Postcard from... Madrid
Compared with UK newsagents, Spain’s equivalent institutions – quioscos, or kiosks – are radically different. Normally, they are smaller, often just an outdoors booth the size of a large transit van. And they are much more colourful.
This is partly thanks to a very Spanish predilection for coleccionables (collections), sold in instalments, with the start-off point a container of some kind (sometimes, but by no means always, a folder) available at the kiosk on huge slabs of gaudily designed, deliberately oversized, cardboard packaging.
Phase two consists of the buyer making his or her increasingly weary way to the kiosk for weekly units of the coleccionables’ subject matter – which can be, literally, anything. For €1 or so a time, you too can furnish a dolls house, piece by piece, or discover different types of dinosaur. The more adventurous may opt for courses in Spanish mushrooms, or the “universe of thimbles”. The most popular? English language courses, probably snapped up by Spaniards desperate to emigrate.
Spain’s 28,000-odd kiosks mirror the wider world, too: in 2009, a year into the recession, their average income slumped by roughly 40 per cent.
But in what is essentially a one-person business, individual sales pitches are almost de rigueur. A kiosk outside a railway station in Madrid recently provided a prime example: three dozen Japanese DVDs on the pavement, with home-made cardboard sign defiantly announcing: “Akira Kurosawa Festival”.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says 'they messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are handed peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...