Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So would you believe me if I told you.....

......that my computer is STILL not fixed? I know sounds unbelievable but its true. But I live in Italy.

Apparently the piece that was ordered from the U.S to fix it is being held hostage at customs. Maybe they think its some kind of explosive device? Or spy equipment?  Who knows for sure. All I know is that it has now officially been more than 2 months since it was ordered.

This kind of thing really makes me curious because when it comes to sending anything into this country, the list of restrictions is endless. In fact here is a little list as noted by the USPS.  It will give you a good laugh to say the least.  Now there is a little trick to it however, and that is when you 'declare' what is actually inside the package 'PERSONAL ITEMS OF NON COMMERCIAL VALUE' seems to do the trick.  Some have even told me that 'CARE PACKAGE' works quite well also.  Now, it doesn't really matter what the sender has paid to ship the package, you can probably expect to pay some sort of tax after its arrival. That is if it actually arrives. I once bought a pair of earrings from a shop on Etsy, oh 3 years ago maybe? Yeah, never actually received them. We also once sent a gift to my husbands aunt from the U.S and the poor thing had to jump through hoops and PAY for her birthday gift! Ma che roba da pazzi!

But, if you are a business ordering merchandise to sell or if you are buying from business based outside the EU, the non commercial value/care package trick is actually quite illegal.  If the cat were let out of the bag on that one, it could mean thousands of euro in fines for the business.

Mind you, the customs officers barely check your passport when you fly into Italy and figuarti  if you fly into Florence. Come to think of it,  I don't think I've ever had my passport checked upon landing in Florence. So, people yes, packages no.

Needless to say, I was a bit concerned when I was told by the dude that said he could fix my computer that the piece had to be ordered from the U.S. so I asked him if it would be easier if I had it sent to a friend who was going to be there and she could bring it home with her and I could then bring it to him and he could do the repair. "No, non c'รจ bisogno" It will only take about 2 weeks.  2 weeks?!?! Really?!?! Great! yeah go ahead and order it, cool!  Here I am thinking that he's done this before, he knows what he's talking about. No need to worry, trust the kid!

I guess I forgot where I was for the 10 minutes that I was inside the store.

Here's the deal, the Italians are great, wonderful, passionate people who really know how to eat and drink and savor all of life's pleasures, but organization and customer service are far from their strong suites. It's actually more likely that they don't know what they are talking about than that they do, and if efficiency and sense of urgency are what you seek, you have come to the wrong place! Try Switzerland or Germany. You'll be much happier there.

So I do realize that essentially this isn't the stores 'fault' that the piece is being held at customs, but in the end I do think that they should know what they are talking about before they give their customers information and make promises they cannot keep.  I'm wasting time, I'm loosing money, and I am not able to be as creative as I need to be. Bright side is that I am gaining an intimate knowledge of the world known as PC, and that just makes me miss the mac even more!

This is just one of the things that one must deal with while while living here in beautiful Italy! Pazienza...


  1. I can't belive it! Though I guess ironically I'm not surprised, either. I hope that sooner or later something is done about the highway robbery going on with customs here - I think it's not even customs agents collecting all the fees, but rather some other company they contract out to deliver their packages. I can't remember their name. It's pretty sad this is allowed to go on, when no other European country has this problem. I was once charged 60 euros for 2 bottles of lotion that weren't even worth that much - I sent them back rather than pay the fee. I don't ship anything to Italy anymore, suitcase only!

  2. Well said Michele! So true, highway robbery is right! Its just plain ridiculous:).....but wait, it gets better...


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