Rule # 4 Practice Strategic Shopping
Unlike the shops at your local mall, you cannot expect everyone to open up at 10:00 and close at 7:00. Our local baker is opened in the mornings from 7:00 until 12:30 and then reopens from 5:30 until 8:30. On Saturdays her morning hours are the same, but on Saturday evenings she is only open until 7:45. On Sundays she is open for 17 minutes beginning at 9:26.
If you can’t memorize all these times, and I must confess that my memory lacks, do what I have done and make a simple chart with the days of the week written across the top and the various necessary stores listed along the side. Every time I go out, I simply carry the chart down three flights of stairs, unlock the wheels, and roll it along beside me down the street although sometimes the wheels get caught up on the syringes in the gutters.
The only store that appears to be open whenever you might want it to be open is Blockbuster Video. This may be due to the fact that Blockbuster is such an American institution that they figure all of the Americans in town will expect it to be open whenever they want it to be open. When you walk in you will find that it looks just like the Blockbuster at your mini-mall back home, and just like that Blockbuster back home, three people can walk into it together, scan the hundreds of selections in the racks and not find one thing that they really want to see.
And here’s another little shopping tip. In America you say, “Gimme a pack of Marlboros”. In Florence you say, “Good morning, ma’am. How are you? Fine? That’s nice. Me? Not bad, not bad. Little cold last night, but that’s the end of September for you. What a pretty dress. Yes, yes, very pretty in truth. Oh, me, well I suppose I would like to purchase a pack of Marlboros.” The rule here is simple: be nicer than you would think humanly possible in entering and leaving any store and you will get the best pack of Marlboros the store has to offer.