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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Our Local Video Store

This video store cannot actually be called a “store” can it; if it is only manned 3-4 hours a day? Most of the time I end up using the automated features. I choose a movie from a long list, select it, then stick my card in another slot and wait while the DVD is retrieved via secret backroom conveyer belt. So far, so good, in 3 months the machine has never made a mistake. The only problem with the movies is that if I choose to watch a foreign film, let’s say “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” the only languages available are Mandarin and Italian. Italy does not automatically subtitle foreign movies with English subtitles. Films I would be able to watch in the U.S. are harder to see here. Only the movies that are originally in English work for me. I was sad when I could not watch “The Sea Inside”. It’s a Spanish movie, spoken in Spanish with Italian subtitles.

In Torino, Italians seems as busy and business savvy as Americans, this self-service video store is a fantastic idea. They charge by the minute and so after we’re done watching the DVD; we often take the dog on short walk and return the movie to save money. Why not? BlockBuster was charging us about 4.99 Euros for a 2 day movie, this place charges something ridiculous like .16 Euros an hour, there is a bit of a credit and advantage in returning it early, unlike BlockBuster. This is consumerism at its best. Now I just have to figure out why it’s bad when Americans do it!

5 Comments:

At 4:30 AM, Blogger Ann said...

We've got tons of the automated video machines also here in Busto Arsizio, which is in between Milan and Varese.

 
At 10:48 PM, Anonymous dario said...

Years ago, my friend S moved for one year to Japan. He told me that he didn't buy any fridge or other house appliance, because, he told me, since Japanese people like to have the last models of any electronics, they use to change the appliances even if they perfectly work, and to collect the "old" ones in proper spaces, so that people like S could make an use of them.
That is consumerism, which is the attitude to consume even if it is no need.
On itself i don't think that consumerism is bad, since i think that everybody is free to do whatever he feels like. But consumerism has some side-effects, the main of which is that make global society spread between riches and poors. Rich people being more rich while poor people being more poor. Infact, in that way, appliance compenies can sell expensive last models of their products only if there is people rich enough to buy them, despite if in other areas of the world people do not even need any fridge because they wouldn't have even food to put in it or electric to make it work. Wouldn't it be a better world if rich people didn't have enough money to change their brand new fridges so that poor ones did have atleast the much to buy food for theirs and their families?
I don't find any consumerism of this kind in blockbuster or automated video stores. But i think in some way you have reason. Italy is tending to be consumeristic as America is. For example i remember a commercial where a man is going back home with a shopping bag, and everybody stops him just to tell him "Grazie!", meaning that "consuming" means "running the echonomy good".
What?!?!?

 
At 2:51 AM, Anonymous gia-gina said...

Dario,
So glad to hear from you again. I am not an economist but when people work, they spend and when they spend it means there are jobs and so this I think means the country/economy is producing and therefore good. I agree with you 100% and the side effects of comsumerism and that it is a bad thing. Why do we have to rent DVD's at all hours of the day and night, can we read? can we write letters? can we do anything besides sit in front of a screen. I read somewhere that Italy is a visual culture and not many people read compared to England and other places. Speaking of reading, I have read this book call "Affluenza" which treats consumerism like a disease, like influenza. It is thought provoking. Italy is a land of shoppers, there is no doubt about that. In America we love big cars and big houses but here from my observations people love food, lingere, clothes, hair cuts, tanning, clothes, bags and shoes. It's a different kind of spending, I don't think Italians learned all this from Americans.

On a different note, my family grew up a bit poor and we made things for one another all the time. We even "made" Christmas trees from tropical ones. Whenever my dad had a birthday, he asked for something handmade. It rubbed off on me and I'm a crafty one alright. Thanks for your comments and I hope to see you and Rowena soon.

 
At 4:54 AM, Anonymous dario said...

That's true, Italians like different things than what Americans like, but also in Italy there is a consumist society. I didn't want to say that America is teaching Italy what to do. Moreover i didn't want to say that Americans have bad behaviors.
What i wanted to say is that consumerism has that side-effect to spread society between rich people and poor people.
I am not an economist, but i think it is true that the economy of a nation gets better if people of that nation consume more and more. If i buy a product/service even if i do not need that means that i give money to the company that produce that good, and at the end i give money to an employee of that company. So, that employee has more money to spend to buy goods/services, so to give to other people money and so on...
So production and services grow and the economy gets better. But with production and services also energy and raw materials are consumed, and we know that energy and raw materials usually come from the third world. Which means, at the end, that to have more money to spend in things we do not need, people from the third world are going to loose their raw materials and energy. For the good of our economy their economy is getting worst.
That's what "I" think against "consumerism", not what Italians think against Americans.
Usually Italians put their money on saving accounts. But there is a lot of people in general in the rich part of the world that use to spend their money charging on a credit even before they own those money. Which means that they are so poor that they cannot effort to buy things with their salary, or they spend all the money for buyng things they do not really need. Consumerism pushed to the limit is when somebody charge on a credit to buy something that he does not really need without having yet money to cover that credit. As far as i know that does not happen very frequently in Italy.

 
At 8:15 AM, Blogger Jasmine Jas said...

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