Dear Sir,

I along with seven other friends, recently spent a holiday on the island of Majorca, staying at the Bonaire Aparthotel, Cala Bona. We arrived on March 24, 2000 for a week's bowling holiday. On the first afternoon two of us went for a walk down into the Port area and, along with millions before us, bought some post cards to send off to family and friends. We went into a double-fronted fancy-goods shop within 200 metres of the Hotel Consul, where I bought three cards and my friend bought six. I tried out my few words of Spanish and asked for nine stamps for the cards and the shop owner, a smallish, stocky man handed me nine small, dark blue “stamps” with writing round the outside. Not knowing the current Spanish stamps, I accepted these in good faith. He charged me 750 pesetas for the nine stamps, which I thought a bit unusual, as 750 is not divisible by nine, but was not really in a position to query his arithmetic! Before I left the shop, he pointed to a small yellow cardboard box with a slit in the front and indicated that the cards could be posted in there. It didn't look very official, but I accepted the bona fides of the man and his box. I wrote the cards later on and having bought a fourth card, had to purchase a spare stamp from the Bonaire. This was a normal postage stamp for 70 pesetas. Their post box was similar to the one in the shop, so I thought nothing more of the strange behaviour of the man and accepted the over-charge with good grace, but vowed not to go in there again. Needless to say the post cards with the “Mickey Mouse” stamps have not arrived, whereas the one posted with the stamp from the Bonaire has. I don't know if the stamps are bogus or not, but am led to assume they are. If I remember correctly, they seemed to indicate that they were supporting the Spanish Olympic effort, but I am not really certain about this. I appreciate that there is very little you can do about this, other than have someone visit every fancy-goods shop in Cala Bona, but I am writing to you with a view to your carrying an article in the Majorca Daily Bulletin, on perhaps a weekly basis, which may help to wipe out what is probably a lucrative side to the shop owner's business. It may also help to avoid others being “had over” in the same way that my friend and I were. His cards were primarily for his family in Canada, so he had to buy more stamps anyway. Let's hope that some of his have arrived! The rest of the holiday was enjoyable, and this will not put me off visiting the Island again at some future date.
S E Bigg


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