With there not being a Correos (Post Office) in the local village, I have had a Buzon (Post Office Box) located in one of the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) buildings for just over 2 years. When we registered for it we were told that there would be a one off payment 'For Life' and as soon as we took possession that would be everything sorted.
In my naivety, I believed that this meant that I actually owned the post box - or at least had a long lease on it. But no... It seems now that the Ayuntamiento have got wind of a grant that is floating about from the Regional Government at the moment. Something like they can be eligible for a Kings Ransom if they teach Retired residents how to weave baskets, or something equally useful.
Well in short, none of the dozen or so Ayuntamiento function rooms are suitable for this purpose (in my village of less than a thousand)… As such the building that formerly housed the 300 or so Buzon's now need to be demolished and re-built as a state of the art basket weaving studio, Or have some other function that will kick start the local economy in these times of recession... Yeah right!
Only last week I received a circular from the Ayuntamiento advising me that my lifetime lease on the Buzon was shortly due to expire ( … 'LIFETIME LEASE WAS SHORTLY DUE TO EXPIRE...' Work that one out! Am I about to die? )due to the building being required for other purposes, and would I like to purchase another 'LIFETIME' lease for yet another one-off payment ?
Naturally, I shot off to see whichever Jobsworth would be manning the 'Potting Shed' that day and it seems they were confused at my question... 'Will I need to pay another ONE-OFF Lifetime Fee Next Year?'
I'm a fairly level headed guy, but how is this even LEGAL ?
Deciding that the question must have been too demanding for them in my Fluent Castellano. I moved on to my next question 'Surely the cost for the relocation of the Buzon's would be covered by the Grant from the Regional Government?' ( Silly question!) The blank face and apathetic shrug had to suffice instead of my comments being noted and passed onto to the Alcalde (Town Mayor).
The question eventually came back... Did I want to proceed with having a Buzon or not? Well, given that I needed one for Business and the local Postman delivers no closer than the length of a Piece of String...( Just how long is piece of string...? Well it depends on how long the piece of string is, right? ) No, where I live the Postman feels that the " string " is as long as he can be bothered to deliver between coffee , chatting to the locals, and oh, having more coffee and chatting to more local folk...!
So what do I do ? ... Obviously I have no choice than to reply in the affirmative and reach for my cheque book.
Oh dear ! to make matters worse and my stress levels higher,I am informed that no cheques would be taken due to the administrative costs incurred in Banking them! ( Surely, again these costs should be absorbed by the regional government in lieu of the inconvenience right? )
So instead of losing my natural calm and self respect and reaching for the nearest heavy object to batter them with, I reached for my wallet. No ! they could not accept cash either !
Ok, take a deep breath! All I want is my mail! delivered to my mailbox, which I have ALREADY paid for!
So, being fresh out of magic beans and Peter Pan flying angel dust, I asked exactly how I would be permitted to make this payment...
Ok, Here goes... I need to apply to the Town Hall in writing stating my Padron (Town Hall registration number), my name, address and OLD Buzon number... They then reply in writing telling me that a Buzon is available for me to have and to come down to the Ayuntamiento to make payment of the 100 Euros!
Once at the Ayuntamiento, I will be given a Reciept / Payment Order to take to the Bank where I make payment... THEN, I need to take the payment slip back to the Ayuntamiento where I will be given my key...
Can't hold my frustration much longer…!!!!
As I was already at the Ayuntamiento, with the cash AND it had been confirmed that a Buzon was available, I asked if we could skip straight to the next stage and let me make the payment.
The look of horror that spread across Sr. Jobsworth's face should have made be beat a hasty retreat there and then!
As it stands, I now have to wait for a reply in writing from the Ayuntamiento... Have you spotted something unjust here…? They have closed my existing Buzon... So, How on earth do I receive a letter to my Buzon about a new Buzon that might be available...?
The sad fact struck me - Not only was I put in a position (engineered by the Ayunatimento ) where I have effectively paid TWICE for the same lifetime service, but they have done this to take advantage of a grant that is on offer that is of no real value to anybody in the Village! There is already a " 3rd Age school of rural Crafts " ( Which I can imagine must be overrun with vistors ) just a 10 minute walk away in the next village! Yet we have no youth club or Swimming Pool!
Also the 300 other Buzon owners have to pay this fee of 100 euros to the Ayuntamiento...! So, the Ayuntamiento have netted 30,000 euros IN ADDITION to the grant!
I think I will throw all my weight behind email in future and insist that all mail and messages are sent electronically... Let's face it, it is actually better for the environment I am told...
So lets think about his for a second... Hypothetically, I do no want to pay for the new Buzon.. The regional government wants to write to me and tell me I have to pay more taxes. Obviously, I will not receive such mail therefore resulting in huge penalties and fines for not making these extra payments!
Am I liable? Yes, of course I am…
However, I have a solution to this... Let us all insist we no longer receive paper mail. If this works, then the only people creating huge paper pollution is the regional government who, let's face it, are charged with the responsibility of encouraging less pollution...
Sorry Grandma, love the Christmas cards but email me from now on...