Fall in Mendoza

Fall in Mendoza
View outside our house

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Don't throw your change in a Piggy Bank!

So shopping in Argentina is always an adventure.  I won't even get into the decision-making process of figuring out if something is expensive or not relative to U.S. currency...that is another post.

No, the adventure really starts and ends at the cashier.  Here is an example of a typical exchange with a cashier in Argentina while buying veggies:

Cashier:  That will be $16.37
Me:        OK.  Here is a $20.
Cashier:  Um...do you have $.40?
Me:        No, sorry.
Cashier:  How about $2?
Me:         Let me check...nope.
Cashier:  Well I don't have any change.  Can I give you an extra tomato for the difference in change?
Me:         Um...sure

You read correct.  Sometimes instead of change...as in coins, you will get a variety of things.  Here are all of the things that I have been given instead of change:

  • Tomato
  • Candy
  • Carrots
  • Red Pepper
  • Cones for ice cream
  • No change at all
Can you imagine going to your local big box grocery chain and getting an apple as change?  This blew me away the first time I encountered this.  It seems that there is a shortage of coins in the country.  Now this is not an official decree, just my observation.

In fact, there seems to be a shortage of all types of currency in Argentina.  Be it coins or paper bills.  We were at a big box retailer buying some groceries and the cashier asked the guy behind me if he had a two peso bill to lend her, so she could give it to me.  He said sure and off we went with our change and groceries.  What happened next was wild...she rang him up and give him a two peso discount for the money he had lent her!!!

So here are the coins that Argentina has in circulation.  Now I have yet to see a 1 centavo coin.  As a matter of fact, I was here two months before I saw a 5 centavo coin.  When you give cashiers correct change, they almost sing your praises.  They thank you with the biggest smile you have ever seen.

Circulating coins

DenominationObverse      Reverse1 centavoMoneda Argentina 1 centavo ARS.jpg5 centavosMoneda Argentina 5 centavos ARS.jpg10 centavosMoneda Argentina 10 centavos ARS.jpg25 centavosMoneda Argentina 25 centavos ARS.jpg50 centavosMoneda Argentina 50 centavos ARS.jpg1 pesoMoneda Argentina 1 peso ARS.jpg

I am waiting for the day that I go to pay for something with a $100 and they have no change and I will not be able to make my purchase.  I know it will happen.

Below are the paper currency in Argentina.  To me, the $100 is like the twenty dollar bill in the U.S.  It is what you whip out the most.

Remember kids, the exchange rate for one U.S. dollar is almost four Argentine pesos, so whipping out a $100 bill is not a big deal.  Now later I will post a Blog on what you can buy for the equivalent of $1 U.S.

For now I keep savings my coins, for tomorrow I will bring a smile and joy to an unsuspecting cashier!

1 comment:

  1. The 1 cent coin does not exist any more. I asked that in the hotel in Calafate I'm staying, and they told me that all the coins are accepted except for that one.