On a couple of occasions, I was asked by French and Italian tourists where they could buy basic stationery supplies at Spinola Bay. They complained they could not find any stationery shops at this location.

Most of the stationery shops at St Julian’s and Sliema have closed down or have been taken over by the leading newsagents, who have their own brand as well as a foreign franchise.

The firm that has taken over some of these stationery shops in Sliema and St Julian’s has turned them into convenience stores selling soft drinks, snacks, toiletries and a minimum supply of over-priced stationery items. A small, plain birthday card was priced at €5. Yellow sticky notes that I used to purchase for 75c each were priced at €2.75 each. Other towns in Malta have stationery shops privately owned by Maltese businessmen. How come none of them has thought of opening a shop at Malta’s ‘tourist hub’?