Financial transactions in Buenos Aires are odd. If you use a credit card, cashiers don’t seem to like it. Once they realize you’ve given them a credit card, they ask if you could please use your debit card instead. I always say I don’t carry one (although I do). Using a debit card for minor transactions seems dodgy to me.
They’ve always accepted the credit card. If they were to refuse, I’d be happy to walk out. The process of running a credit card takes forever and the line of people builds up behind you. I think the financial crisis in Argentina is affecting the country in bad ways.
U.S. dollars reign supreme here. People will LOVE you if you pay in dollars. I never have. I feel it’s much better to pay in local currency. I have heard that as soon as people get paid here, they exchange every peso into dollars if they can. That way they keep what little savings they have. Saving pesos over time is a losing proposition.
It’s extremely difficult to find an ATM that’s in working condition here. Many of them simply don’t function at all. When you do find one that works, nine out of ten will not function with your foreign debit card. When you do finally find one that works and accepts your card, it will only give you about forty bucks. Woohoo! $40.00! Now I can really party! 🙂
To be fair, $40.00 really does go far here. I almost forgot, the ATMs that do function for me always ask if I want pesos or U.S. dollars. That’s weird. But again, people here love having their cash in greenbacks, not pesos. In areas where there is a lot of retail shopping going on, every five paces you find someone screaming, “Dólares! Cambio!” These are money changers. If people have pesos, they might consider going to these guys to get dollars asap.
I tip quite a bit in my travels, even if there isn’t an obvious tip jar; Starbucks, Subway, doormen, laundry attendants, whatever. Everybody gets a tip. Today the Chinese lady at the laundry service was completely confused when I tipped her 100 pesos ($2.21). She tried to give it back. I refused. A girl who made my sandwich at Subway really lit up when I handed her a tip. She acted like it had never happened before. Maybe it hadn’t.
I always tip. You never know when it might come back to help you some day 🙂