Funny how my Italian story telling timing has coincided with real life. We have just completed the furnishing of Villa di Mare, our new condo and U.S. home in New Port Richey, Florida and today it is time to tell the story of adding furnishings to Villa Velina:
Early during the first week of our first stay in Villa Velina, we stalked our local furniture store – Mobili Radano. Mobili is the Italian word for furnishings and interestingly, immobiliare is the Italian word for real estate. It makes perfect sense: furniture can be moved, but real estate is immobile. We began our stalking of this cute store at the bottom of the hill we live on the day we arrived which was a Saturday and our stalking continued through Tuesday, when finally we were able to connect. You see, in Italy it is not always easy to learn/know when/if a store will be open. There are often no hours posted and even if they are, that does not necessarily mean that a store will actually adhere to those hours!
But, finally on Tuesday we were able to find the store open and connect with the owner. He did not speak ANY English, and we did not expect him to – after all we are in his country and if he came to see us in the U.S., we would certainly not be speaking much Italian with him. However, once again we were able to communicate through various methods including our fledgling Italian, charades and pointing. We saw many beautiful options that we loved in his store (all made in Italy – which is something we love about Italy), but we choose a practical small scale wicker set which included a love seat, two chairs and a coffee table. Since initially, we will not be at Villa Velina except for vacations, we wanted something versatile that could also easily be moved out to the balcony, where we instantly knew we would often spend our time. The wicker was of real wood, as it should be, not plastic.
So, we agreed on a price and explained that we needed to have the furniture delivered and took the owner outside the front door of his store and pointed to Villa Velina in the majestic salmon-colored stucco building on the hill directly overlooking his store. He said he could deliver it “adesso” or NOW! That’s what I call instant gratification. The cost was 750 euros and he really wanted cash so we told him we would go to the bancomat around the corner and get the cash and return and his reply was “no problem – he will load up the furniture, follow us to the bancomat and then to our home”. So, on to the bancomat we all went.
When we all arrived at Villa Velina, we tried to pay him for the furniture. He would not take it and instead managed to communicate to us that he wanted to bring in the furniture first to make sure we liked it, then we could pay him. Wow! We grinned from ear to ear. This was far, far different than any retail-furniture-buying experience we had ever had in our lives in the U.S. Imagine someone trusting you enough that they allow you to choose the furniture you would like, deliver it to you and wait for you to approve before they take one cent from you!! And deliver it to you the very second after you buy it. And do all of this, even though you cannot speak his language and much could be open to interpretation. THAT is trust and kindness. Well, that’s what happened. He worked hard to get all of the furniture upstairs, put the cushions on it, had us sit down and waited until we smiled. AND THEN, only then, would he accept payment from us. In the future, who do you think we will buy our furniture from? I think Mobili Radano has some customers for life!!