Friday we were in the little spa town of Fiuggi where I bought a postcard to send to Amelia my great niece as I'd missed her seventh birthday. We had time to kill so wandered around and slightly out of the town where I came upon the post office and decided to get stamps. I intend to send Esme a card later for her birthday.
I fathomed out which counter I needed, no 4 for stamps and general posting, the others for banking, bill paying etc and took a number for no 4. There were a couple of people before me so I decided to start writing the card, post boxes being few and far between in these parts.
When it was my turn I asked in my best Italian for two stamps for postcards to England, tap tap on the computer for a while till she told me it was a euro each. Give me the card said the lady and I handed it over, half written and with no address. She looked at it and I said I hadn't finished, finish it she said rather abruptly tossing it back with a pen. So I stood at the counter hastily penning a few words and finding the addresss from my diary, not daring to look round at the queue building behind me. I handed the card over, much more tapping of the computer, then the lady said give me the other card. I explained I hadn't bought it yet. I wanted the stamp to take away. I realised at this stage that she intended to frank my completed card rather than give me two stamps. She looked at me then shouted down the line of counters, she wants a stamp to take away as if I was some kind of freak Eventually an assistant from another till went into the back room and came out with the requested stamp, with a lengthy code written on it in pencil that had to be tapped into the computer. At this stage I was reminded of the days when you took your building society pass book to pay in a couple of pounds and all the tapping that involved.
Finally I got my single stamp, my completed card was thrown on top of the printer and the lady looked down her nose at it, maybe she was pretending to read it. I never saw it franked, I have no idea if it will ever arrive, I wish they had stamp vending machines in Italy.