It really is a wonder that any business in Italy can survive in the anything but predictable manner of life here.
As one example, the bookstore which I particularly enjoy receives shipments of course each week but never seems to know what books are coming in. This prompted repeated stops from me in my quest to find John L. Allen, Jr.'s The Global War on Christians (which, if you haven't yet, you really should read). For four weeks in a row the owner of the story told me when the next shipment of English books was due in and for four weeks in a row I would go to buy the book only to find it had not come with that particular shipment. And, before you ask, he knew which book I wanted and knew of it, but never offered to order it specially for me.
As another example, the store from which I have been buying Dr Pepper with some regularity has not had any for the past five visits I have made to the store, despite repeated assurances it would come in on certain days. Having grown frustrated with the routine disappointment I took to the Internet to acquire my favorite beverage.
The buy it online would cost me slightly more than buying it in the store but, so I told myself, at least I would have it. I placed an order on November 30th and was told it would arrive in 3 - 10 days, anywhere, theoretically, between December 5th and 14th. Then, three days later on December 3rd, I received an e-mail informing me the shipment would arrive on December 14th.
Just a few moments ago I received a phone call from the office of the secretary here at the Casa Santa Maria that a package had arrived for me. Having no idea what it was or from whom it be I found the package heavy and awkward without any sign of the sender on the outside of the box. When I opened it in my room I was surprised - and very happy - to find the Dr Pepper I ordered.
I can't help but wonder if Saint Nicholas has had something to do with this.