Adventures at BuenosAires verdulerías

  • I love buying vegetables at our numerous small verdulerías, but strongly favor the ones that post their prices. Last week the prices for lechuga in our immediate neighborhood varied from 20 to 40 to 59 to 100 pesos/kg, the last being at a shop staffed by a woman with a big friendly smile and no posted prices, who apparently changed her response according to the customer’s appearance and accent.

    But generally I am pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of the people who staff these small shops. When we are in Las Cañitas, where we lived in 2005, we still get hugs and warm greetings from Irma, at the verdulería across from our old apartment.

    I’m glad these small shops haven’t been put out of business by the huge supermarkets, as the person-to-person contact is very pleasant.

  • I agree although I got a bit of a shock yesterday when I went into one yesterday. Apart from the weekly visit to the supermarket my wife usually does the shopping but as she was driving I jumped out the car and popped into one to get 3kg of potatoes and six apples. 152 pesos in all it came to which took me by surprise. I handed over a 100 and a 50 note and when she saw me struggling to find two pesos she said not to bother. My first thought was she had ripped me off but not so according to the wife.

  • We walk 10-12 km/day, and try to take different routes in order to explore different barrios and see new things. Today, we saw a woman in Almagro carrying what looked to be a huge bouquet. Upon looking more closely, I realized the bundle was carrot greenery, not even wilted. I asked where she bought the fresh carrots, and she directed me to a very clean shop with vegetables nicely displayed in racks made of wooden boxes.

    Address: Diaz Velez 3761.

    Armed with my beautiful carrots, I returned to the apartment and started chopping.

  • Fruit and veg shops where I live, even the 'good ones', don't seem to be capable of delivering a consistent quality product especially on the veg side. I understand they may have to make do with what they're offered from the wholesalers but I can't help but think they're taking the mick.

  • I know what you mean, UK Man . There seem to be no deliveries between Friday morning and Monday afternoon at most verdulerías. Since the shops have essentially no refrigeration (sometimes a small glass-doored unit for only the most perishable few items), the fruit and vegetables, eggs and other things sit, unrefrigerated, in bins for 3 days. We try to buy on Friday afternoons or wait until late Monday.

  • New subtopic: lechuga.

    Can anyone explain the wildly fluctuating prices, both among verdulerias and in the same one? I don’t notice this with other vegetables.

    Six weeks ago, we paid 20 pesos per kilo; the next week, the price at the same place was 80. Over the past month the price has ping-ponged all over the chart, from 40 to 120 and everywhere in between.

    Interesting: To the shopkeeper trying to sell at 120, I asked why so much? His response was that everything was higher because the dollar was so high. When I asked if the lettuce was from Argentina, he said yes; I asked why the dollar exchange rate would affect the price, when no pesos had to be exchanged, he shrugged and turned his back.

    OK, so that guy was just a shameless opportunist, and not a very bright one. But back to the central question: What drives the price of lettuce here?

  • My idea si that people are overreacting and thus they just put a price by feeling.

    What factors? Word of mouth, personal perception, rumors, headlines...

    This is not economy, this is just psychology!

  • The downside of the neighborhood verdulerías is the utter absence of refrigeration. I am always surprised that lettuce and celery sit in the wooden bins well beyond the point of having either turgor or food value.

    And I’m even more surprised to see people buy vegetables that should have been scrapped days earlier.

    I’ve taken to skulking (not lurking!) around our usual verdulerías to note the usual days & times they receive their deliveries, in the hope of finding celery that is still green, not yellow, and that resembles a stick more than a rope....

  • Vea supermarket is really taking the piss....amongst other things in the fruit and veg department soft rotten zapallito were to be had at 39 pesos a kilo last week.

    I couldn't believe the price never mind they were selling 'fresh' produce that would have been thrown in the pig swill bin many days before in the UK.

  • It would make sense to sell produce for a fraction of the full price as it is heading for the veggie nursing home, just to move it out. But the same limp things stay there, unrefrigerated for days. Why do people buy them?

  • It would make sense to sell produce for a fraction of the full price as it is heading for the veggie nursing home, just to move it out. But the same limp things stay there, unrefrigerated for days. Why do people buy them?

    Argentina's retail trade works in mysterious ways. I think they've become so used to covering their arses against high inflation they don't know any other way of operating.

    Just one reason why this country is going nowhere fast.

  • The wife and I went to Vea today to do the weekly shop....15% off using a bank credit card.

    My observations.....their lettuce was as usual near death, however the rest of the veg looked pretty fresh, although they do all come at an inflated price. My wife asked the supervisor why it was deserted and she said it was because of last weeks 50% off offer. Which we all know was a con anyway. I spotted a packet of Tarragui loose tea costing 90 pesos which sells for 60 at the wee independent supermarket round the corner from us.

    Only positive note was Kit-Kats were half price so I helped myself to ten of them. Still a rip off compared to the UK.

  • Yesterday I popped in an uncle-nephew meat and veggie store, very small, one block from our place.

    Me: "Hello, do you sell eggs, by chance?"

    Nephew: "Sure!"

    Uncle: "But not today. I have none left".

    Okay... how can you run out of eggs?!

    Today I noticed some deliveries, and popped my head back inside.

    Me: "Any eggs today?"

    Uncle: "Not yet, maybe in the afternoon. They are withholding deliveries because they have to decide on the price"

    Me: "But the chicken are still hatching eggs, regardless..."