Friday, April 18, 2008

the case of the missing food

So last night I chatted with my friend Kate, who was here singing in Torino when I arrived, but who left for Bologna yesterday. Before she departed however, she was kind enough to leave me a couple bags of food and other various items that she didn't want to schlep on the train. We were staying in the same hotel, so when she left, because I was already in rehearsal, she told the front desk that there were two bags in her room, and they should deliver them to my room. They happened to deliver them while I was home for lunch, and I was happy to dig through and find things like olive oil and nutella. However, when I talked to Kate last night, she asked if I had started looking through the magazines she left me. What magazines? So she started asking me about other things she left me - an unopened bottle of balsamic vinegar, a block of parmeggiano cheese, some pre-prepared soups - none of which ended up in the stuff that was delivered to me. At first we thought they had left one bag behind, but then when I reported that I had received the olive oil, she said "but wait - the balsamic and the magazines were in the bag with the olive oil!" We wondered what had happened, and suspected that whoever cleaned the room took all the stuff they wanted figuring I would never ask Kate what was in the bags.

So this morning, when I got back from my first rehearsal, I went to the front desk (armed with the list Kate and I had created of all the things that were missing, that she handily translated into italian for me). The woman at the desk was this nice young brunette who speaks english and usually speaks english to me even when I try to ask for things in Italian. She has always been really nice to me, so I was surprised to see her get all defensive when I calmly began to explain that many things were missing from the bags Kate had left for me. Instead of her usually calm english responses, she started speaking really quickly in Italian, and said "well, maybe they started to throw things away, but when we told them to keep things for you, they stopped." And I responded (in english) "but that doesn't really make sense because they would have had to take some things out of each bag and leave other things in." She replied (in italian) "well maybe they had started to empty the bags already when we called and told them to keep things for you" and I asked "well then why were all the best things the ones that got thrown away?" I could tell we were really having a fight now because we had both reverted back to our original languages. She just seemed really shifty, and even like she was about to start crying. I wasn't even being mean and new york-y with her, I was being very even tempered. Finally she just said she didn't know and retreated into the back office away from the front desk. 

I walked away for a minute, but remembered that they still hadn't delivered a few of the things I had asked for like a knife big enough to cut vegetables, and when I returned to the desk, a nice man had taken her position. He was really friendly and told me not to worry, all the items I had asked for were arriving today and would be brought to my room. Then when I got upstairs, the phone rang, and it was him again. He said (in italian) that he was sorry about what had happened with the missing items, and if I would just tell him how much I thought everything was worth, he would take that much off my hotel bill. Hmmmm - this was interesting. If little miss "suddenly I can't speak english anymore" was so innocent, why was he suddenly offering me compensation? Anyway, I told him I'd give a list of all the missing items and he could help me figure out the cost. He agreed, and when I brought the list down to him, he was incredibly nice, introduced himself (his name is Lino) and said if I ever needed anything at all, I should just ask him. Scaredy-cat was still back at her computer looking furtively out into the lobby. I'm still annoyed that they tried to pull one over on me, but at least an italian man was nice and paid attention to me (finally!!!) and also I can probably now milk the situation for free stuff. 

I went back to the outdoor market today during my lunch hour, but couldn't go to the supermarket because they close for lunch. Then when I finished I rushed over there and made it just before they closed again, but I only had 5 euros in my wallet, so all I could afford was a block of parmesan cheese. Someday I'll get to the supermarket when they're not closed, about to close, and when I have money. I am really REALLY getting desperate for paper towels. 

1 comment:

B said...

That is incredible. I hope she is sitting at home eating your/kate's cheese with a side of regret. Love the blog.