Standoff at the Subway

(Sure, we’ve talked about the coin shortage crisis a few times before, but here are a couple examples of how it affects me every day. — Tom)

  1. To get to school every morning, the girls and I take the bus, which only accepts coins. So, everyday I have to figure out how to get more coins. One strategy I tried, when I happened to take the subway, was to forgo using the convenient subway card and actually stand in line to pay for a single fare ticket. A huge pain, but in exchange for a 2 peso bill, I would pay my fare and receive a precious $1.10 in coins.

    Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. The clerk at the subway stop I most often frequent stopped selling me single fare tickets. I would show my 2 peso bill and ask for 1 ticket, and he would say “no monedas” and wave me through the gate for free. Every day, the same thing would happen. Same clerk. Same 2 peso bill. No coins, and he would wave me through for free. This went on for 2 weeks.

    You would think that I’d be pretty happy about this, but actually, it infuriated me. I don’t want to ride the subway for free…I really want the coins instead!

  2. Paying cash at the supermarket can be glacial. They keep very few coins in the cash registers, so every time they run out of coins, the checkout clerk has to call for a manager, who has to go to the safe to get more coins, who then exchanges 2 pesos worth of coins for a 2 peso bill. Yes, that’s right…they restock the coins in the register with the equivalent of 60 US cents at a time!

9 Responses to “Standoff at the Subway”

  1. Steve H

    OK, Reeves. You’re going to have to deal with your coin issue in some sort of proactive way. It sounds like there is a mania developing. Maybe we should bake some centavos or whatever they use into a plum pudding and ship it down to you? And quit complaining about riding the subway for free!

  2. Michele

    Technically, that was Tom complaining!! hee hee

  3. Buenos Aires News: Edition 4 | Discover Buenos Aires

    […] ways people are dealing with it. Michelle and Tom’s blog has their own interesting experiences with the Argentine coin shortage. Truly a strange problem to […]

  4. Barbara

    So take an hour one morning and go on a “moneda crawl” along Avenida Santa Fe or Las Heras, somewhere with a lot of banks. In some banks you take a numbered ticket and go upstairs to the cashiers. Other banks just have a single line for the cashiers. If the line looks short, get in line and ask for monedas. Sometimes I can get as much as 20 pesos in monedas from a single bank — Superveille and Banco de la Nación tend to be good, HSBC is not worth the hassle. Once I got 100 pesos worth from Banco de la Ciudad (in a sealed bag of a thousand 10-centavo coins — they lasted a long time!).

    By law, banks are supposed to give monedas. Usually it’s 3-5 pesos at a time, but still, after visiting a few banks you have enough to last you for a while. And you can get 100-peso notes changed that way without worrying about getting counterfeit bills back.

  5. Michele

    We had read that banks are required by law to give monedas, but Tom has had intermittent luck, at best, trying to wrest the monedas from the bank and/or finding short lines!

    100 pesos from Banco de la Ciudad–my gosh, that’s crazy!?! You could have resold it for a profit!

  6. Gustavo

    I`m a local and I’ll tell you my common source for coins. It is Eki and Coto supermarkets. They have higher coins supply than than kioscos and small shops. Try to do your shopping there. In the first case, try to be friend of cashiers (they are a small crew and always the same) and help them with 20 or 30 cents for getting 1 peso or 50 c coins. If you see the cash register, you’ll see a lot of them.

  7. Tom

    Gustavo–Thanks for the tip.

    I’ve never shopped at an Eki before…but if I can get change there, I’m going to seek one out!

  8. Rick

    I read on a blog called Un Ano Sin Primavera, that one of the authors would go to the Hipodrome or a casino or something and get coins. It sounded like a good idea. Also, I met a guy from Paraguay who had some sort of bus pass. I’ve been saying that is the solution to the problem. I don’t know where he got it, but it was a card that is rechargable. Good luck! I walk!

  9. Tom

    Rick–Now this is genius…I’ve been looking for an excuse to go to the race track or casino more often!

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