We visited the Leroy Merlin near Perugia to look for some outdoor furniture for our terrace. Leroy Merlin is kind of like a Home Depot. Getting to it required a trip on the E45, the main highway that cuts through Umbria and eastern Tuscany. Now you may think this is pronounced E45, just like it appears. You would be wrong. The “e” in Italian is pronounced as “a”. So it’s really the A45. I can’t tell you how many confusing conversations we had with Italians about this road before we realized the problem The E45 is ALWAYS under construction. This time was no different. We would go for a ways and then the road would divert and narrow for a stretch, then back, and so on. The lanes are narrow to begin with, and when you throw all that construction in, it is a real challenge to navigate. Fortunately, our car has a great armrest that I can grip really tight because I know when I do that Steve drives better. And it worked, because we got there and back safely.
As we were walking into the store, I noticed a food truck type thing in the parking lot right in front of the store. It was a porchetta stand. There’s something so very right about having a porchetta stand in front of the Leroy Merlin. I was very tempted to get one just to see how it was, but I exercised willpower and passed it by.
We scored big at the Leroy Merlin. Got a cute little patio set for the terrace and some bistro chairs for the front balcony. Also got some planters that hang over the railings on the balcony and front fence and a teeny, tiny, adorable wooden lamp for our new bar. And best of all, Leroy Merlin delivers to our doorstep for a mere 30 euros. And that means we don’t have to get on the E45 again.
I can’t say enough good things about Leroy Merlin. The staff was plentiful and very helpful (despite the huge communication challenge we present) and the delivery of our patio set was a breeze. They gave us an estimated date of arrival, but called us a few days before that saying that it was ready and would be delivered the next morning. We were so excited that our patio set was coming early! This could change so many things in our lives, like where to nap, where to have happy hour – you know, the essentials of living. You know you can trust a big box store with a porchetta stand in the parking lot.
Well, we received a phone call the next morning, as promised, that we promptly misunderstood for something else, then we got an email from the fine folks at Leroy Merlin. They needed our Codice Fiscale to complete the delivery. A Codice Fiscale is kind of like a social security number. You have to have it for almost everything you buy or any business you transact. We were a bit befuddled by why they didn’t ask for it at the store, but what do we know? We emailed them the number and asked when the furniture would be delivered and heard nothing else. So we waited and waited and waited. We knew if we left, that would be the exact moment the delivery truck would arrive. So we waited.
Sometime around 3:00 the internet went out. We tried everything to get it back on, but the light stayed red. The internet is our lifeline (I’m very sad to say) so we were in a bind. We couldn’t do any of the things we had planned while we were waiting for the Leroy Merlin man. We were hot, tired, and frustrated, so at about 4:00 we decided to take a stroll down to the piazza. We figured by then we had dutifully waited all day and deserved a little break. At this point, we weren’t so keen on Leroy Merlin. We got to the piazza and Steve noticed a delivery truck with a box on the lift gate that looked suspiciously like our patio set. Then he saw his name on it. We asked the driver and yes, he was there to deliver our patio set! We told him that we lived up the hill and there was no way he was going to get that big box up there from the piazza. He said he couldn’t drive his truck up there because of the clearance. We said there were no clearance issues and he insisted there were. This all being conducted in what passes for Italian for us. Finally, Steve got in the truck with him to show him that indeed he could pull right up to our doorstep and Millie and I walked back up to let them in. And we got a four piece patio set in one large box deposited on our patio.
This kind of story plays out again and again here. What are the chances of us deciding to go the piazza at the exact moment that guy was starting to bring the box up to us? What are the chances that Steve would notice that box was ours? As our friend, Julie, says – magic happens in Italy. So what began as a frustrating day ended with a bit of pure serendipity. Our internet was still out, but we had patio furniture and that was enough of a miracle for one day.