I have been scarred for life by this experience and it is only now, 5 days later, that I can talk about it with you!
I went to Panorama, which is a takeoff of a Super WalMart on the mainland. They have a free bus from the island to entice the locals to go. I made a purchase of a microwave and a telephone. The microwave was supposed to be 39 euros and the telephone 19 euros. At the cash register, I was given some sort of discount on the microwave and it totaled to 27 euros while the telephone totaled 42 euros! Since the two adjustments almost cancelled each other out, I didnt notice until after I paid and was on the bus home. Oh well....
Back at home, the telephone that I was given was losing it's charge after about 5 minutes of talking,which is why I purchased a new one. When I shared that information, I was told that this is some special feature on their phones to remind you that you have been talking for 5 minutes (apparently it costs alot to be on the phone here and you need help staying off!). If you just push this little button, you get to talk for as long as you want...ok, whatever..I'm not even going to ask.
So, I go back to Panorama to return my telephone and in my broken Italian I explain to the service desk my dilemma. She sends me back to electronics where they ring up some receipt and send me back to the service desk where she prints out my credit of 42 euros on a receipt. As much as I can understand of the conversation and the writing on the paper, I have 60 days to use this credit and can only use it at this store....makes sense....lets go shopping!
I purchase 21 euros of items and stand in line at the checkout....keep in mind, I am now trained like a Pavlovian dog to expect something horrible to happen at the checkout line. Not to be disappointed, I got the heavy sigh when I handed over my credit paper. She informed me (rather overtly) that I had to in fact, spend the entire 42 euros in one sitting and that I couldnt get 21 euro credit after todays purchase. I cant even fathom this being an option let alone the rule, so I argue for a bit...she looks for people to speak English (even though I understand perfectly what she is saying), and the people in line behind me are patiently and unpatiently waiting.
At one point, I thought she was going to give in, but instead, she grabbed my bag of belongings and took them out one by one and out of reach from me and started to serve the next person in line! The extent of rudeness at the cashier line never ceases to amaze me. When you think you have seen and experienced it all, they one up you!
Well, I gave in, gave some snide remarks in English and paid her the 21 euros. As my way of getting back, I handed her a 100 euro bill and no change (just to tick her off!) I truly didnt know whether to be angry or just laugh. I chose the latter but I kid you not that my adrenaline starts to pump every time I get close to a cashier. Its a horrible feeling and it boggles the mind that this type of behavior goes on and is condoned. I am all about embracing the culture, but this event is beyond comprehension.
So, I have about 55 days now to use my 42 euros credit....I can hardly wait to go back to Panorama and get abused again!