A meander around the world of my life (edible, mostly).

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Getting the Mafia's Money

Ever go to an ATM at the Banco di Sicilia and wonder what happens on the other side?

Well, I did.

Here in Florence, there are several banks to choose from, especially where I live. In fact, at the closest major piazza (Piazza Beccaria) there are no fewer than 5 banks all right next to each other, including the Banco di Sicilia. This is like the "gas station" effect seen in the states - you put up your gas station on that corner, I put up my gas station on mine (as a sidenote, that's a bad idea: see

Back to the Bank of Sicily. There are no instructions on how to put in your card, you just slide it in the slot hoping that it's oriented correctly. Then, you wait. And boy, do I mean wait. Sometimes you'll wait up to 30 seconds before getting a response on the screen, which makes you wonder what's going on. Are the Sicilians busy doing drug deals? Are they arguing about the fact that the other night Mamma made cannoli with 2 spoons of sugar instead of 3? One never knows.

After you go through the whole process of entering your PIN and pressing the € button, you must wait more. And more. See, here at the Banco di Sicilia, the Sicilians inside the ATM don't have to give you your money immediately, because they're always on their lunch breaks.

Which makes you wonder why the cannoli you ordered at the pasticceria only took 2 seconds, but the money you ordered at the ATM took 2 minutes.

In druggery,