Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What I brought back from US

I though some people might wonder this, what I bought and why I did it given the limited space I have. Nothing spectacular, didn’t even put much thought into it just bought stuff I noticed as I went, but I think it helps illustrate what I found over there that is either impossible to find in Argentina or just too expensive after the economic crisis:

AA and AAA batteries. We have those of course, adn I have a good supply, but they cost a lot more and even though I had I just couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a couple of those 20 battery packs. Here they sell them by 2, 4 maybe 8, but I’ve even seen single battery packaging! An American walmart is such a source of richness compared to what we have here, with far less variety, more expensive to add insult.

Iphone. Costs almost 1000 bucks in Argentina.

Cookies. Chips a Hoy cookies, Oreos, and Little Debbie chocolate cupcakes. We used to have cupcakes here but there stopped being imported after the crisis. Oreos? We have locally made oreos, which of course are 5 times more expensive, smaller and of worse quality and taste. F you very much Kraft food.

 American Oreos on top, Argentina ones below. The American pack (510g) costs almost as much as the much smaller Argentine one.

 American Oreo cookie on the left, Argentina Oreo cookie on the right. In my opinion, a perfet analogy of what happens after SHTF: The name's the same, but its smaller, more expensive, of worse quality and looks like crap. 

Toys. Toys R US , is like paradise over there. Toys in Argentina are more expensive, of worse quality, and most of the real nice stuff you guys have over there simply never makes it over here. Bought a nice dinosaur toy and several smaller toys, crayola crayons, all things that are not for sale here and if you find any sold by an importer the price is too high.

Magazines and books. Gun magazines cost a lot more here and usually we get older editions so I stocked up. Preferably I bought special edition ones “AK G&S special edition” for example, so as to have a magazine that goes in depth on points of interest and keep as reference material.

Glock and Hi Power magazines. Those were a gift actually, but I would have bought some if I hadn’t got them for free. A Glock mag costs 100 USD here. Thanks Paul!

S&W Bowie. Nice, El Alamo style bowie. Thanks Luke!

Stainless steel water bottle. I wish I had found a Sigg or equivalent quality stainless steel water bottle but this one was or for like 5 bucks at the store.

Gorilla Tape and Duct Tape. (edited to add these, can't believe I forgot them) Gorilla tape was something I wanted and managed to get before leaving. I knew it was good becuase I've often  read how good it was, it even got mentioned in Popular Scinece mag as one of the best products of the year. I bought two big rolls and another big roll of Duck Tape, all for laughable low prices in comaprison. Gorilla tape isn't even available in Argentina and I was about to buy it through Ebay. HIGHLY recommended product. Also bought Gorilla glue which is supposed to be very good too. Tried the Gorilla Tape and it lives to its reputation, best tape on planet Earth, haven't tried the glue yet though.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few other purchases but that’s mostly it.
Wish I could have bough ammo, would have filled a suitcase worth of it given the cheap prices you guys enjoy, not to mention a couple other guns.

Take care guys.



Greg in CA said...

Gorilla glue is the strongest I've ever used.

Used it to glue an aluminum carabiner clip to my black suitcases so I see them better on airport ramps. Neither I nor 3 others could break it open by hand.

Tough, tough, tough.

Greg in CA said...

Also, gorilla tape is great for use in the house.

Its like duct tape, but over twice as strong & sticky. Have never seen tape like it.

Don Williams said...

Off topic comment , Ferfal, but I thought I would give you a heads up re an editorial in June 5 editon of Great Britain's Financial Times.

Titled "Finding a Bolthole in a Risky World", it argues that South America is worth consideration by investors looking for a safe place to store their money in order to protect it from a double dip global recession.

