January 5, 2011

Daily life: Numero Otto : I ♥ TARGET

There is nothing better than Target. Period. I wish somehow they would come to Italy, specifically to the Old City of Florence. I know there is a Walmart"esque" establishment outside the city, close to the Ikea, but I want a fully stocked Target close to me. Normal household goods are sold at tiny stores called "Mesticheria", which are charming in a way, but also a hassle in others. On one side, its nice to see several family run businesses within the same block as each other. On the other side, it's a frustrating process getting what you need, in a timely manner. There are two of these in my neighborhood, one has two lovely sisters working who are so nice & patient with me and my limited Italian, but their prices are outrageous. For example, 15 euros ($22) for a low quality shower curtain. Then the other shop at Sant'Ambrogio (by the market) always have whatever you need, but the customer service is horrendous. Two grumpy men work there, and get really annoyed if you don't know what you are saying. I have learned to write it down in Italian to avoid the death stares and rolling eyes. Problem solved. You take a number and wait in line, one time I waited almost 30 minutes to by a lock for my bike, because their system (or lack thereof) was so slow. Keep in mind these businesses are only open from 10am-1pm / 3:30pm-7pm, even during a time of economic struggles.

So, think of these types of experiences, and then think about how easy Target is. It is always clean, you can get in & out within minutes, they are open from 10am-11pm everyday. The check out line is always fast & the people are nice to you. Bravo Target Corporation for thorough customer service training (this topic will be blogged soon). There are a variety of options for ANY product you want. America is known for mass production right?  I took this photo of the shampoo aisle, perfectly color coordinated. I was standing in the aisle, in shock because I couldn't believe how many choices I had again. Mom nudged me and said "You are looking at the black section". I had to laugh that there was even a black section, clearly not something you see in Italy.

I want to be clear this is not about all the shampoo you can buy at Target. It's about having a choice to do so. As Americans, we forget how fortunate we are to have everything we need at our disposal, and believe or not, at affordable prices. Saline solution costs upwards of 12 Euros ($18), feminine products do not work as well as the ones manufactured in the US, and I could not find affordable table linens for my kitchen in Florence.  It's all these little things that you don't even think about until you don't have them. I bulk up on household items in the United States and bring them all the way back to Italy to avoid dealing with bad service & poor quality products. 
Points for America.

 Be thankful to have choices.


Ladymode said...

I'm in total agreement! I should own stock in Target, as many times as I go there.

Tina said...

What I wouldn't give for a Target or a Wallyworld! As I have commented before, strangely enough, Serbia seems similar to Italy in their lifestyle minus the yummy pasta. Today I went to 5 grocery stores to try to find brown sugar. I finally settled with raw sugar. I think the pumpkin pie I am making will be just fine with the compromise. ;)

debbie said...

Hi Christy, I found your blog somehow because I googled "living in Italy". It is my dream to move there from the U.S. (Although, my life is way too complicated with kids, jobs and husband). I enjoyed reading your blogs and the pictures. You are very lucky to be able to embrace such a beautiful life there in Italy.

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