You think you are good in keeping your spot in line? Would you rather skip the line than fall behind? Put yourself to the test, come to Italy! If you manage to keep your spot in a crowded cafe/paninificio and to place your order when it is your turn, you can do it anywhere.
If you don’t succeed, take it as a good lesson in tactics: some Italians simply yell their order so loud and frequently, that the vendor can`t understand the people standing next to him. (This doesn´t work if everyone is yelling). Others just make use of their elbows and body size, (mostly young people), in this case it helps to be tall and big. But it can be a disadvantage to be big – small people squeeze in the gaps, in order to skip the line.
When you finally make it to the counter and think you are the next one to order, don t be too sure – the last barrier is the language. Even if you speak Italian, everyone around you already sensed that your are not a native speaker and will use this to their advantage. If you don´t put your order straight forward, without any hesitation whatsoever, they will jump into the gap and put their order in first, looking at you with a little smile, like they wanted to say: “See, I just gave you more time to think about what you might want to order.”
How to order in Italy
You shouldn`t take it personally, it`s like a race, everyone wants to win and score a point. But there is a way to avoid this stressful procedure (for no Italians). Mind the rush hour, pick the least busy part of the day. Then you will find nice vendors, who will even take the time to explain the different kinds of products, who are open for a chat and who are helpful, sometimes going even out of their way for you.