Thursday, November 24, 2011

To Buy a Stamp

On Monday I went to the post office. I wanted to buy two stamps for two regular size, not particularly heavy, envelopes. The post office should have been open, but it was closed. Furthermore, there wasn’t any information posted on any of the doors letting me know why it was closed or when it would open again. I went home.

It’s amazing how in some countries only the post office can sell stamps, and in other countries, it’s possible to buy stamps at a super market check out.


Although the postal service is a crown corporation, there are postal stations in many super markets and drug stores. Furthermore, a wide variety of envelopes, boxes and tapes are sold. This makes mailing packages very convenient.


When I purchased post cards in a gift shop, they offered to sell me stamps. In addition, they said they could mail them.


I asked where I could buy stamps, and was told, “At a tobacco shop.” However, after frequenting a few, and being continually instructed to go to another one, I realized only the post office sold stamps.

As a claustrophobic, I found the post office frightening. People wanting entrance were buzzed in, and then found they were wedged between two doors. One door lead to the street, and the other door granted admittance into the post office. Again, while standing between these two doors, people waited to be allowed into the post office. I found this intense security very mysterious.

After arriving inside the post office, I picked a number and waited. It looked as if I’d be waiting a long time because there were a lot of people waiting and service was slow. I left without buying my stamps. I think the reason the postal system in Italy is so antiquate is because of union protectionism, but I don’t know.


Here also, the only place where stamps can be bought is the post office. I have no idea why the post office was closed on Monday, but it was open on Tuesday.

When I handed the postal worker a fifty peso bill, which is less than five dollars, she asked if I had change. I didn’t. All the vendors in Mexico want exact change, or close to it and scramble when I can’t give them exact change. She went into a back room and came out a long while later, giving me my change in one peso coins.

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