Roma: The Roman Mall Adventure
The following takes place on June 20th, between 12:00 and 14:00 hours.
So, we were in Rome, and we needed to go to a mall. I know this sounds a little odd and everything, but when you are anywhere for over a month, at one point or another everyone finds themselves saying, “Crap, I need to get something from a mall.” It happens to the best of us, and it happens all the time to teenagers.
While the majority of the proper words leave you when you walk into a strange place, you are left speechless for what seems like decades when you walk into a foreign mall. Everything is very familiar, but at the same time written in a totally different language with people wearing almost nothing. It is almost like the place has been designed around convince, and not the act of trapping you there for as long as possible, making sure that you spend as much as possible.
Oh, wait, there is an GameStop. Please ignore that last paragraph.
My spirits were lifted knowing that I was around a vast amount of geeks, or three of them, who wanted nothing more then to be in a game store on a Monday afternoon talking about Disgaea and all of the great aspects of Forza vs. Gran Tourismo. Ok, two of them were staff, who were also strangely super-model grade women, and the other one was a father looking for a game for his son, but the fact is that I was in my comfort zone.
At this point in the voyage Veronica was more then happy to receive a phone call from anyone, pulling her out of the store. Thusly she wandered off into the great void that is known as Italy. She didn’t really speak, didn’t really say anything, she just left the store.
Regardless of what you think about your language skills, if you know basic human interaction you can kind of figure out what is going on at that moment. The father in the store had no idea what his son liked, and didn’t want to spend more then 3 Euro. The people working in the store were attempting to explain to him that wasn’t really a choice, and I had come to the realization that unless I went back and modded my PS2 I couldn’t play any of the games in the store. Also, I remembered that everything comes out three months later in Europe.
Because I know that Veronica comments on everything that I put up here, I am just going to stick with the facts and away from the store telling for the events that happened for the next 30 minutes. I left the store. Veronica wasn’t where she said she would be. I searched the entire mall. I went outside thinking that I should probably get a cab back to where I was staying, oh, wait, there she is.
So the next leg of our adventure involved us going into a massive electronics store. Think “Best Buy” but scummy, not as scummy as Circuit City. At that point you have exactly what this store looks like, blue shirts and everything.
Now I am normally someone who walks through life being really paranoid about everything. Everyone knows something I don’t, the government is watching, the government has files on me, the government is out to get us all (As you can probably guess, I was unbelievably surprised the day that I was allowed to leave the country). But there are times that everything around you just seems to agree with the paranoya you are experiencing.
What I am getting at is this, everyone in that store spoke English, they were just being dicks about it.
So here is how the experience works, and please keep in mind that everyone is trying to act like they have no idea what we are saying, even though we aren’t “using words” as much as point and asking to pay for the product:
You find one of the sales associates, who is noticeably unhappy to be in the store to begin with, and see if you can get him to retrieve the items that you need out of lock-up so that you can pay for it. But it isn’t that simple. The angry teenage looks at you, looks at what you are pointing at, and then decides if that is something that he even cares to get. Keep in mind that this entire experience can last for up to two minutes, a process that drew out even longer for us because they knew that we didn’t speak the language, also I am pretty sure this dick wants to torture us.
Here is the tricky part, you don’t get the item when he pulls it out of lock up, you get a barcode representation of the item that you want, you then take that up to the front of the store and pay for that. Fine, another layer of pain.
But no, the people at the front of the store act like we did something wrong and send us back, with no explanation. It isn’t that we screwed up or anything, they just sent us back to where we started to not have to deal with us. This entire “back and forth” process lasted for about 45 minutes until someone just rang us out, after which we still had to go to the back of the store, where we started to retrieve our items.
After that Veronica felt like lunch.
Travelers Tip: If you have had an experience with anyone being a dick to you at all during the day, do not go to a local eatery. They will ignore you and wait on the people whom they know.
Double Points Travelers Tip: When taking a number make sure that you can speak whatever language that number is going to be called out in. If you question this point, please see the first tip.
Triple for the win Tip: If you are hungry because you haven’t eaten all day, please regard the first two points and just get fast food. No one in your party will start blaming each other on why the entire experience of “eating local” failed.