Funny how my Italian story telling timing has coincided with real life. I have just completed the furnishing of Villa di Mare, my 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 my first stay in Villa D’Amore, I stalked my 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. I began my stalking of this cute store at the bottom of the hill I live on the day I arrived which was a Saturday and my stalking continued through Tuesday, when finally I was 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 I was able to find the store open and connect with the owner. He did not speak ANY English, and I did not expect him to – after all I are in his country and if he came to see us in the U.S., I would certainly not be speaking much Italian with him. However, once again I was able to communicate through various methods including my fledgling Italian, charades and pointing. I saw many beautiful options that I loved in his store (all made in Italy – which is something I love about Italy), but I choose a practical small scale wicker set which included a love seat, two chairs and a coffee table. Since initially, I will not be at Villa D’Amore except for vacations, I wanted something versatile that could also easily be moved out to the balcony, where i instantly knew I would often spend much of my time. The wicker was of real wood, as it should be, not plastic.
So, I agreed on a price and explained that I needed to have the furniture delivered and took the owner outside the front door of his store and pointed to Villa D’Amore 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 I told him I 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 me to the bancomat and then to my home”. So, on to the bancomat we went.
When we all arrived at Villa D’Amore, I tried to pay him for the furniture. He would not take it and instead managed to communicate to me that he wanted to bring in the furniture first to make sure I liked it, then I could pay him. Wow! I’m sure I was grinning from ear to ear. This was far, far different than any retail-furniture-buying experience I had ever had in my U.S. life. 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 me sit down and waited until I smiled. AND THEN, only then, would he accept payment from me. In the future, who do you think I will buy my furniture from? I think Mobili Radano has a customer for life!!