Sometimes I like to talk honestly about my life here in Italy. It is a privilege to live in Florence and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But, it has its downs as well as its ups.
Recently, I’ve had a small issue with my cellphone carrier. It is hard, in Italian, to have a phone call about serious issues with critical information, so I decided to go to the Fastweb office in person. I had another thing to do in the center on Saturday, so after that and before 12:00 noon, I went to the Fastweb office to take care of business. It was closed. I had to wait until Monday morning to find it open.
So, I showed up bright and early at Fastweb on Monday and waited for my turn to be let into the store, what with the Covid 19 rules, and was able to quickly and pretty easily get the information I needed to solve the overall issue I had with my phone service.
Then, I innocently inquired what the balance was on my account that lets me make phone calls and use data. I like to keep a good balance in there, because you never know, right? I found out that I had less than 3 euro on balance.
I asked if I could pay to bring my balance up and the kind clerk said of course. He handed me off to a newer employee to finish this minor procedure. I told her I wanted to put 100 Euro on the account and she got out 2 plastic cards, each worth 50 Euro, to refresh my balance. She did a bunch of procedures with the 2 cards, scraping off the “skin” over the codes and processed them, and I received 2 dings from my phone that my Fastweb account had been recharged for 100 Euro in 2 blocks of 50 Euro.
Good enough. All this time I had my credit card lying on the top of her desk for her to charge the payment(s). At this point, she began to process my card. It was denied. She called her colleague over, he tried, it was denied. So, they are in a pickle. They gave me the credit but didn’t have a way to charge me.
I expected the to tell me that my credit card was faulty, but they didn’t. Then it came out that they had just received a new credit card processor machine and there were problems with it. For the next 1.5 hours, they attempted to call their headquarters and get the thing worked out. They kept me there because they needed my actual card. Finally, 2 hours after I walked in, I told them I had to leave. I happened to have 50 Euro with me in cash, which I left with them, and promised to return tomorrow (since I had appointments all day today) to either bring them another 50 Euro or better, have them try again to run my credit card. BTW, they tried their own credit cards to see if it truly was their new machine, and it was.
My life in Italy. It takes longer to do less. :-))
Postscript, a few days later. I went back to the store. The credit card machine still wasn’t working. How can they do business like this? A major cellphone carrier in the 21st century. It amazes me.