"Che cacchio fai?" Welcome to another informative and entertaining issue on Naples, "Only In Italy!"
We just found out Italian actress, Claudia Cardinale, regretted blowing off Marlon Brando when he attempted to seduce her a century ago. Now, she's home scratching her ass waiting for the phone to ring for work.
Enjoy the issue, keep writing and Grazie!
Florence - May 13, 2010 - Police have arrested five people accused of abusing employees and tricking customers into paying thousands of euros for cheap vacuum cleaners sold as anti-allergen equipment, the Italian media reported Tuesday.
The four men and one woman have been charged with conspiracy to commit tax fraud and business fraud, while 11 other individuals are still under investigation. Three properties worth 1.5 million euros have also been seized in connection with the investigation.
All had links to Italcarone, a Tuscan company that allegedly imported 350-euro vacuum cleaners from the United States that were then sold to Italian customers for around ten times that price. The appliances were branded as "electro-medical anti-allergen equipment", which customers were told would help treat respiratory disease and even cure asthma.
In the five years since it was created, the company is estimated to have sold over a million appliances, generating annual under-the-counter revenue of around five million euros.
Although the charges are fraud related, it was chiefly the business's appalling treatment of staff that helped bring the scam to light, investigators said. Unskilled staff in desperate need of money were recruited through newspaper advertisements and then trained either as telephone operators or as door-to-door salesmen.
Those working in the call center were set impossible targets, for which they were promised non-existent trips to exotic locations. They were expected to work up to 14 hours a day, with half an hour for lunch and timed bathroom breaks, and subjected to continual psychological and physical abuse, ex-employees claimed.
They said the company routinely used public humiliation in front of co-workers to keep employees in line. Some were even whipped on their legs when they failed to meet targets. Workers were 'boosted' by daily blasts of the national anthem and by motivational talks.
The door-to-door salesmen were encouraged to attempt their first demonstration to a relative or close friend - who would often buy the appliance out of support. However, the salesmen were then fired shortly afterwards without being paid, on the basis they had failed to meet the impossible quotas set.
"The employees were subjected to grueling and frequently humiliating work conditions," investigators commented.
"Porca puttana", the vacuum cleaner company from Dante's hell!
After reading an article as such, you have to understand one important fact: Italy does not have a dynamic economy.
Despite the much flaunted 'pass' in which Italy supposedly overtook Britain in the size of its economy in 1987, this was only due to our muttonhead politicians who decided (and admitted) to factoring Italyís black economy into the official figures. We have no clue if drug dealing and prosperous Mafia activities were calculated into the black market figures but we wouldn't put it pass the ex-chicken chasers who came up with the gov't statistics.
Our black economy is incredibly important. It is estimated that around 20% of work is done off the books and without paying any taxes.
Short term contracts are without boundaries. It is very common to come across rat-bastard employers who will offer you a sequence of short-term contracts, with a minimum of social protections, rather than a single permanent contract of employment.
And here's the kick in the "coglioni": Over 1/4 of Italian workers are persistently kept on these short term contracts.
Nepotism is very common and regarded as an accepted part of our culture. A job seeker may be told he is the most qualified applicant since Michelangelo but the position will be going to the nephew of some manager who is capable of picking his nose with his feet and do peculiar things with vegetables.
Look, while our 'Dolce Vita' is within reach for some, you may find earning a living here difficult. Be sure you have some personal connections or a rare skill like skinning varmints before considering moving to Italy.
The 157-page quality-of-life survey was conducted between October 30 and November 10 by the Gallup Organization in Hungary for the commission, which published the findings this week on its website. Gallup interviewed 37,500 citizens aged 15 and older in the 27-nation EU, Croatia and Turkey.
Italyís poorer southern regions have been plagued by organized crime, tax evasion and the countryís highest unemployment rate. In Sicily, where Palermo is located, the official unemployment rate is 14.1 percent compared with 6.4 percent in Lombardy, home to Italyís financial capital Milan.
When it comes to finding work, Diyarbakir in Turkeyís far flung eastern Anatolia offers better prospects than Italyís two biggest southern cities, according to the survey. In top-ranked Stockholm, 61 percent said they strongly or somewhat agree that itís easy to find a good job, compared with 3 percent in Naples and Palermo, both ranked last.
The scarcity of well-paid work has created a thriving underground economy, estimated to be worth as much as 19 percent of Italyís gross domestic product and bigger than Irelandís entire national wealth. Italians declare an average annual income of 18,373 euros ($23,127), a fraction of their real earnings, Rome-based research institute Censis estimates.
True. There are barely any jobs in Southern Italy. "Che merda", itís sad.
If you don't have a politician in your pocket then you'll go nowhere. Our incredibly thick-headed cousin, Filippo, is so desperate for work he'll kiss any politicianís ass. In fact, he kissed one politicianís ass for so long, his face is the shape of his crack ("minchia", what a shame. He was already repulsive looking).
What this article doesn't explain is the inefficiency and laziness of the "grandissimi figli di una vacca" in Palermo and Naples who work as state employees:
- They'll find 17 reasons to do anything except what they're paid for.
That's why we're convinced the Italian scooter had to be invented by a Southern Italian. They invented a motorized bike so small and fast, it could give them a quick get-away when thereís work to be done.
Unfortunately, this exemplary and virtuous attitude Southern Italians have towards working has been passed down from generation to generation.
Southern Italians! Compagni! "Svegliatevi!" Wake up!
You're one step away from publishing a classified ad like this:
LOOKING FOR WORK:
Police said on Wednesday that they had found 14 marijuana plants that were being cultivated with sophisticated watering and heating systems.
The 38-year-old carer has been arrested, while the pensioner has been cited for growing drugs and illegal possession of arms, after police also found an unlicensed rifle and bayonet on the premises.
Way to go, Nonno! Thanks for embarrassing the family.
He was one of those typical Italian grandfathers who, after going into retirement, transforms into the 'gardening expert'. He's quite the interesting seasonal character. While the flowers are blooming, strange botanical ideas start blooming in his cranium which has begun to lack oxygen.
You could just picture the confrontation when the Italian police entered his home and made the discovery; a senior citizen wearing sandals with socks engaging in an animated conversation with arms flailing that unintentionally turns its focus away from the crime and towards Italy's political or "social" matters.
"Mamma mia", it's a good thing he was cited because he was a few days away from doing something with that bayonet.