I hate coins. They’re a pain to carry around and I always end up dropping them all over the place while I fiddle to put bills back into my wallet. Yet I do realize they serve a purpose – any time I’m cursing myself for running out of quarters at the laundromat I’m reminded of this fact.
The citizens are Argentina have a love/hate relationship with their coins as well. Though the country recovered remarkably well from an economic meltdown in 2001, recently Argentines have been experiencing a severe shortage of proper change at many banks and local businesses. At many stores, merchants will flat-out refuse customer business unless they have correct change, displaying signs that read “No hay monedas.” Taxi drivers routinely flaunt the metered fare, accepting less money for their route or resorting to overcharging customers.
What’s a visitor to Argentina to do about it all? Locals recommend anyone hoping to take a taxi ensure they have small bills on them – you’re likely to get either a look of horror, or flat-out denial if you try to break anything bigger than a 20 peso note. The same goes for stores as well – be prepared to not get back the difference if it’s less than 5 or 10 centavos. And if you can, use a credit or debit card. Ultimately like many travel situations, a little patience goes a long way. This is after-all Argentina, one of the jewels of South America. You’re not going to let a little pocket change get you down, are you?