Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Venting... no Italy visa for us :-(

Why do diplomats/Government officials who are representing their country in a foreign land have to be so rude?

Yesterday, I went to see a local consulate of Italy in Minnesota to get my signature notarized so that I can apply for schengen visa.
I had called her twice before going there and left one message and had sent an email asking for her availability but she didn’t respond and the Italian consulate website gave public hours to her office as 9:00am -12:30pm. So, there I am with all the paper work missing my department meeting at work and she says it’s by appointment only. I asked what would be a good time and she said Friday between 5:00pm and 6:00pm.
Mind it, its Monday morning we are talking about.
I told her that our potential travel date is two weeks away and we are in hurry and as I was in the middle of the sentence, she said come back at 5:00pm in the evening and slammed the door on my face.
I was shocked, I wasn’t asking for charity, it’s her job and she is based in Minnesota so that we don’t have to go to Chicago personally. Because of her presence here, I have to get my signature notarized through her or else go to Chicago. Unlike other consulates, I can’t use a third party to represent me.
I was so disappointed, I told Devesh I don’t want to go to Italy. If this is how they welcome people to their country, I am better off not going…and we are not going, for this and other reasons.

I have experienced this before, back in 2000 when we were planning a trip to Paris to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. I talked to French Consulate twice; they were so uncooperative I was turned off. Especially after hearing all the stories about French being snobbish and not prefer to speak English…I didn’t want to go.
We went...
And the people were so different from what I was expecting, they were the nicest people and went out of their way to help us. It was eye opening…

May be, we’ll plan on going to Italy sometime in future but this experience has certainly put it off for a while…I think all government representative should take a customer care training and should learn to be a little more tactful, a little more responsible, a bit polite.

Just needed to share it with someone...

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