No matter where you go in the world, among all of the Lovely, Wonderful, Generous people, you will unfortunately find some scams, and scammers; or they will find you.
What is important is that we do not hand over our power to them, and allow them to ruin our experiences. They are an anomaly in the grand scheme of things. BUT, we can spread the word about these creeps, so that fewer people are affected by them.
A CRAZY example is in Milan. On the train to Milan we met an absolutely lovely woman, who gave us so much great advice about what to do in Milan. When she saw our luggage, even though the directions to our hotel said that it was only 500 meters from the train station she suggested we take a taxi. So we went to the taxi curb, and while we were waiting for a taxi to pull up, a man came up to us and asked us which hotel we were going to. I showed him the paper that had the name and address on it, and he said 5 Euros. What I did not notice at first, was that he had a plastic disposable cup in his hand with a drink in it. So, we said sure. 5 Euros for a taxi seemed like a fair price; remember we were standing at the taxi curb when we were approached…
He proceeded to put our luggage on a cart with wheels, all while trying to keep all of his drink in his cup (was guessing that it was rye and coke). He was not succeeding in that task, so he downed what was left in the cup, and then threw the cup on the ground. As we started to walk with him, another guy with a cart not far from us called to us, “I would have taken you for 2 Euros” ??? Our escort proceeded to walk across the parking lot (I was thinking to myself, where in the world did this guy park, and great, we agreed to go with a). a guy that might be drunk, and b). a guy who is not an authorized taxi driver.) I asked, “Where is your car?” He just motioned to follow him. We then crossed the street (still trying to identify which car was his), turned the corner (like the walking directions said to do), kept walking (OMG, this guy is WALKING us to our hotel!). I asked again, this time angrily, “Where is your car??” He motioned again to keep following him. Why? Because in only another 30 steps, was our HOTEL! Now the 2 Euros from the other guy made sense! This guy wanted us to pay him 5 Euros to be walked to our hotel, which took us 3 minutes to walk to.In the end we did pay him, not without trying to barter, which he took no part in. SCAMMER!
Florence is known for its leather goods, and when I first went to Florence in November, 2010 I was determined to buy an authentic Italian Leather jacket. This I did, but unfortunately for me, I chose to buy from one of the Biggest CREEPS, and LOW LIFES in all of Florence. There is Amazing leather in Florence, but DO NOT buy from these guys, or from their store. Here’s the scoop!
The San Lorenzo Market has many vendors set up on this pedestrian street where they have on display many different things like scarves, trinkets, and of course leather goods. For some vendors this is their store front, we discovered. As soon as we started to look at the leather jackets, they whisked us to their store, which is located directly behind their booth. Here they have a store of many more leather jackets of all sizes, colors and as we later discovered qualities.
I ended up buying a brownish coloured leather jacket that has a scoop type neck. They were definitely pushy, and really wanted us to buy jackets. However, they did not try to suggest a different jacket than the one I was originally looking at. Kathy bought a black leather, and suede jacket. This is the receipt for my jacket>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The picture you see to the left is of the “Boss Man” that was at the store and authorized how much I paid for my jacket. He has a very distinct voice- very raspy, almost like he could be losing his voice, but isn’t.
He was also at the store in April when I tried to exchange the jacket for one that was not damaged, and refused.
The pictures to the left are of the store, that we were whisked to, and where we made our final purchases. Please note, the address of this store. #14.
After buying my leather jacket, I did not wear it until I got home because it rained the last 2 days we were in Florence. The first time I wore it, I happened to reach for something and then I heard a RIP…. The leather ripped at one of the seams in the back. Distraught, and very disappointed, I immediately went to see a man who has been working with leather for many years to see if he could fix my jacket. Basically what he told me was that the leather that my jacket was made from was CRAP. He then showed me how weak the leather was, and without even trying pulled at the leather and it ripped again, and again, and again. See the YouTube video for a demonstration with the actual jacket.
George told me to take it back to where I bought it but unfortunately I bought it in Italy, and I was now back in Canada. How disappointing! I also felt like I had been scammed.
Luckily, another trip was planned for Kathy and I to go back to Italy, and we made a point to go back to Florence; and I was taking my jacket back. I was 100% certain that there would be NO issues in returning/ exchanging it. Boy, was I wrong!
