We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh boy,another go round with Vodafone

I thought I'd start this blog off with a happy photo, cause my day yesterday wasn't all that great. Enjoy one of my favorite views in Venice of the Rialto bridge on a recent afternoon.

Yesterday, I had to deal with Vodafone - again.  I avoid this like the plague. Vodafone is the company we have our mobile phone and internet service with.  When we originally set up our account with them, we went to the store at the foot of the Rialto instead of the one closest to our apartment, because at Rialto there were a few employees who spoke English better.  Every time we have a need to deal with our Vodafone account, the clerks who work at our local Vodafone shop refuse to help us. They always direct us back to Rialto, citing as a reason that we must go to where we set up the account. We have always thought this was nonsense, but  not knowing any better, we do what we are told.  We've learned the hard way you just don't argue with these people.

So- yesterday we discovered mid day that our phone service had been interrupted. Mid day. Great. Vodafone is closed for siesta and wouldn't be open until 3:30.  Not wanting to go back to the Rialto area a second time that day (I had been there in the morning too), I went to our local Vodafone shop at 4pm, hoping they might be able to save me a trip to Rialto. I did this, but mind you, I was expecting the worst.

I knew that to get the phone service turned back on I was going to have to make a payment at the Post Office in cash, but I needed to know how much money was needed.  All I wanted was for the woman at the local Vodafone store to look up the account and tell me the amount. I was already geared up for the long line I'd incur over at the Post Office. It was not going to be a good afternoon.  On top of that,  I already knew that she was just going to look at me and say "You need to go to the Rialto office".  Still, I slapped a smile on my face (all the while gritting my teeth at the same time), and asked the woman to please help me.

Here it comes, I thought to myself. Why didn't I just go to Rialto to begin with??  Hope against hope, I'm always the optimist. Or maybe I am a masochist and I'm fooling myself!

After making my plea for help, this woman tells me she will find out how much I owe and I can make the payment by credit card right there.  What?  Say that again, per favore?? Did I understand you correctly?
This cannot be!!!  The reason I say that is because I had already been told by Vodafone many many times that we could  never pay our account by our US bank issued credit card. Our payment had to be from an Italian bank account, or on an Italian credit card. We'd gone round and round and lost this battle with Vodafone long ago.

Again, this woman says she will do it. I hand her my phone, she calls customer support, she gets the amount owed from them, and asks me to hand over my credit card and my documentation.  In two minutes, everything is finished and my service is restored.  It turns out I probably could have done all this myself if I could have understood the Vodafone customer service voice menu system. It's impossible- the Italian recordings speak at breakneck speed. I am completely at a loss if I have to deal with any menu system here. This woman, for whatever reason, decided she would help me out, and I am grateful beyond belief. I was doing a happy dance in the Vodafone store. I don't know what this woman ate for lunch, but it made her very cooperative.  She never had been before.

I'm about to leave the store when she asks if I want to make future payments by credit card also?  What, are you kidding me???  She is volunteering to do even more for me?? Sure, that would be fabulous. She gets back on the phone with customer service, and in two more minutes has updated my account so that now all payments will be on this credit card.  I'm thinking to myself I need to go directly to the church around the corner to light candles, and do not pass Go.

After just about kissing this woman and multiple "Grazie mille's", I did immediately duck into San Pantalone, lit a candle, and said a quick prayer of thanks to God, and to the Vodafone God, and one last prayer for the health of my Vodafone woman.

Then, I made that phone call to Mike (yes, the phone was working!) and  invited him to the mini-celebration I was about to have for myself in Campo Santa Margherita. This called for a prosecco!

BTW- I did not speak one word of English during my entire time in the Vodafone store. Perhaps this woman finally took pity on me because I have been trying so hard to speak the lingo???  


Andrew said...

The Lord moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform. He even deals with mobile phone companies apparently. Well done. ( Saw you with Yvonne on Venice Daily Photo- lovely for you both)

Kate said...

Wonderful little anecdote. Life offers opportunities for many small celebrations!!

karen said...

Kate-- so true! One of the biggest things I've learned from living here is to truly slow down, live each day as if it's my last one, and enjoy/celebrate small moments.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, I hope I see you here with me often!


karen said...

Ciao, Andrew!

Running into Pierre with Yvonne was quite a coincidence. She had just been telling me that she met Pierre and his wife the previous night, and not two seconds later we bump into them in the street. Venice is like that!

Andrew said...

