps for overseas and have not had them for ten days? read on.. The Post Office I had to go to the post office. Here in Italy you take a ticket and wait your turn. Yesterday morning the post office was so busy people were ovespilling onto the pavement. All I needed were two stamps. I fought my way in and to the ticket machine, pressed the button and discovered to my horror I was 45th. in the queue and that was the queue for stamps, just stamps and postage, the business post offices were surely set up for, not pensions, payments, enquiries just stamps, and no there is not even a stamp vending machine. I didn’t wish to wait, the letters are now back in my car gathering dust. I have a UK postal vote for this weeks election, luckily the envelope is marked ‘postage paid do not affix stamps’ If I had to affix a stamp I think it would be for the 2015 election!
Then to the paint shop. Two weeks ago I went in for a tin of paint for outdoors plaster surface. I wanted to repaint the plaster wall that was damaged by the insertion of a replacement window. Base colour not in stock, come back in ten days…. A queue, finally to be given the message, base still not in stock, the wisteria is now in leaf, and it is too late…
Then across town to the builders merchants to speak with the ever patient Milena to find out if the tile samples I want for the dining room have finally arrived. Five telephone calls by Milena later we dicovered the tiles are ‘on their way’ but where they are and when they will arrive nobody could tell… do they not have proper logistics compamies here in Italy will I ever get the dining room floor tiled??
Then to buy dog food. This means driving a road with two roundabouts, those delighful British inventions I thought designed to make traffic flow freely and in orderly fashion. But not here in Gubbio. Nobody seems to understand here how roudabouts function. They are a free for all, drivers just want to get onto the roundabout and then stop or cut you up and yesterday this process was more confused by a cyclist in the middle of the road cycling in the wrong direction….. indeed it seems the rule is ‘abandon courtesy, do the opposite of what you are supposed to do, drive contrary to the rules of the road, and if certain stop without warning preferably blocking all traffic and exits from the roundabout.
Luckily there was only one guy at the till in the agricultural shop where I buy my dog food. But he was buying plantlets, tons of them, and each one has to be individually scanned and transported separately to his car. Eventually after 17 minutes I managed to get to the cash desk.
Then to the office of the water company. Only open three mornings a week, office in a way out place near to nothing else I needed to do, and as usual take a ticket system. I pulled a ticket, 14 people in the queue before me. All I wanted is to continue my process to change the incorrect billing on my account. I have faxed (remember faxes?), written and been to the office and handed in all the relevant documents over the past six months, yet my account remains incorrect, I wanted to rant and sort out the account once and for all. By the time I was 3rd from the head of the queue the office closed… I will have to come back again.
Luckily I did not need to go to the Co-Op, nine tills and only one open…
In desperation, highly wound up I drove back to the tranquillity of Bellaugello Gay guesthouse some three and a half hours later having achieved virtually nothing and knowing I will have to repeat the process all over again before too long. Sometimes I hate living here in Italy and I really wish I had a decent responsible partner to help me and share the stress.
How does anyone ever manage to get any serious work done here in Italy I still do not understand, it is a fight and uphill struggle.