August 15th, 2013

Postage stamp

Why I couldn’t buy postage stamps

I’m looking for work as a translator, so I’m sending out resumes, and yesterday morning I needed postage stamps. Here in Spain, you can buy stamps at estancos, government-licensed stores that sell tobacco and (for historical reasons) stamps.

There’s an estanco around the corner from my house, so I headed there. According to a sign on the door, it was closed until Sunday for vacation. That was no big surprise. August is vacation month in Spain (and Europe), and a lot of businesses are closed.

I also wanted to buy a newspaper, but the newspaper stand across the street from the estanco has been closed all month. The next-nearest newspaper stand is closed until August 19, so I had already planned to go to the one a few blocks farther away.

I knew of another estanco on Cavanilles Street, which was a few blocks out of my way to the newspaper stand, but I thought I’d try. It was closed.

Then I checked the estanco next to the newspaper stand where I was headed, which I was pretty sure was closed for August vacation and which was why I didn’t go there first, and I was right, it was closed.

I asked the señora at the newspaper stand where I could find an open estanco. She directed me to the one on Barcelona Avenue next to the basilica. That was only a few more blocks out of my way on the trip home, so I went there. It was open, but it was out of stamps. The señora there suggested going to the post office.

Of course, I can’t do that today because it’s a public holiday, the Assumption of the Virgin, and the post office is closed.

Have a happy August. It’s very quiet here because no one is doing anything.

— Sue Burke