The post office in Santibáñez de Vidriales, a town in the northwest province of Zamora with a population of 1,000, is only open for 15 minutes a day. A photo of a sign announcing the office’s change of timetable for the month of August has been shared more than 1,400 times on Facebook.
The sign reads: “During the month of August, this office is changing its business hours. The new timetable will be from 11.15am to 11.30am. Apologies for the inconvenience.”
“The office has opened for a quarter of an hour daily since 2014 due to scarce postal traffic in the area,” explained a spokesperson for Correos, Spain’s national post service, over the phone to Verne. “Its regular hours are 10.30am to 10.45am.”
Many users responded angrily to the post office timetable, assuming that employees only work 15 minutes a day
The sign gained attention on Facebook after a photo of it was published by an account called Valle Vidriales (Vidriales Valley). The image was then shared by the comedy account Amanece que no es poco. Many users responded angrily to the post office’s hours, assuming that employees only work 15 minutes a day. However, others explained that this is a common practice in rural areas.
“The person in charge of opening the Santibáñez de Vidriales office has a daily route of 101 kilometers,” a spokesperson from Correos explains. In addition to Santibáñez, the employee has to make deliveries in six other towns, including Brime de Sog, Rionegro del Puente, Milla de Tera, Villageriz, Fuente Encalada and Mombuey. What’s more, they also open the post office to the public for 10 minutes in Rionegro, 15 minutes in Santibáñez and 15 minutes in Mombuey.
The person in charge of the office also services six other towns, traveling 101 kilometers a day
“Services depend on the postal traffic, and in rural areas it is common for one postman to make deliveries in multiple towns,” the Correos spokesperson explains. In many of these towns, post offices do not even exist. “The postman uses spaces allocated by the town hall as the post office – sometimes this can mean distributing mail in the town square.”
The change in hours for the Santibáñez post office is due to the postman being on vacation. “The person filling in requested the delay because they need more time in the towns they attend to before Santibáñez,” explained Correos. “This allows for more flexibility and limits any delays.” In September, regular hours will return and the branch will remain open for just 15 minutes: from 10.30am to 10.45am.
English version by Debora Almeida.