I like going to the supermarket here in Italy.
There are often things to try: parmesan cheese, salami, porchetta, yogurt, sometimes they even give away cups of freshly-made coffee or little plastic beakers of wine. It brightens up the chore of shopping for a growing family.
The yougurt sample girls tend to be young and cute, which helps too. My favorite, though, is the parmesan guy.
Have you seen the size of a wheel of parmesan cheese? They’re huge, weighing between 24 and 40 kilos, apparently.
The parmesan guy wears a white coat and hat, like a butcher, and uses a set of special tools to break the cheese up into saleable, family-sized chunks costing maybe 15 euros.
He prepares a plate with little lumps of cheese on for passing shoppers to taste. You just pick up a cocktail stick, spear a piece of cheese, and ummm, delicious! My kids can’t resist going back for more.
And all the while, the parmesan guy is busy shrink-wrapping these marvellous great chunks of cheese ready for you to pop one in your trolley. It’s difficult to resist, given that you know it’s good for you, tastes good, and offers value for money.
That’s the “try before you buy” approach. Works just great for the parmesan man.
But imagine this alternative:
“Include this piece of cheese in your shopping today and your family will love you. Over the next week or two you can grate it on pasta dishes, serve it to your friends along with chilled glasses of white wine, dribble it with balsamic vinegar, you name it. You’re buying a kilo of shrink-wrapped versatility!
And when you’ve popped the final crumb in your mouth, I want you to reflect on the enjoyment you have had from the paltry 15 euros you’ve paid. If, sitting there with a full stomach and a happy, well-nourished family, you’re not absolutely, totally, satisfied, well then, just come back in here, find me and I’ll give you back what you paid for it, out of my own pocket.”
“Buy before you try”? Not sure that would work so well for him. It might take weeks for me to use up one of those great lumps of cheese. I’d forget about the offer. And then, the parmesan guy is only there occasionally. How could I be sure to find him again?
No, “Buy before you try” is an unnecessarily complicated way of selling cheese.
It is, however, a MUCH more practical way to promote online Italian lessons than the “spear a lump and see if you like it” technique you find in Italian supermarkets.
- first, we want you to see how everything works, from beginning to end: the secure payment system, the lesson booking, the lesson itself, the follow up, how effortless, unstressful and effective the whole process is
- naturally, we’d prefer to focus our limited capacity on potential students who are REALLY interested. It’s not easy to find and keep the right teachers. Unsure? No problem. Only vaguely interested? Go eat cheese samples in the supermarket instead.
- finally there’s the fact that the parmesan guy doesn’t have the human factor to contend with. Cheese is cheese. Teachers vary, one from another, and over time. So. monitoring refund requests allows our teaching manager to measure the quality of our teaching. If you have a lousy experience, you’ll ask for your money back. Don’t be shy: you’ll be helping us improve.
So there you are. To make your pasta dishes richer and more nutritious, get yourself a lump of Parmesan and put it on or in everything.
But to speak and understand Italian better, what you need instead are some online Italian lessons via Skype, at a day/time to suit you, with lesson content that you specify, as often as you have time for.
Go here to book your first lesson. Like I said, if you’re not completely happy with it, I’ll still be standing here with my white hat on. Ask to be refunded and it will be done, as promised.
P.S. This offer runs only until Sunday. People have already signed up. Don’t miss out. Go book your lesson now!
Ruth Jenkins says
What do I think of the length of a lesson? For me, a 30 minute lesson is ideal. An hour long lesson would be too much. An on-line lesson entails a lot of one-on-one conversation which is great but is quite hard work! After half an hour there is a lot to think about and revise. Two half hour lessons, instead of one hour long one, allows for a bit of work in between.
Thanks for your contribution, Ruth. It’s great to have input from people who are actually doing this sort of learning!
Personally, as a teacher I’m happy with anything from 30 mins to about 2.5 hours (after which it starts to feel like hard work).
But as a student, my attention flags quickly and I start thinking about all my other priorities…..
John Thomson says
I am with Ruth
30mins is long enough, I need to stay very concentrated during the lesson. As Daniel (la gamba) knows, my biggest problem is conversational Italian.
Things are not so stressful now, I have taken Daniel’s advice , the aim is to communicate and “non me ne frega le errori”
“io vado al cinema ieri” is wrong but any Italian listener would know what I meant!
Lucia and Federica are very good, patient, teachers.
At this moment I am concentrating on the listening exercises to make sure that I will get as much out of the Skype lessons as I can when I book some more
I received a nice post from Alice, “lei ha detto che il mio italiano non sia troppo male”