The FT's arguments:
a) "Developed Markets are a crashzone. "

b)" Emerging [Eastern?] Europe's fate is closely tied to the Euro."

c) Like Germany and Japan, "China depends on exports; trade accounts for 70 per cent of output. That makes it vulnerable to recession elsewhere. Brazil's economy, by contrast, is led by growing domestic demand."

d) "Latin America may trade less with the rest of the world than Asia. But in a synchronised downturn, such isolation can have its merits."

e) "Latin America also looks safe from domestic financial blow-up. Due to past crises, credit penetration is low, and lending prudent. By contrast, China's state-owned banks are on a lending spree. As has been said: if you have no potatoes, you cannot get potato blight."

f) "Latin America's biggest problem are low savings and low investment. In the long term, these need to be addressed. Yet for now the need for foreign savings also ensures open capital markets. A history of low investment also means the marginal return on the marginal invested dollar should be higher in the West than in the East."

g) "Then there is productivity. Latin America is usually assumed to be a laggard. Yet from 2005 to 2008, Brazilian total factor productivity rose at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent, with Peru much the same. That is respectable, given that productivity rose 2.9 percent in CHina and South Korea, which lead the Asian pack."

h) The clincher, though, is surely geopolitics. Latin America has no rogue nuclear powers, nothing like the China -Taiwan dispute, Indonesia's febrile religious atmosphere, let alone Thailand's coup. ...Indeed, the biggest immediate risk of trouble is probably from Brazil if Argentina wins the World Cup."

So -- ready to advice a horde of gringos on where to invest their money in Buenos Aires? :)

Anonymous said...

I hope you enjoyed your visit to America sir. Its good to see lists like this, we take things here for granted Big Time.

Bones said...

Gorilla glue expands, so make sure you clamp what you glue and use the minimum needed to do the job. Great stuff, though.

As for the oreos, I felt the same way when I first tried mexican coca cola. The US stuff uses high fructose corn syrup and is disgusting. The Mex stuff still uses cane sugar and is a million times better. F U very much, coca cola corporation for ruining my favorite soft drink.

Anonymous said...

Gorilla tape and glue are the best.
$$$ but worth it.
I hope that you enjoyed you trip to the US and give us your insights

Thank You for what you are doing-it's very much appreciated

Anonymous said...

Keep your Gorilla Glue in a dry place. It soaks up humidity and will become solid in the bottle. I buy the smaller ones as I rarely use an entire bottle before it hardens on me. The mini tubes are even better. It is a good product though.

Evil Sandmich said...

If I had to guess, and I may be wrong, probably at least 50% of the pricing disparities are due to import duties on goods. The other half would be due to general government bungling and/or energy costs (the U.S. sits on an ocean of coal), but barring that 100% would be due to import duties.

Anonymous said...

That Argentina Oreo looks like it was made on old equipment that has become dull through decades of use. I doubt the Argentine factory has anything but a tenuous link to Kraft in the USA anymore. It makes sense that in a country where nothing can be replaced since there are no imports, that equipment would become worn yet still be used because there is no possibility of replacement.

During the 30s in America, when a floor standing radio broke, the electronics were tossed and the cabinet-which was of gorgeous quality-was kept, used for a desk or bookshelves. I've seen a number of such "reused" cabinets in secondhand and antique stores. 1920s furniture was often saved because it was such good quality, sometimes painted to hide the wear.

American durable goods like furniture never returned to its former glory-the stuff from the late 1930s uses a lot of veneers and "repwood" (molded paper mache type wood) and after the war furniture used lots of masonite and eventually particleboard. That's what SHTF does to a country. After the 1970s cars were increasingly made with cheap materials like plastic instead of steel and chrome.

Double Tapper said...

I am glad to see you took advantage of what we offer here. I just got back from the store - a 20 oz box of Raisin Bran - $1.66. You just don't get these kinds of prices elsewhere for these kinds of items. Food is STILL historically cheap. The time to buy is now!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting some of your gifts you took home and observations of US stores vs your home stores. Even here in the US there are items that are regional specific and can't always be found everywhere.

I would have loved to see the look on the x-ray tech's face as your suitcase passed through it.

Glad to see you're heading to the US soon. I've been following you since the Frugal S days.
Keep safe,

home based businesses said...

I'm sure you had a great time visiting America. You did a really good observation in the US.
I wonder why your local Oreo looks weird.

John Brier said...

I can confirm that Oreos from the US are far superior to those in Argentina even today. My friend that I am visiting down here said they were worse and asked me to bring some from the US when I came down.. we have them side by side and did a taste test and the ones from the US are crunchier and actually have a chocolatey taste. The ones from AR taste almost like waffer cookies.