Monday, February 16, 2009

CHANGE: You don't you have anything smaller?

Change. It's a problem. And I'm not talking about American politics. In fact, one of Argentina's biggest problems is change... Coins, that is. Monedas.

Apparently there is some kind of coin shortage, which results in people being very protective over the coins they have. To make matters worse, the colectivos, the buses here, only accept exact change (no bills), and are by far the best way to get around the city (they literally go EVERYwhere, and run 24 hours), so not having any monedas can really limit your ability to get where you need to go. In fact, most porteños are totally dependent on them.

Let me Americanize this image: picture it as a country filled with people who need to do coin-op laundry, and no one will give you any quarters. Catch my drift?

So basically, you go to an ATM and take out money, which usually comes out in $100 peso bills, and then no one wants to accept your $100 peso bills! Sometimes they are so reluctant to make change that they will literally not make the sale, just to save their change. Seriously, this is no small inconvenience, but rather it is closer to a national crisis, a problem that is often cited as one of the factors in Argentina's economic decline. Not to mention, it is incredibly frustrating! I have literally yet to make a purchase when they have not asked me, "No tienes nada mas pequeña?" ("You don't have anything smaller?")

Grrrrr.... No! I do not have anything smaller! And even if I did, I am most likely hoarding them just like everyone else for the next time I need to take the bus! Sheesh! I don't know who to blame for this problem, but it needs a solution, and fast. I feel like I've really taken for granted the ease with which I collect nickels, dimes, and quarters in the States. I mean really, I should be able to buy something that costs $7 pesos with a $10 peso bill and not be treated like I am committing a sin.

For more information, check this out.


[dave] said...

oh thank god you changed formats, this is way nicer.

bobby was thinking you could go to the bank and get a whole bunch of coins at once? either way, annoying.

Hi, I'm Erica. said...

Thanks, I like this a lot better too! I'll give a bank a shot. I know it's some sort of national disaster, so I'm not so sure they can help me either, but it's certainly worth trying.

In better news:

So there's hope for us yet! Let's hope it goes into effect quickly.

Keya said...

well that sucks..You should start working the corners for change only then maybe you can have enough change to take the bus and buy things...:-0


glad to see your classes went well. Even if it's one or two people. Still helps you with the bumps and gets you into a nice flow.