Buying an iPhone in Italy

Call it bad timing. Actually, call it awful timing. Or even better, call it sfiga (horrible luck). The story started even before leaving for Italy, when I diligently (?) checked my technological arsenal. iPad? Checked. Laptop? Checked. Adapters? Checked. Chargers? Checked. iPhone? Checked. At least so I thought…

The truth is that… iForgot. I totally forgot that the iPhone Paolo passed on to me last October was purchased as a locked device.

To make it short, when I realized it and reacted pretty much like this


I ended up with these choices:

1. Unlocking my iPhone 5 (but in Italy it is illegal).
2. Opening a new contract hoping for a good promotion, such as a 2 year contract in exchange of a free phone (nope, no luck there).
3. Renting one locally or borrowing one from someone (no luck there either).
4. Buying a new iPhone (last choice).

As you can imagine from the title, #4 was eventually what I ended up doing and this is where the story gets interesting…

I started inquiring about buying a new iPhone that I decided I would have given to my Mom as a gift, since Paolo and I talked about it many times. I went to the only authorized Apple reseller that we have in town to check it out (with that I mean the only store that sells exclusively Apple products). They informed me that the iPhone 4s (I wasn’t even considering the new models) was on sale: €399 instead of €429. After feeling a light stomach contraction, I left with the promise to think about it. And so I kept looking around for a better deal but with no success.

Left with no other choice (keep in mind that this was already my fifth day in Italy), I returned back the store, where, with some tears of pain, I paid €399 for my new 4s. I immediately went to my cell phone provider to get a new SIM with my old number. The moment I explained my situation and showed my latest purchase, I heard: “Did you know that in Slovenia (which is 15 minutes away) they can unlock your iPhone legally?” Whaaaat? And… here I am again, only this time amplified by 50:


Feeling beaten up deep inside, I started dragging myself home thinking about what I just heard while cursing here and there (Italian cursing is quite melodic, you should have heard me).

Once I got home I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine. “Cool” I thought “someone to talk to to cheer me up”. And that was true… up until she said: “Did you know that they sell the same iPhone at the Mall for €299?”. Whaaaaat?


Yup, that is me. Again. Amplified by 100 this time. Yes, 100, exactly like the Euros I could have saved if only the timing was right.

The day after I went back to the store fully aware that they wouldn’t have accepted a return. In Italy you can exchange the item you have purchased with some other merchandise of equal or higher value. But you can forget about getting your money back.

And with this, the story ends. Needless to say that for the next days iFelt pretty much like this:


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