Photo Credit: Crissfer
Buenos Aires has turned me into a liar. Actually, it’s turned a lot of people into liars.
Every day is a fight to obtain monedas in Buenos Aires. I’m a scheming sort of person now; all of my business transactions are laden with the thought: “Will this person give me a moneda?” and “How can I obtain a moneda from this person without seeming like a jerk?” The stress! It turns what should be friendly business transactions into deceptive, bitter ones.
Buying something is a game. Shopkeepers defiantly state, “There are no monedas,” while the customers defiantly claim to have no monedas to give to the cashier. Metrovias Subte (the subway) allowed customers to enter for free last Monday because they did not have enough monedas to give out in change. A client punched a ticket attendant due to some aggravation. Stores are strapped because banks limit the amount of monedas they allow businesses.
A black market exists where bus companies sell bags of monedas with a markup. People allegedly hoard millions of pesos worth of monedas which would explain such dry circulation.
Monedas are important because buses here only take coins. The buses are the best and easiest method of transport, as the subway is limited in its reaches for the city. Also, I need monedas to do laundry. It’s enough to make me feel like Ebenezer Scrooge, scooping my monedas in a little bag and counting them preciously. At times I figure in a good walk into my day to avoid spending 90 centavos.
Photo Credit: Remi de Nimega
I don’t think the moneda situation will improve. People are used to living this way. The only thing we can do is try to get monedas in respectful ways. Also, if we give our favorite shopkeepers monedas when necessary, they often take care of us when a moneda is needed. This, I like.
Update: Although I didn’t have time to verify, there is supposedly a special counter in the Retiro train station where you can get change.