*Update November 4, 2011
**Original post written on October 12, 2011
The Italian postal system is mystifying, one day it’s black the next white. I wrote a post in December 2010 called How The Italian Postal System Blows My Mind which was an ongoing post about how my mothers packages would arrive via various methods. One day black and one day white, right?
Nothing has changed in the almost four years I have lived in Italy and nothing boggles my mind more than uncertainty. I’m an avid old-fashioned postcard writer, there is something about the ink written word that compels me to continue this olde form of correspondence. Nothing is more frustrating than the Poste Italiane and their stamps, francobolli. Here’s a quick run down from the beginning of this year for your basic postcard stamp.
- January to July – .85c
- August 5th – .85c
- August 6th – 1.60 (Euro)
- For the rest of August and September the cost was 1.60 (Euro)
- October – .75c
- November 4 – 1.60 (Euro)*
Call me crazy, as most do, but doesn’t this seem a little off? How can they charge double the price in August and September? My line of thinking is that those months are high tourist season, the time when hundreds of holiday makers make their way to this stunning island, the time when the tourists get ripped off by the Italian government.
I went into the Poste Italiane last week to mail a few birthday postcards and was utterly shocked when they asked me for .75c. I felt my head spin, I thought I was being taken for a ride. I politely asked “Perché il costo dei francobolli cambiare così frequentemente? Why does the price of stamps change so frequently?” I just wanted to know why, I mean if in October stamps are going to cost .75c then I’m going to stock up for the
rest of the year rest of my life. However, I wasn’t ready for his useless pathetic response “Qual è il tuo problema, oggi si dispone di uno sconto. What is your problem, today you have a discount.”
I felt deflated by his ignorant response to a simple question. But maybe to him it wasn’t simple, he probably, like the rest of us commoners have no bloody idea what the government of Italy is up to. I imagine they use this money to pay for some bunga bunga or a flashy new sports car or a case or two of Italy’s finest white prosecco. And all with my double priced stamps. You’re welcome Mr. Berlusconi, I hope you had a good time spending my money.
**This post will be an ongoing series on the Highs & Lows of the Italian Stamp.
November 4, 2011
This morning I walked into my local post office with my birthday card postcards in hand. I hadn’t been in the post office since the beginning of October and was curious what the cost of stamps would be today. I convinced myself that inflation of stamps is just a silly idea and expected to pay anywhere from .65c to .85c for the illustrious Italian stamp.
I was shocked (shocked isn’t the right word, going to the post office in Italy is like playing a game. Guess the price of the stamps today and you win!) when the clerk informed me that the stamp would cost me 1.60 Euro! I asked him the usual questions for which he had no answers. He suggested I buy a .65c stamp and send it anyway, I declined as I want to make sure my birthday postcards to family and friends arrive.
Is it safe to assume that the HUGE debt in Italy is being slowly paid off with my stamp purchases? Is this a way to change the ongoing debt crisis in my new home? Is anyone else as perplexed as I am about the inflation and deflation of the Italian stamp? Or is this just normal life, on an island in debt ridden Italy?