Ten Insights into Italian Culture: #9 – Italian Customer Service
In Italy, as in most parts of Europe, the customer is never right. You cannot make a fuss, you cannot refuse a bottle of wine that has been opened for you even if for tasting purposes, you cannot send food back if it doesn’t meet your quality standards, you may not be able to order a special meal that modifies an existing dish, and you most certainly cannot refuse to pay if you have received bad service or didn’t like your meal. This extends not just to waiter service but to all aspects of trade. A word of advice based on personal experience––when buying a souvenir from a street vendor, hold onto your money until you are 100% satisfied with the selection you have made or the selection the vendor has made for you. Once that money parts your hands, they will no longer want anything to do with serving you and may even refuse to speak further with you. Also, on a related note, you cannot return or exchange flawed or ill-fitting goods in Italy once you have paid for them.