In April, 2011 I took the jacket back to the exact same store in Florence that I purchased it from. As soon as we entered the store, the man with the long hair (shown in the pictures) was with customers so we waited. When we got to talk to him, I showed him the jacket and told him that I would like a new one. He told me that he would get the boss. We waited, and waited, and waited. After waiting for far too long, and we were obviously being ignored I asked who I needed to talk to about the jacket. The long haired man told me that they would not do anything for me. I then raised my voice and raised my jacket so others could see that I had bought a leather jacket from this store and that it was ripped. Finally he took me seriously and sent someone to get ‘the boss man’.
The ‘boss man’ came into the store, and we told him that I had bought the jacket from him in November and that it ripped the first time I wore it. He said that it had been too long and that he would do nothing. I told him that I lived in Canada and could not just jump on a plane to return my jacket. He then told me to go to the tailors and have it fixed. I showed him where it was ripped and that nothing could be done to fix it, and also that I had taken it to a tailor in Canada and told him what he told me about the leather. I showed him how easily it rips. The ‘boss man’ then told me that I bought a cheap jacket. ?????? I told him in frustration that HE SOLD ME A CHEAP JACKET! And why would he sell something that he knew was not good? He told me that tourists come and want to buy for cheap prices, and not care about the quality and he would not give me my money back. I told him that I would happily exchange it for one of better quality and would pay the difference. He said no. After going back and forth, he walked away from me, but not after telling me that by law he did not have to refund me the money after a certain amount of time, and that it was past the time limit that I needed to bring it back, and he did not have to do anything for me. I told him that I would stand here and tell everyone about his leather. He said, “whatever.” and walked away.
So, as people came into the store I started showing people the jacket and how poor the leather was. This angered the long haired man, and he told me to F*** OFF! I told him that I just wanted some service. He was VERY rude, and in one sentence told me that I should have come from Canada sooner to return my jacket if it was ripped, and then in the next asked how I could all the way from Canada to return my jacket. He was not making sense.
At one point another tourist spoke up to the long haired man in support of me (she was there to buy a leather jacket as she had been there earlier, and after witnessing my situation left without purchasing anything). During the 20ish minutes I was there standing and waiting for them to change their minds, and let me exchange my jacket, they lost at least 3 customers who were serious about buying something earlier. They were NOT happy!
The ‘boss man’ was summoned again and he told me to leave or he would call the police. I told him that I would LOVE to speak with the police. Of course he didn’t call them. I was exhausted from this drama, and decided that this was not going to ruin my holiday, but that I was going to reclaim my power.
What I did next was tell him that I would let EVERYONE know about them, and that his Karma was going to Suck. I then took all of the pictures you see here on my blog, including the classy picture of the long haired man giving me the finger. I did not have this blog before I left, but on the way home decided that this was going to be how I spread the word about this guy, in addition to all of the GREATNESS that is on this blog too…
All I ask is that you look at these pictures, and let everyone you know about this store, and my experience with this store. I know that I will not get my 110Euros back, but I look at this as an investment in the fact that others hopefully will not be scammed by these guys!
Remember these faces, and remember this story. I am not saying that they do not sell good quality leather. I am only sharing MY experience with them, and that I DO NOT want anyone else to experience what I did, or at the least get ripped off by them. Please share this story with others, whether they are going to Florence or not, as they may know of someone that is.
PLEASE buy leather in Florence, just know how to spot bad quality leather! Watch my Youtube video for more information on how to spot bad leather.
I returned to Florence in September, 2016 and went to the San Lorenzo Market. My stomach was in knots as I came to store #14. The “boss man” was not there, but the guy with the long hair, pictured giving me the middle finger was. I tried to quietly walk by as I heard a male voice call, “YOU HOO, YOU HOO!” I continued walking, but heard it again. I stopped and looked back and discovered that the man was trying to get my attention. He proceeded to say something rude to me, that I was ignoring him, and that he knew who I was. I honestly blanked out the rest as he was being rude and condescending, and I could not get out of this market fast enough. I was visibly shaking! I will NEVER visit the San Lorenzo market again! There is something about it there, that a lot of the vendors there are pushier, ruder, and dishonest than any others I have come across in the rest of Florence. I had a bad vibe the whole time we were there.
Where do I recommend you buy leather? Click HERE to read my story about a store that has some AMAZING leather and people!