Change Me, Please!

italian

Somewhere in Rome, there is a shop with my name. “Danielle,” announces the sparkling store window. Inside, it bursts with buckled ankle boots, soft ballet flats, and killer four-inch heels, all carefully crafted from supple Italian leather. I’ve been there. I’ve tried on countless shoes there. And I’ve made a purchase there, only to discover that in my narcissistic haste to buy shoes emblazoned with my name, I managed to grab a pair that were not, in fact, the shop’s own brand. 

My first reaction, upon arriving back at my hostel, was to consider banging my head into a wall, much like a cartoon character might. Foregoing that, I gathered up the shoebox and bag and trekked back across town. If the salespeople had been busy when I was first there, they were busier now; a Saturday afternoon in Rome’s shopping district is not the time for protracted conversation. To that end, my receipt clearly stated that returns would not be allowed on weekend purchases. Did I feel like the ultimate ugly tourist? Yes, absolutely. Did I try to return them anyway? Yes, I did. The mistake was mine, no doubt, but I took a deep breath and stepped back into the shop.

In my rapidly failing Italian, I found a salesman I had spoken to earlier. From his end, my entreaties probably sounded something like this:

“Hi– the shoes? My name is Danielle. You can help?”

He glanced at me as he gathered shoes for another woman. Raising an eyebrow, he informed me that yes, I had bought some shoes. And? As my stress increased, my Italian got worse:

“Can you tell me to change them? Please, please. My name is Danielle. Why I buy…my name. Help?” Catching my drift, he shook his head firmly and pointed to the receipt in my hand. No returns on Saturday. He turned away.

Desperate, I cast about for someone else and spied another saleswoman I had seen on my first visit:

“Hello! I change shoes. Other shoes, more cost. I change them. My name is Danielle.” Furrowing her brow, but softening slightly at just how pitiful I appeared, she looked at the shoebox.

“Maybe,” she said, struggling to help an Italian woman into knee-high boots. “Why don’t you talk to the manager? He speaks English.”

I nodded eagerly. “Yes, yes, thank you! Yes I speak English!” She pointed at an older gentleman near the register. Feeling a glimmer of hope, I brought my shoebox to him.

“Yes speak English? Please, change me please.” He smiled despite the furor in his shop, taking the box and receipt out of my hands and switching to English.

“You want to exchange, sí? We can exchange, no problem. You go find another pair, then bring them back to me.”

I found my new heels, at a slightly higher cost but with my name clearly embossed on the insoles, and wove my way back to the manager. We completed the return. As he handed me the shoes, he grinned:

“You’re Danielle, sí? You enjoy those shoes,” he said cheerfully, disappearing back into the shopping melee. Grateful for his indulgence, but avoiding the eyes of the other two salespeople as I hurried out the door, I left with my shoes and more than a little embarrassment.

What was that Greek myth about Narcissus causing his own demise? There may be something to be learned there…

(photo courtesy of artur84/freedigitalphotos.net)

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

Danielle Restuccia About Danielle Restuccia

Danielle Restuccia is a freelance writer in several industries, including education, healthcare, and insurance. She previously taught middle and high school English, and in her free time, she’s an avid runner and triathlete. You can follow her on twitter @DMRestuccia and check out her blog at www.daniellerestuccia.com

  • Lara

    this has been the funniest that I have read yet on here

    • TheBigMilkshake

      We like it too Lara!

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