ONLINE SHOPPING

Personally, I am thrilled that Amazon bought Whole Foods. Living in Italy means I can’t enjoy cashew (or even peanut) butter, salsa and chips, Three Twins Ice Cream, or – saddest of all – Korbel brut. (Don’t judge me – I eat really good food at other times, but do love my “healthy” junk food.)

But I’m not sure any of those things would ever make it to me. Stick with me here on this.

I have been an Amazon Prime member (with Smile donations going to Catholic Charities, of course) for several years. I spent nearly 5 months getting satellite internet here in Santa Fiora (read previous entry), and have put it to great use. I download Kindle books and home improvement TV shows. And I order things that I can’t get here without driving for two hours each way on twisty mountain roads.

I am not a spoiled foreigner. I accept that I can only order on the Amazon.it site, so am very limited in what is offered. As requested by Amazon, I have the packages sent to the local post office and pick them up there. It’s called a local drop location, and this has worked fine for three months. We received a shirt for Tim, books, a Sawzall and blades.

And then . . .

Somewhere someone decided this was not a cost-effective arrangement for the post office. Meanwhile, I had ordered a few more things: curtains, a bag of rye flour, a pastry cutter, a blanket, my favorite shampoo, all destined for the post office.

The first tip-off was the curtains. I kept checking on their journey. Instead of heading to the post office, they were with something called BRT. As we were driving around one day, I saw a truck with BRT on the side. I yelled (nicely) to Tim to stop the car, ran over to the driver (who of course didn’t speak any English), and somehow communicated that I was waiting for a shipment that he might have. He seemed to recognize my name, so I gave him my address on a scrap of paper.

Lo and behold, the curtains arrived two days later! (We now wave to the driver whenever we see him around the area!) ((Crazy Americans . . .))

Meanwhile, several other “necessities” were in the Amazon pipeline and due at the post office (and confirmed by Amazon that they were delivered). So every day I’ve checked with them and every day the post office woman would say a whole bunch of things in Italian and throw her arms up, which I took to mean “these things happen” — that the delivery was delayed.

Today Tim drove me down there with my Amazon printouts in Italian clearly saying that my rye flour and pastry cutter were delivered there last week. A little indignantly I thrust the printouts under the post office window to the same woman, who started saying a whole bunch of things in Italian and throwing up her arms. A woman I know came in – I knew she didn’t speak English – and seeing my frustration, tried to help. The papers flew back and forth from the post office woman to my acquaintance and back again, and they both were throwing up their arms.

IMG_1670.JPGAs I was causing a scene and the line was getting longer behind me, the post office woman went online and printed out two different pieces of paper. They showed that the rye flour was indeed delivered to Santa Fiora post office last week, but then “ritorno”-ed to Bologna! My pastry blender was sent to Firenze.

Defeated and having this information in hand, I went next door to the little store where Tim was hiding and showed him and the deaf clerk the printouts. Then my friend joined us too, and another man came in and everyone turned to him and asked if he spoke English.

In broken English he said yes, he learned it in law school, but when he became a lawyer in Rome they forbade him to speak it. Good enough for me. I showed him the papers and the two of us (followed by Tim, my friend, and the deaf store clerk) went next door to the post office lady.

He now translated the whole bunch of things and arm-throwing into the fact that the post office, to save money, decided to contract with delivery companies (like BRT!) to deliver things like rye flour and pastry cutters. So I needed to go online, contact the 6 delivery companies in Tuscany, and give them all my home address. Of course, Amazon.it apparently knew nothing of this.

Home Tim and I went.

IMG_1669And there on our doorstep was an Amazon delivery! Not any of the things I was expecting, but a bedspread I had ordered a few months ago. Delivered by my buddy at BRT. The address on the box? The post office.

Allora . . .

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