Dear Poste Italiane
I can’t imagine that your managers don’t read the papers or watch TV, that they haven’t heard about the changes in the land registry being introduced to increase the tax pressure on houses in the centre of Rome and other neighbourhoods.
The unwelcome notice arrives in a green envelope, sometimes bearing the menacing headline “Judicial Deeds”, and if it can’t be given personally to the addressee or to the portiere it has to be collected at the post office. For residents in the centre, this almost always means the one in Piazza S. Silvestro. Like a good citizen, off I went to pick mine up, and took my number for the queue. And this is where the sad picture of Italy begins.
There are only two counters for this kind of business, and one of them was often unstaffed. After waiting 20 minutes, I sit down, and I couldn’t avoid hearing the lady next to me on the phone saying she is from the Presidenza del Consiglio, and couldn’t somebody do something?
The wait grew to 40 minutes, because these same two counters also deal with parcels (it was just before Christmas...). After an hour, there are three new developments: the lady from the prime minister’s office is called to another counter and has left satisfied; a disabled man has arrived and has to wait standing up, no leniency for him; a pretty girl on 8 (or 11) cm heels has also arrived and doesn't move again from the counter presided over by a man. An hour and a half. After an hour and three quarters, it is my turn (and I elbow the pretty girl aside).
The clerk tells me tranquilly: "your raccomandata isn’t here yet – try and come back in a couple of days.”
I am the only one to protest, the others want to carry on. I’ll come back, when I have calmed down. Maybe by then the Poste Italiane will have noticed the emergency, maybe they’ll have realised that there are far more registered letters awaiting collection than usual, maybe there’ll be more counters open and fewer ladies from the prime minister’s office. Maybe. But that would mean that Italy has changed.