Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Observations

The bus drivers must be engaged in an ongoing contest to see who can wear out the brakes the fastest. They're all doing pretty well, because 95% of the bus brakes screech loudly.

Also regarding buses: no matter what stop I go to or at what time, I have to wait at least 15 minutes for the D bus. It's supposed to come every 12 minutes.

A little more on fashion (from previous posts): apparently heels go with everything. Also, in the winter, it seems the only accepted footwear for women is boots. It was kind of impressive to see stores go from selling nothing but sandals one day to nothing but boots the next.

Two projects that were progressing surprisingly rapidly for Italy were the renovation of the Santa Maria Novella piazza and the building of the tram lines. Then the SMN project ran out of funds and was temporarily halted, and the tram line installation was put on hold for a month around Xmas, because the store owners by the lines complained it was affecting business. That's more like it. Another funny thing about the tram lines is that some people don't want them running near the duomo, even though there's a constant stream of buses and cars there now.

The concept of customer service is still not known here, especially at Vodafone, which is the worst company in the world. It now out-ranks U-Haul's terrible policies, Bank of America's lying employees and website, and Telecom Italia's terrible policies and lying employees and website. When we were in the Vodafone store recently*, where the totally incompetent employees were not able to do anything for us again, a number of other people were in there with complaints. I overheard a conversation in English wherein a woman was explaining that she had recently bought a pay-as-you-go internet "service" from Vodafone, but when she tried to use it, she was only able to send one email in 4 hours. The response from the employee was that the woman should bring her computer in to the store to be tested, because the Vodafone service is "very good." The only accurate thing that employee said the whole time was when the woman asked for a refund for the time she wasn't able to use Vodafone's crappy service, and the employee told her, "In Italy, we don't give back money."

Italian mosquitoes don't die. It's freaking winter.

Something positive: I like the Teatro della Pergola.

* There are several episodes in the Vodafone saga we've skipped so far in this blog. Maybe eventually we'll post the whole thing.

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