I hadn't realized quite how much I might miss having internet access at home, but I do. Yesterday I phoned Telecom Italia once again to discover when I might have a line at home, to be told that as a result of "technical problems" the earliest they could say was 28th January. I asked first on 17th November. This country would be so great if they could just fix one or two little things like that. And the Post Office. Some bills are most easily (sic) paid at the Post Office. So yesterday I went along and used the fancy-pants queueing system to get a ticket. Number 383. Currently serving, 105 or thereabouts. What a farce. Off I went to do some shopping, visit an internet point, see to one or two other chores. Came back and hour and a quarter later and they were serving number 148.

Four counter assistants had managed 43 people in 75 minutes.

Which might, at a pinch, be acceptable if at some point the fancy-pants system stopped issuing tickets and the counter people continued to work until they had dealt with all the people waiting. But no. The Post Office shuts at 2 pm, presumably so that everyone who works there can go and do their second job in the black economy. I read pieces in The Economist about the costs of various kinds of inefficiencies, and marvel at the numbers. But somehow seeing Italians queuing all morning to pay their bills (for which privilege they are charged, of course) brings it all home.

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