It's the Argentinian way to business, baby!

  • In Argentina, everybody complains about money - about the little they make and the many they spend - but Argentines seem to be quite careless in both the earning side of the business and in their spending one.

    I have already told about the costly delivery for dinner and lunch, and after 5 years, despite these last four years of supposed 'crisis' (I think Argentina lives in a constant crisis), I haven't see any change in their business attitude, either.

    We were lookin for hanging lamps for the living room and found an online store selling nice models. We wrote them both on Mercadolibre, where they selle their products, and on their Facebook page, but they never replied. Since they don't have a physical store, it is impossible to find a way to get in touch with them. What the heck? How could an online business not reply to messages? It has been 4 days and counting...

    So, yesterday we went to Puerto de frutos in Tigre. We had already visited it about one month ago, specifically the store called Compañía Nativa. They import their products from Vietnam and the lamp prices had risen about 2,000 pesos since our last visit, due to the bump in the exchange rate after the PASO (...).

    Yesterday, we visited the dozens of stores all selling wicker works to find cheaper lamps, and they all sold the same models. No one cared to copy the nicer and way more expensive lamps imported from Vietnam and sold by Compañía Nativa for 4,000 to 8,000 pesos a piece. No store stood out from the rest.

    Anyway, we visited one store where a wicker bird cage was on display. We though to remove the cage base and ... voilà! A pear-shaped lamp!

    But we needed two. So we asked the store owner, in his 50's, if he had that many cages. He said it was the last one and the model was discontinued. We spent the next three hours scouring every wicker store in Puerto de frutos but nobody else had bird cages for sale.

    About to give up, I told my husband to go back to that store to see if there was something similar to hang together with the bird cage, something matching the wicker hue and size.

    We headed back to the store, and while entering, up next to the ceiling about 5 meters above hour head, there were other TWO bird cages, identical to the one hanging low that we had seen earlier.

    This time, besides the store owner still fiddling on his computer, a younger lady was sitting behind him doing some accounting. She attended us and we asked for the two bird cages hanging up above us. The man didn't say anything, he simply got up and took a very long bamboo stick to take down the cages. No word on what he had told us earlier... nor the least trace of shame, guilty, remark on a missed sale etc. he couldn't have cared less.

    We spent 5' comparing the three bird cages and bought two for 2,800 ARS. While it is not a life changing sale, considering his store was empty most of the Saturday morning I don't think he was making heaps of money...

    Some store owner have the same business interest as those stores who are a cover for a mafia business in the back that you see in the movies on the Italian-American mafia. :/

  • Sadly, the attitude you describe is all too common, serafina . But usually it is uninterested employees, not the owners themselves. I can’t fathom a store owner’s not connecting the act of actually selling what he has, with the prospect of staying in business - - and feeding his family!

  • That’s exactly my point!

    I have noticed this attitude (or lack thereof) also among professionals.

    I get asked often about sworn translations which I cannot do here and in five years no sworn translator has ever offered to partner with me to get more business. They just say “In Argentina you cannot do it but I can”, which is true but they somehow miss the point that I can channel them a lot of business... they don’t have a website, nor a business email address, so they miss completely the marketing aspect of the profession.

    This is true also for Italian teachers: no one told me to send them business seriously, but rather “yeah I do it, too” instead of concrete offers like detailing in what areas they are available to teach, what levels, why they do things better than other teachers, what is their teaching approach. They are all small planets in a galaxy of identical planets, all the same one to another.

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  • I can’t help wondering if the years and years of high inflation have just worn everyone down to a “Who gives a damn?” resignation.

    Ditto! Sometimes this endless cycle where there seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel make everything pointless. But this is also un-optimistic, and Argentines have a positive attitude toward things in general!

  • You are so right about Argentines’ optimism. They have been to hell and back with past administrations and still see no change on the horizon. Yet they carry on with good humor and aplomb, in circumstances that would have me in a dark closet with a blanket over my head.

  • I think they've got so used to putting prices up every so often it's become a habit all along the chain from manufacturer to retailer. I honestly can't see much changing even if inflation does come down. We bought a new car a few months ago with interest free installments. The price of the car in the showroom has already gone up by 200,000 pesos.


  • Last week, at Tony’s dietetica a bag of rice crackers was 20. Today it was 25.

    Vaccine shots for Telma: July 31 it was 750, August 21 it was 850.

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