by Melinda Gallo

Trusting that people are honest

One of the things that continually surprises me here is how people seem unconcerned about money. Sometimes I only carry a little coin purse to do my shopping so when I go to certain negozi (shops) where they know me, I can understand that when I don't have the money to pay my bill that they tell me to bring it to them the next time. I find it interesting though that each time I return to give them the money I owe, they just slide it into the till and thank me. They rarely check to make sure that I gave them what I owed. One woman I paid back didn't even remember that I owed her money, and argued with me that I must have been mistaken. It wasn't a lot of money, but I made sure she kept the 2 Euros I know I owed her.

Today I popped into the farmacia (pharmacy) on via dei Neri because I ordered something last Friday. The farmacista (pharmacist) told me that it wouldn't arrive until Wednesday, but that I could check any time I wanted. I was across the street and thought that I'd go in to ask just in case it arrived.

When the farmacista told me that it had arrived, I suddenly worried that I didn't have enough money for it. "Tredici cinquanta Thirteen fifty," he said as he wrapped the box with white paper. "Ho solo dieci Euro e forse qualche spicciolo I only have ten Euros and maybe some change," I admitted, feeling a bit embarrassed. I rarely go to the farmacista, so I assumed that I'd go home to get more money and come back.

"Non ti preoccupare Don't worry," he said with a smile and handed me my package. "Torno domani I'll come back tomorrow," I said, hoping to reassure him that he could trust me. "Faccia con calma Take your time," he said.

I walked down via dei Neri, wondering if I should run home, get the money, and go back into the farmacia to pay him. That's what I normally do, but I know he'd probably tell me that there was no need to rush around and pay him back so quickly.

Tomorrow morning the farmacia will be the first place I go to pay my debt. I'm sure that they won't remember because I didn't see him write it down. I admire the faith many have in people to be honest. They don't seem to worry that someone will try to rip them off. It's an attest to their character, and I feel fortunate that they also have faith in me without really knowing me.

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