Preparations are on their way for the Venice Carnival…

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One of the things that ALL Americans should be eternally grateful for, is the unparalleled customer service you get in America.

Many companies across the USA offer wonderful return policies, and many offer lifetime guarantees.
Something has gone wrong with something that you bought five years ago?
No problem!
Bring it back and they will exchange it for a new item or for another model, even if you do not have the receipt.

You may not believe me, but it is absolutely true.
I know a woman who returned to a Sears department store after TEN YEARS, a whole set of garden furniture with seating for six people, because it faded in the sun.
She said that they gave her her money back without a hassle and without a receipt.

Myself, I returned to Bed Bath and Beyond a cappuccino machine that I was unhappy with, a year later without a box.
They gave me an option of cash, or a store credit, and I chose another cappuccino machine.

You can return or exchange anything you bought because it did not function well, or you were not happy with it, or you bought the wrong item, or for any other reason.

This policy encourages consumers to be less fearful about buying, because they KNOW that they are not stuck with anything…. And that there is an accountability behind many products, should they prove to be defective.

But it is not so around the world…
In many other countries the mentality is “You bought it, you own it, it is YOUR problem!”

You must be wondering what I am blabbing about… And why do I bring all this up….

Well….. Let me tell you…

Even though it is a long ways away in February, because we are going to Venice Italy during the busy Carnival, we already started to look at booking a place to stay in this crowded city.

We read reviews of hotels, and many of them were not encouraging.
People spoke about moldy hotel rooms that only look nice in Internet photos, taken many years before….tiny smelly rooms with dirty carpets and hard beds, and even tinier showers…..

When I browsed the internet, many hotel rooms did look like budget hotels, that are just trying to cash out on the opportunity to overcharge at busy times, like the Carnival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Venice Biennale.

When I checked the room rate in some of these hotels in January, when nothing is happening and Venice is cold and rainy, the room rate was as low as $80 per night.
During the Carnival, some of those $80 rooms rates ballooned to $425.

Because of these discouraging rates, I decided to look for an alternative.
I started to look at the possibility of renting a furnished apartment, instead of paying a fortune to stay in a mediocre low budget hotel.

The search for an apartment looked very promising.
I saw many lovely places at good rates.
But then started the saga of dealing with the Italians…. who have a whole different notion of what constitutes good customer service.

My inquiries went unanswered for days….they wanted a full payment for the apartment two months ahead of our visit…. And those who responded to my emails, left most of my questions unanswered again and again…. As if taking the time to compose a simple email, was just too much effort.

But, I do not wish to be a moaner….
We DID find a lovely studio apartment, located in the Castello neighborhood, to the North East of busy San Marco, which we assume will be crazy and loud during the Carnival.

The apartment is stylish and was featured in three design magazines, and it is only moments’ walking distance from the busy St. Mark’s Square.

The whole stay will still be less expensive than a budget-overpriced hotel, and we will have more space to stretch out.

Of course in an apartment you do not get your sheets and towels changed every day, but so it is at home…
They will give us a service once a week.

In an apartment, you also do not get breakfast, but I am sure that we can find a nearby cafe with good cappuccinos and breakfast, or we could always keep some gourmet cheese in the fridge and buy fresh bread and tomatoes every morning.

Across the street from the apartment there is a bakery, so I am sure we can browse there for our morning delight.

(I am adding some photos of the masks that I bought from the carnival in New Orleans.
I have many more masks, but these are the ones I chose for this post.)

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