Paying it forward at the grocery store- Italian Inspiration
With so much troubling, worrying, and negative news stories, I thought I would start a new tradition of finding positive articles, stories, or anecdotes that I would share with you to start the week. This story was shared on NPR (the link is attached at the end of the article). I have transcribed it here in case it gets removed by that webmaster at a future date.
In Italy, ‘Suspended Shopping’ Helps Those Facing Economic Hardship During Pandemic.
In Italy, where the coronavirus has shuttered more than 2 million businesses and left 1 in every 2 workers without income, some Italians are putting a new twist on an old custom to help the needy and restart the economy.
In Rome, the Piazza San Giovanni della Malva used to echo with the noise of crowded cafes and restaurants. Now, the only business open is a grocery shop, Er Cimotto.
It’s so small that social distancing forces customers to order through the window.
Helping others with their grocery bills
On a recent morning, a shopper asks that 10 euros ($10.83) be added to her bill for what’s called la spesa sospesa, “suspended shopping.” The concept derives from the century-old Neapolitan tradition of “suspended coffee“ — when a customer in a cafe pays in advance for someone who can’t afford it.
Shop owner Michela Buccilli says suspended coffee has been replaced with suspended grocery shopping.
“The customer who has something leaves something for those who don’t,” she says.
The gift that gives on giving
The store usually doubles the amount donated and provides food that does not spoil fast — such as pasta and canned goods — to a local aid group, the Sant’Egidio Community, that distributes it to the needy. Buccilli says one customer wanted specifically to donate a kilo of oranges to a needy family, so Buccilli sent the aid group a crate of oranges.
Suspended shopping is an act of charity in which the donor doesn’t show off and the recipient doesn’t have to show gratitude.
With Italy’s economy in suspension, the custom is being broadened with a view to the future.
Supporting their favorite hangouts
Puntarella Rossa, a website for foodies, recently launched il calice sospeso, the “suspended wine glass“ — an initiative to help Rome’s wine bars in shutdown.
Visitors pick a wine bar and pay, by bank transfer, 10 euros for a glass of wine or 25 euros ($27) for a bottle — to be consumed when the bar opens again.
“We did it as a way to help these businesses economically,” says Livia Belardelli, the site’s wine blogger, “but also as a way to help customers stay in touch with their favorite wine bars.”
Other posts you might enjoy: How to avoid conflict during the quarantine
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