As of the last few days of 2015 the current exchange rate for Argentine pesos has declined to less than 13 per US dollar.
Next week, we want to land in Buenos Aires (late at night after a 20 hour flight) with some local currency to at least get a cab or shuttle from the airport, and we don’t want to be stuck with highly unfavorable tourista exchange rates in the airport.
There is a main nationwide currency exchange house offering hundreds of country’s currencies, but not Argentinian pesos. Red flag? Apparently they’ve done some funky stuff over the years, inflating and whatnot, oil being a main export and it currently being in a market glut, I don’t know the whole back story but I’m sure it’s quite colorful.
So I just happened to see a guy on Craigslist selling pesos de Argentina his dad had gotten while there a couple of years back. He had intended to return but alas, health problems. So his son is trying to sell 27,300 pesos for 2200 dollars which from a quick Google comparison know that he is already wanting $100 too much, but the rest of his ad says he’s willing to make a deal.
So I offer a few hundred bucks for a few thousands pesos. We make the deal at Starbucks.
I happily go to work landscaping to pick up a few more high value American dollars (most South American countries will accept American cash, and will give better exchange rates on 100s). Zoe and her Google-fu (kung fu for web searches) discover non other than a craigslist peso scam. These 500 peso and 1000 peso bills had all the embossed and hologramed stuff Google told me they should have.
The white family guy said his dad got these bills straight from a bank, but Zoe makes me take them back, which fortunately the guy does give me most of my cash back, but makes me take the rest in 10 peso bills. I believe his bills were legit (plus we would have come out with $60 worth of bonus pesos), and that he had a great naivete about the trouble he could be in passing off dubious bills. My naivete lies in my blind trust for fellow humans who appear to be wanting to do good and right.