It doesn’t take a lot for Italians to lose their patience. But, if you ever want to see Italians lose their patience AND make a scene, then go to the post office preferably around lunch time.
An Italian post office is unlike any other I have ever been to. In Canada, it is a place where you go to send your mail. Period.
Here is a list of all the Poste Italiane services:
- post office
- cell phone plan provider
- place to pick up government forms
- where you pay your bills
- where you pay your tickets (parking or speeding)
There are typically
3 scenarios that can take place in the Italian Post Office:
Regarding the Italian line, should we put our elbows out and charge?
I wouldn’t. However, what I’ve learned from living in Italy is to stand up for yourself. In other words, you cannot be an overly polite “Canadian” in this case. If you see someone trying to budge in front of you, make eye contact and GENUINELY smile. Then, indicate where you are in line. I cannot emphasize how much a genuine “sorriso” can pleasantly surprise an Italian. You will find that they will not be defensive and rather smile back. It works like a charm from the post office to the supermarket on a crazy Sunday morning. Try it!
Italian word to learn: sorriso
English translation: smile (noun)