Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Time to Pay

by Nick Stjern 
Italy is often thought of as a place filled with tiny café’s where individuals can order a cappuccino, eat a pastry, and take some time to savor the day. Few foreigners would argue with the beauty of these types of settings, but they may find themselves a bit out of place when they try to pay their bill. The tendency for many busy Americans is to pay their bill when they have ordered their food at the counter. However, this is not the observed custom in Italy. There is a great deal of trust between the business and the customers. Employees seem to expect people to order their food - and enjoy it - before ever worrying about exchanging any money. The overall effect of this process creates a sense of relaxation, which seems to be representative of the attitudes of many Italians. They never seem to be in a rush to get things done and they trust that things will happen when the time is right, instead of when it is scheduled or expected. 

Coming from the United States, I am considering whether a system like this would work in the US. I’m surprised to hear that locals don’t take advantage of this type of social arrangement. If Starbucks adopted this type of system in Seattle, I imagine that several people would simply get their coffee and leave without paying the bill. This demonstrates how it may not be so simple to take one system – which seems to be an embodiment of an entire cultures approach to daily life – and insert it into another. I suppose the picturesque café lifestyle will have to remain in Italy for now.