Someone should organise a venetophiles' get-together. You and Mike, Yvonne, Bert, Annie, Pierre and his wife, Erla and her husband, my wife,Cheryl, and me. We could have our own Carnevale ball at a fraction of the going rate! Note that first word - someone!

karen said...

Andrew- that's a fabulous idea!!I will be happy to take on the task, but for 2013. We're headed to Portugal on Feb 9, returning the last night of Carnevale so we'll miss all of it in Venice. That gives all of us a year to get it on our calendars and plan costumes!

Anonymous said...

OK, Carnevale 2013! Then, there's Fausto and his wife, Steven (Sig. Nonloso on my blogroll) and his missus, BluOscar and his wife, Walter http://laltravenezia.blogspot.com/ and his lady, and anyone else we can drag off the street. Woot! I do love a good party. May I wear red?

You must have been flabbergasted with your triumph at Vodafone, Karen.

karen said...

Yvonne- looks like we've got a party in the making. Now we need to be sure we know Carnevale dates for 2013!

Yes, RED probably should be our theme for the event! Wouldn't that be fabulous?

I cannot tell you how relieved I was over the Vodafone adventure. I was expecting I'd need tranquilzers afterwards, and it turns out all I needed was a prosecco!

Yesterday I went to Sacco Fisola, but did not get any good photos. I'm headed back on Monday or tuesday, but the Mercatino is only there on Fridays. Must have some photos though, looks like Fridays I'll be returning!

Andrew said...

Shrove Tuesday 2013 is 13th Feb. I'm already bringing a group of friends to the Carnevale and they're all party people.

karen said...

Andrew- see what you have started!!! Let the planning commence....

Michelle said...

Could we do another Carnivale celebration in 2014?? It would make a lovely party celebrating my retirement!
How are those Italian lessons coming Karen??

karen said...

Michelle- I am sure we can get this to be an ongoing event.

As for my Italian lessons- my Italian tutor Marzia moved back to Rome some months back, so I haven't had formal lessons since then. But- I have a stack of workbooks and online courses I use regularly. I watch some Italian movies and have been reading lately. This week I'm into a Nancy Drew book, and doing pretty well. I struggle still with pronouns and prepositions, and also with the Imperfetto tense. I use every opportunity I can to open my mouth and speak. I've eeked up to Intermediate level. Perhaps another few years I will be fluent???? Still trying. After all, I'm an old dog :)

Marisa said...

Hello Karen
Love the Vodaphone story! So Italian! Only in Italy! Great job with speaking as much italian as you can. That's the way to learn. Listening to italian music is another way to easily memorize and understand verb tenses. Zucchero is my favorite. He was recently in Rhode Island for a concert. It was terrific and his new album is great. His lyrics are very moving. Keep practicing. I try to daily to speak, read, sing, or even think in Italian here in the states but it is difficult with the majority of my day teaching English to (believe it or not) English language learners! I do my best when I am in Italy because I am summered in the culture. Hey, Can I join your party!? Would love to go to Carnevale again. The only thing though it has to fall on a school vacation ( the third week in February). I am a teacher so I can not take other time off besides the vacations. I went to Carnevale 2001. It was wonderful! It would be more fun to celebrate with "locals" though. When it falls on my school vacation I will definitely consider a trip to Venezia!
Keep your posts coming! I feel like I am right there with you walking the calle! Buona gornata!
A presto

Michelle said...

I don't care what they say...old dogs can still learn new tricks.
Good for you for keeping up with the lessons.

Dianne said...


Your Vodafone story was great. I've run into problems when trying to get a SIM card for my French phone so I have just given up. The French phone works in Italy so I lack the incentive to continue the quest.

I know just what you mean about pronouns and prepositions. I learn them and do the exercises but then when I need them I always make mistakes. Part of the problem is my French keeps getting in the way for the prepositions which are similar but sometimes completely different in the two languages. Oh well, maybe one day it will magically come.


hotels at Venice airport said...

Rialto Bridge is my favorite Venetian sight, and I feel kind of happy that it inspired you to this article.

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Gabriana said...

This is hilarious! About to embark on my own Vodafone experience (the phone I got on my trip last year doesn't seem to work this year), I found your blog while searching to see if they're open on Sundays. I had a couple of go-rounds with them last year and it was madness!

Gabriana said...

This is hilarious! About to embark on my own Vodafone experience (the phone I got on my trip last year doesn't seem to work this year), I found your blog while searching to see if they're open on Sundays. I had a couple of go-rounds with them last year and it was madness!