I saw this on Jeremy Keith’s blog/journal, which I liked a lot,
The events of the world do not form an orderly queue, like the English. They crowd around chaotically, like Italians. —The Order Of Time
Which I sent to my mum, because I thought she’d like it too, to which she responded with how my dad tells it (he visited lots of truck factories around the world)
About a motor assembly plant in Sweden and one in Italy:
The Swedes are precision exact, everything is arranged perfectly – when you arrive you are greeted and logged into a system where you are already noted as arriving for Mr or Mrs. X. Everything runs according to schedule, lunch in the canteen, a walk around the factory at 1 etc. etc. People in overalls have clip boards, radio equipment and everything is listed in accordance to what you are going to see today. People move around in a streamlined and un-rushed manner, cool and orderly, speaking in a low tone and generally giving the idea of complete harmony and order.
The Italians are all over the place. Everything is in complete disarray and when you turn up at the gatehouse, no one knows who you are, who you are supposed to be seeing (is he around today anyway?) or which part of the plant you should be in. Eventually, after much fussing, panting, gesticulations and papers, you end up somewhere in an ante-room (like a broom cupboard) where, eventually but very late, someone turns up who looks at you as if they have no idea of your existence and definitely no idea that you were going to be there on this particular day. The meeting runs over but the restaurant is booked and everyone eats well, talks a lot (and does the business) and eventually returns to the plant, where you go on a walk around. All kinds of materials and brooms and such like are around and people are whizzing in every which way trying to find something or somebody and there is great gesticulation and gnashing of teeth….. at the very last minute, you manage to get a ride to the airport….
From each plant wheels out, eventually, a perfectly made, and identical in every way, truck.