spare some change?


Aug 28, 2006
I can see this is going to be one of the daily obstacles here. It was much the same way in Romania when I was there a few weeks last May. That is the shortage of change and small bills. If you take the bus a lot it's especially important to hold on to those coins if you can. I thought if I went to a big grocery store, Disco, I could surely get some change there after buying something but they were asking me if I had any coins. Here though I haven't experienced people trying to rip me off, like in Romania, by after giving them a large bill they don't give it back and say they don't have change.
Have you considered to start begging? With this national shortage of coins it is about the only way to get some spare change around here. That's why by the way there are so many beggars on the streets.
If I may offer a friendly generic advice: You do not always have to do what you've been asked to. If you need to keep some change for the bus - just let a cashier to run around a little and find some change for you while people in line are steaming. If in a restaurant they refuse to take a hundred and ask you to pay with smaller bills - just take a quick look into your wallet and say: oh, it seems like I am two pesos short of the amount - would you take it instead? And suddenly finding a change from a hundred will not be a problem.
I just went to the bank and bought rolls of one peso coins. They come 25 per roll.
Be careful with getting the rolls of coins from the banks. I saw a flattened 1 peso coin the cashier in the Disco didn´t want to give me. She showed me that it was ruined, flattened like a train had run over it. Also curved out of shape. She said the bank rolls have these ruined coins at either end or both, it seems the machines press on them too hard or whatever. So your 25 pesos for the pack may lose you out of 1 or 2 pesos. Check before you leave the bank!!
Maybe I should try going to a bank but I've heard, in addition to the last post, that the line is usually very long and sometimes even they won't give you coins. I hadn't thought of begging even though the title of the thread makes some allusion to this. I tried it a few times many years ago and didn't have much success. Today I didn't seem to have much problem with people exchanging bills when I went out to eat or to a kiosk.
I had no line, no bum coins, and no hassles. The only problem is between laundry and buses I need to restock again.......
argentines are used to suffering like this. for the rest of us, its an adjustment. theyre just glad the govt. isnt coming anymore at midnight and taking family members away.
go into a shop and not have exact change and suddenly YOU'RE the problem. Miranda France talks alot about this in her great book Bad Times in Buenos Aires, which i recommend to anyone here or thinking of coming here or for anyone seeking an explaination to things like why do the busses roar like airplanes. she is writing about her stay here in 1993, and had the same endless problem with change, so hasnt changed in 13 years!!! or more.
Most, if not all banks, will sell you coins whether you have an account or not. Buying rolls of $1 peso, .50 and .25 cent coins is common here. You are not obliged to purchase an entire roll either. They will also give you change for large bills. I have yet to have a problem with the coins I purchase biweekly. Having to stand in line {minimum 10 minutes}is what most people here do! Politely ignore requests by tellers at large supermarket chains, such as Disco, when they ask for smaller denominations of bills. Force them to request change from their cashier supervisors. The supermarkets have ample access to stocking change.
There is also a door-to-door "service" for small businesses who can't take the time off to go to the bank frequently to obtain change in coins. For a fee {amount unknown}, you can place an order via telephone and a "runner" will deliver rolls of coins to your location. Obviously this is another business venture in the "black". An article about this was published by Clarin last year.