For any Americans reading, how does one buy postage stamps in this country? I ask because last time I tried this I got a lot of dodgy looks, some homophobic abuse* and no stamps.
* I think based on the erroneous assumption that hatam_soferet and I were a couple, rather than the fact that I was trying to buy stamps. I reckon that since I am in fact bi, if people are going to hate gay people I'm fairly deserving. But it was a bit mean on hatam_soferet who is in fact a virtuous married woman.
I always just went to a post office. I don't recall ever buying stamps from a newsagent/etc in the US, so maybe that's where the confusion arose? (The homophobic abuse was just bizarre.) Often post offices have a vending machine for them.
I cannot imagine someone giving dodgy looks for buying postage.
Most drug stores and grocery stores sell stamps--you ask for them at the checkout line. There's also the post office, of course, where they either have self-service machines or you can just buy them from the clerk.
I love living in a city where the high gay population has driven out anyone not gay-friendly. It makes me happy.
I've heard there are occasionally shops which will sell you a stamp, as in: a stamp. The whole concept of shops having books of twelve first class and second class stamps is, I gather, foreign to the States.
Now, the harder problem is getting US stamps when you're not in the country. But I'm fully stocked up atm. Still, it's sometimes tempting to put a USPS airmail sticker on my story submissions from here to the states, and a Royal Mail one on the return envelopes...
For overseas you'll need $.70 for a postcard and $.80 for a letter, and those are not as easy to come by as domestic stamps (you'll have to go to a post office rather than a drug store or the like, unfortunately). But most PO's have machines so even if you're there during off hours (when only the lobby is open, for people with PO boxes), you can still get them.
I'm sorry you had to deal with the homophobic abuse. That's just wrong, anywhere. I'm sure you've already seen enough information to buy your stamps. If you're sending a postcard abroad, it's convenient to have a single stamp with the right amount of postage, but it's also perfectly legitimate to put several first-class stamps on an envelope so the total postage is enough. (I often find I'd rather pay a few cents extra postage than make a special trip to the post office.) Just make sure the stamps don't overlap.
People seem to have suitably answered your stamps question (and you can also find out postage rates at www.usps.com); what I can't figure out is what you did to make them think you and J were a couple! I mean, usually two women walking into a store together does not prompt such a response, let alone such a vicious one.
There are vending machines at many supermarkets and drugstores, but the ones there often charge a little bit extra. The vending machines at the post office ar your best bet. Larger post offices have the stamp machines in the lobby where the PO Boxes are, so you can get to them at all hours even when the main post office is closed.
Homophobic abuse? In New York, of all places? How bizarre. What happened?