Monday, 18 March 2013

A story...


I knew a bloke who set up an erboristoria in Ragusa - or rather his wife did and Dave helped. Now, as you'll know, to set up any shop in Italy requires a licence and, in this case, there was a further licence because of the medical nature of a herbalist.

Now in Sicily there are three ways to get a licence.

The first way is to go to the municipio queue up and collect the requisite form, complete the form, attach the requisite payment and submit it to the appropriate official. And wait. And wait. There is a chance that, at some point in the future, that official (or someone on his staff) will not be at important meetings, at lunch or otherwise engaged. And will deign to look at the completed form, apply the stamp of approval and place it in the tray for the licence to be sent. There is even a chance that the licence is actually posted back.

The second way to get a licence is to get your neighbours cousin - the one with the nice car who never seems to work - to get his business associates to speak to the official in question. Shortly after this the license will be issued. However, each Wednesday friends of the cousin call in and politely ask for a small consideration for their efforts. Not paying this consideration is, I believe, foolish.

The third way to secure that license involves the most expensive espresso you've ever bought. You speak to the local mayor and he tells you he can help and can you meet him at his brother's caffetteria perhaps for a late morning caffè. You agree and on arriving you buy the mayor a coffee, hand him the completed form. He drinks the coffee (it being Italy this takes little more than a minute), says he's happy to help and leaves. The brother brings the bill across. Your eyes pop out but you pay secure in the knowledge that tomorrow your licence will arrive.

Quite which option Dave and his wife used I don't know.

It may all be a myth, of course!


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