July 8, 2008

Your turn or mine

I spent over an hour at my local ASL (national health office)this morning. How civilized it was compared to the old days. I was received by a woman at an information desk at the door, took a number for the service I required, sat in a reasonably comforable plastic chair with the AC over my head and read the newspaper and then my book for over 50 minutes before being received by desk n. 1. I hadn't received my national health electronic card and I found out why, the computer declared me to be a (wo)man without a country and therefore without a citizenship (although I actually have two.) That settled, my tessera sanitaria should arrive within a month, mailed directly to my home address. In the meantime I have a properly stamped and signed printout as a substitute.

THe wonders of modern Italy. Anyone who complains about how things work now, should have been here 20 years ago! I LOVE those little number dispensers at the door of most offices (except my local recently renovated post office) and even at the alimentari in Sabaudia. It works, usually. THen there are those who conveniently do not "notice" that you entered the shop or office ahead of them but didn't see the machine. In this case, the number stands over common courtesy, for i soliti furbi in any case. An American friend just had it out with another woman in the pool parking lot for the same reason, she had been waiting in her car for someone to leave a spot, and just as one freed up another car zipped in and took the place. She explained that she had been waiting first, but the other woman hadn't "noticed" and that was that.

Oh well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

a domani,


Beth said...

allow me to share my most recent experience "Your turn or mine"--I had to go to the post office to pay the INPS (social security)for my maid. This is the only bill left that I can not pay on line. My neighborhood post office is being renovated so I went to San Silvestro one of the main post offices and usually quite efficient. Not yesterday. The ticket machine for numbers worked fine but I had #691 and the display indicated 537 was being served. Oh well, I had just gone to Feltrinelli and had some new books to read. I found a seat and as the building is air conditioned, I did not mind waiting. All of sudden there was a rush for the sportelli. The automatic number system had failed and lines began to form for the various counters. One line could not function for regular postal products because the scale ws broken and another closed abruptly when the employee left for lunch but everyhting was relatively orderly. There were the usual grumblers...my number is low; I've been here forever...I should be first, etc. An postal employee came to our line and said "be ready to move to the next counter as it will be opening..." When it opened we moved swiftly into place but a man in the next line was outraged as his line shared the space with the new window and he assumed he should have priority. He proceeded to argue with the woman in front of me over my head (they were both taller than I)but in the end to no avail but I had to chuckle at their invantive arguments.
The number system seemd to fail as often as it functions...ah Italia.

Elizabeth Abbot said...

Hi Beth, love this story! The Italians have been tamed and put into order by the number machines, but once that system goes, the ole chaos reigns once again -- each for him/herself in the post office jungle.