The postman always rings twice. Actually that is not quite the advertising campaign being run by the Post Office. Their advertisement says the bill always rings twice and it is a campaign to have people use their postman to pay their various utility bills when he calls at their house.
Like many things in Italy it is not available down here in the south where one would think it would be more useful. People here have an aversion to banks and certainly to direct debits or anything that requires form filling and bank account information. Therefore they take the various bills and go to the Post Office or to a local newsagent to pay them. It is a laborious job as whilst the newsagent takes the money and issues a receipt you also have to fax or post the receipt to the utility concerned with a copy of the bill. Still with me on this ? Basically nothing is really joined up so everyone has to be informed lots of times.
Of course the major problem here is many people don’t have a postman calling let alone ringing twice. I hadn’t realised how lucky we were to have a postbox and a daily delivery (sundays excepted). Most people have to live with either a box in a cluster of boxes somewhere easy for the postman to get to or a box in the post office or using someone else’s address. I believe ours is due to the close proximity of the leader of Martina Franca council’s house, he, of course gets two deliveries a day and sometimes three if he is awaiting something urgent.
The devil is in the detail as they say in terms of this promotion anyway. Like so many marketing campaigns all over the world the marketing team come up with a blockbuster of an idea. Establish a need like ease of paying bills and let the post office solve it. Brilliant, pats on the back, dinner on expenses and then the idea goes to finance for “rubber stamping”. Oh dear, how will the customer pay the bill. Unfortunately Italian postal workers are quite light fingered so taking cash is a no no . A couple of good days taking big bills and the guy is sending you a postcard from South America. Credit cards seem to be unacceptable too for some reason and in the end the guys from finance restrict it to current account holders of the Post Office bank . This was never the intention of the marketing guys as their original press release in 2012 shows but now the scheme has launched this is the outcome. The idea was also that you could book an appointment so your postman came when you wanted and that has gone too. Still in towns it might still reduce the queues at post office counters.
As I said the devil is in the detail especially with marketing campaigns here in Italy. The internet providing mobile phone companies are dong the same. Their ads say “Internet Senza Limiti ” unlimited. Wow you think what a great deal and off to the shop you hurry. You get a contract and sign up and then in the fine print you notice massimo 500MG. What’s this. Ah says the girl that is the maximum you can use per day. But it says unlimited. Oh yes she replies it is . So what is this. Well it is unlimited to 500MG and then you pay. So you try again pointing to the huge advertisement with the most enormous bold headline showing unlimited. You get the same reply and a very bemused look. She genuinely cannot understand what the problem is. But your advertisement should say that . Well nobody would expect it to be unlimited would they? And then you know that there are some things here that really are different from the UK and people see things differently as well.
The trouble is there is no where to go to complain no ombudsmen, no powerful TV consumer affair shows and certainly no point in writing to the company concerned. No instead like me you buy two and take them home to use. But then you have a glass of wine and go out for a good meal and life doesn’t seem too bad especially if you have this on DVD