Daily Life: A Maskless Cellphone Scolding

There are a few things I dislike about living the island life in the Mediterranean, it can’t always be la dolce vita.

Those few things are, and in no particular order, and only two make my blood boil: raw tomatoes, dog owners not cleaning up their dog’s shit from my front porch, and having to enter any type of government or banking office.

It was mercato Monday morning in town, a place where all the local farmers come to sell their fruit, vegetables, honey, bootleg wine, handmade leather goods, candy and clothing. It’s honestly the highlight of my week, all this shopping!

I headed to the local atm machine to withdrawal the weekly funds and my card was blocked from even entering the ancient money machine. I tried again, and no luck. There was no choice, I could feel the anxiety creeping up on me knowing I had to enter this office, it’s always such a hassle, such a disaster!

In I go … and wait an hour before it’s my turn.

Good morning, the atm has blocked my card, it won’t go into the machine.

Good morning, okay, can I have your ID card? Oh, is this still your phone number?

No, Im sorry, that is no longer my number. I have just returned from Canada after two years and no longer have access to that phone number. Here is my new number …

Okay, thank you. Allow me to input your new phone number. Do you have your cellphone with you?

(a little chuckle) No, sorry, I didn’t bring my phone because I didn’t think I would need it this morning. I just wanted to use the atm. Why?

Because we will send you a verification code to your new phone number that you must use to approve this new change to your account.

Oh, okay, but I hadn’t planned on coming into the office today, otherwise …

*the teller beside spoke up and even pulled their mask down to scold me… You, you, you must always bring your cellphone with you when you enter an official office!!

This was repeated to me several times by a teller that wasn’t even helping me in the first place. They berated me so loudly and with such a tone that my blood boiled, my right fist clenched hidden in my winter jacket, my teeth clenched so tightly that my face turned to stone.

I had no idea that I was coming into this office, I’m sorry I don’t have my phone. May I close this account?

Yes, you can close …

The maskless teller … I don’t give a crap if you close your account.

What on earth just happened?!? I was so shocked at the tone and treatment of this teller that I just wanted to run away. Not only weren’t they directly helping me, they have no opinion on whether I close my account or not. They also made my business, the business of everyone else waiting in that office.

The verification code is valid for twenty-four hours. Once you’ve verified your card should work.

Have we finished here?


Thank you.

So, I didn’t even need my cellphone in the first place as the code is valid for twenty-four hours. Ugh. What ignorance! I turned on my heel and walked right out the door, and cried. (Well, far way from this office, so they couldn’t see me.) Yup, I freaking cried from the wrath of this person. It was more of a “shock” cry than a “poor me” cry. The audacity. I’m still reeling from this maskless scolding.

Has something similar happened to you while trying to peacefully do your business in Italy?

10 thoughts on “Daily Life: A Maskless Cellphone Scolding

  1. Something similar but not the same happened to me here in Sydney,my card was eaten up by the ATM, to claim it I had to produce a valid document like a driving licence or a passport but I was just walking and live around the corner anyway,all I came out for was to get cash.They also made me feel stupid (even though they displayed a polite smile) cause I dialled the wrong number 3 times,every few months I get asked to change my password because of “suspicious activity”and the same happens with the other 4 cards,I just can’t keep up with all the new passwords

  2. Hi Jennifer, I am sorry to hear that.
    After several years I came back from UK, and I must agree with most of the comments I read.
    Not all but many of the public offices’ personnel are not polite and they don’t give a s**t spending much time to help out customers. It is a mix of things, including ignorance. The problem is that managers don’t check the quality of service, it is just not in the nowadays culture; – in the past was not like that.
    I would have done the same as you, no point in spending time with them.

    I am living in Cagliari and sometimes I feel the same perhaps with the reckless way of driving which is everywhere in the city. This is also cultural, unfortunately.
    I am a bit concerned that when my partner will moved here, she might get upset too.

    … However, on the other hand, there are so many positive things, including weather, Nature, that makes us hard to stay away from this damned island 🙂

    I like following the Blog!

    Best Wishes

    • Hello, yes! I totally agree with you, there are so many positive and beautiful things on the island to focus on instead of moments like this. It’s just part of living this sweet life. I wish you well, and thank you for taking the time to reach out and comment.

  3. Hi, it’s not that they are hostile to foreigners, but to EVERYONE. I have been witness to this several times, any public office or Place where they are there to serve you, they give attiude,, condescend, and the Italians on the receiving end don’t sit quitely but TALK BACK, in an equally condescending tone, and It works ! You snap at each other then go on your way. I am still amazed but this happens If you are in a hospital as a PATIENT, and as a kid at school . Unfortunately part of the culture, probably the worst part. I was scolded by my son’s teacher because he didn’t bring the right pencil (for art) and i asked why , Is It mandatory to have that specific pencil ?! She scolded me, i Spoke back using formal Lei, that It seemed She was scolding me, and instead of talking about my son’s abilities, what was the point in coming to her ? She toned It Down After that. You gotta TALK right back, without losing It, you’ll feel much better and won’t stay pent up inside. I find a simple phone call to the bank works even Better than standing in line. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done !

    • I agree, it is with everyone, sadly. I should talk back in the same tone but it’s just not who I am. They know they made a mistake, I see them around, they used to wave, now they bow their head in shame. I’m not pent up about this any longer, that little cry and writing about it here helped release that anger. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences as well.

      • Because I live in Australia when I visit not just Sardinia but the all of Italy I notice the the culture of smiling and being helpful doesn’t exist.Italians may offer you accommodation and be enormously generous but they think kindness it’s not required when they serve you at work and you are a stranger,I am Italian and honestly I can’t understand it myself.If you do this in Australia you won’t last very long in your job.When I brought my mother over here she had a hard time understand why ”qui tutti ridono e ti chiedono come stai prima di servirti”…”ma non ridono mamma,sorridono,è per gentilezza!”was my answer.
        I agree with Diana,you have to talk back and raise your voice,I have done it a couple of times

      • Hello. Great comment, thank you. I can’t say this happens all the time, but the majority of time it does happen and it’s totally frustrating. It took me a few months to get back in the “system” of living in Italy. What would be the reason for poor customer service? 🤷‍♀️ Thanks again for reading and commenting. I wish you all the best.

  4. Jennifer
    I am so very sorry that this happened to you, banks personnel are a bit crazy lately and one is not treated as a customer, but as a child. This sometimes happens here in the states as well. Just be yourself and with pride, do what you feel is right for you and walk away. Many people live and are very happy in their world of superiority! No one is free from ignorance, you just need to rise above it always. Have a better day and stay safe, change you bank and May God Bless.

    Love & Hugs,
    Rosemarie Kleinberg

  5. Why are they so hostile to foreigners? Do they resent needing your money? Is it just universal world xenophobia, found anywhere? Or is it specifically targeted at anglophones? Are there no other banks in town? This is so discouraging. I’ve been contemplating moving there. Maybe not.

    • I don’t believe this case is directed solely at foreigners. I honestly believe that these people just think they are better than others, they have no education on how to properly deal with people in a professional manner, most have never had training, also, in a very small town, everyone is always up in everyone’s business. We have two banks in town, I had to close the first account for similar reasons. 🤷‍♀️ It’s a beautiful place if you can put aside some of the ignorance.

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