Interactive Shopping

by Diana Blass (American University)
SHOPPING IN CAGLI is in a league all of its own. Different from America and even other sections within Italy itself, shopping here is catered towards specific stores for people with specific needs. No large go-to stores here, but rather there are only small, quaint boutiques that are particular to only certain items. But these small shops and boutiques also require a significant amount of interaction with the salesman or woman, which becomes even more difficult when one doesn't speak Italian.

My first memorable experience came when I went to the pharmacy to buy moisturizer. When I first walked in I saw the majority of all products to be behind the counter. That was when I realized that I should have brought my Italian-English dictionary. Slowly and cautiously I walked up to the counter. Pointing to my face and making a weird gesture as if I was trying to put on moisturizer, I tried to convey what I came to buy. First she handed me over bug spray and then anti-aging products. Repeatedly I tried and tried to signal what I needed. Eventually a small tube of moisturizer was handed over. Although I got what I came for, I did discover one thing. Customers must interact with the people who work at the stores, and the people who work in the stores must be skilled with what they are handing over.

I felt like I was in a doctor's office rather than just a regular pharmacy. Perhaps this is because the creams and other substances they hand over are more potent than those in America, or maybe it just relates back to the idea of true customer satisfaction. There is one thing that I will most definitely need in the future though: I will have to remember my dictionary.