An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Story Behind My Capri Watch

I can't think of the Island of Capri without sighing. The rowboats moored in the marina, the winding streets and alleys, the dazzlingly white buildings, the flowers spilling out of pots and balconies . . . it was all so beautiful.

We walked for hours, and in exploring the piazza we passed a jewelry shop showcasing a Capri Watch, sold exclusively on the island, with a big face and a white band.

Now, before I continue I need to explain something: some women collect shoes, some like handbags, some purchase outfits, but I like watches. That is my jewelry of choice. And the bigger, the better.

I walked on, only to have my husband call me back and pull me into the store.

When the owner opened the case and slid the Capri Watch on my wrist, he declared it perfect. And because he liked us, and because it was a perfect day, and because he had a generous soul, he was going to offer us a sconto.

Now things were getting fun.

While a sconto literally means discount, it really conveys more than that: it's a song and dance routine of doing business the Italian way.

It's the old, toothless man at the market in Poppi who was so delighted that I, an American, spoke Italian that he not only gave me a sconto for the two hand towels I purchased, but then gave me a third one for free.

It's the ticket agent at the train station in Pompeii who gave us a sconto (which, in this case, meant a free ticket) for Timothy because he was un bambino piccolino.

It's the waiter who brought pasta for everyone when we only ordered it for the kids (he said that the chef thought the adults should have some, too). We were not charged for the extra pasta.

It's the gatekeeper at the Oplontis Villa who, because it was late in the day, let us all in free. (But Sh! don't tell anyone! he said with a wink.)

So, the owner of the jewelry store said sconto . . . and that word was music to my husband's ears. While they went back and forth I tried not to smile . . . I had a feeling this song and dance was going to end in a good way.

And it did. The owner declared his price, clutching his heart like it was paining him to offer such a sconto, but with a twinkle in his eye that said otherwise.

My husband pulled out his wallet, frowning like he was displeased, but with a twinkle in his eye that said otherwise.

When we left the shop, the owner was smiling, my husband was smiling, and I was beaming.

Yesterday I mentioned how it is the story behind the purchase which makes an item special, and this is so true . . . for as much as I like my Capri Watch (and I really, really do like it), I like the memory of that 30 minutes in a jewelry store on the Island of Capri even more.

It really is all about the story.


Tiziana said...

Come mi piace leggere il tuo blog, Maria, mi sembra di essere stata con te in quel negozio di gioielleria, mi trasmetti tante emozioni.
Mi dispiace non aver visto il tuo orologio, ma sono sicura che ti sta benissimo. I negozianti sono bravi a vendere e le mogli....a convincere i mariti(poverini, ci cascano sempre).
Ciao, ancora una volta di devo dire che mi piace tanto come scrivi.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) said...

Dear Maria the watch wearer,

The story IS a great one, but where's the photo of the watch?

With love from Ellie, whose wrists are so tiny, watches look like belts around them

GrandmaK said...

Oh what wonderful memories you have!! I love reading about your adventures! Also,I'm dropping by to let you know you have been tagged for the Catholic Prayer Meme. My best! Cathy

Therese said...

I love that story! My best memories of sconto come from haggling with someone in the flea market in Florence. I walked away with a beautiful lace tablecloth for my mother, only to get it home and find it was literally about 10 feet too long!

Ua said...

let's see a picture of the watch!

Lisa said...

Oh, goodness sakes, Bia! Let us see the watch! ;)