A few weeks ago I recieved a lovely gift from a New Jersey pal. It was an envelope with six artfully designed dish towels. Scrawled across the envelope was €15.29. Since I wasn’t home when the envelope came, the postman couldn’t collect the duty. Actually, until my pal Nicola explained what the scrawl was I didn’t realize I owed the post office anything or that the number scratched was a tax. Yup, on an envelope with contents valued at $50 it was simply scrawled €15.29. The recipient would know through osmosis that it was a tax. Note, I said the amount was scrawled across the envelope. There was not an official stamp, not a receipt, not – well not a thing to indicate why I had to pay someone anything.
A few weeks went by and I didn’t go to the post office. I never got a formal notice of owing the duty tax. I kind of just forgot about it. Guess who didn’t forget about it? Il postino, the postman. Finally, one day I was home when he came. What I didn’t know was that when he got back to the post office from his route he had to pay the €15.29 in duty. He delivered the envelope and he was responsible.
Errrrrggggg, I felt like a real creep for not following up and paying. When I paid him and asked if there was a receipt of any kind from the customs people he looked at me like I was crazy.
Welcome to Italia.