Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Taking care of business Italian style

I still sometimes can't understand how some Italians do (or don't do) business. It makes you wonder how sometimes stuff like new Ferraris, Moto Guzzis, Gaggia coffee machines, Ducatis or any type of pasta actually gets made and exported. I'm pretty experienced in buying stuff in and out of Italy, and speak the language fluently. I've lived there so know how it works, most of the time, but even I'm taken aback occasionally.

I recently saw a Guzzi Lodola of little value and of need of restoration on an Italian website for sale, and was interested in possibly buying it. The photo (above) was dark and of crap quality. I emailed and asked if politely if it would be possible to see more photos of the bike in question as the single photo was dark and of poor quality. The email conversation went like this:

Me: "Hello, I am interested in the bike for sale. Do you please have any more photos of the bike you could send me?

Him: "The photo I have put up is of a bike identical to the one I'm selling. You can come and see it if you're interested."

Me: "Thanks but I'm in the UK, though I do have friends and relatives in Italy to sort things out in case I buy the bike (me trying to be reassuring). Do you have some photos of the actual bike you are selling?"

Him: "There's that photo and that's all. The bike I'm selling is all covered up to protect it. It takes time to do all that, and so then if you don't buy the bike, I'll have wasted a lot of time. The bike is identical to the one in the photo".

Me: "Fine, thanks, forget it."

Him: "If you want to see it you can send one of your relatives to Bologna to see it."

I didn't reply, but was wondering to myself -  if I send someone to Bologna to view the bike, would he not have to open it up all the same? And does he really think that someone will buy a bike based on looking at a murky photo of a similar bike?

Unbelievable logic...

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