Argentina ain’t cheap, but that’s not really breaking news. The new ways that Argentine’s find to get around this, however, sure is: People in Argentina are so desperate for bringing literally all kind of things from abroad that they’ve created a new million-dollar-market that depends on the good will of travelers coming to town, and how much you are willing to pay them. With demand, then, comes supply, and so ‘Grabr’ was born.
What would people bring from abroad, you ask? Maybe that most-wanted iPhone X that will be sold in Argentina for a mere $2,500 dollars, or a drone that hasn’t made it to the city’s tech stores yet, or perhaps more peculiar items like herbal toothpaste from Thailand or chipotle mayonnaise from Mexico. You can now have it all with Grabr. This new app connects you with people from all around the world that are so cool that they will bring you the weirdest items on their suitcases for just a few bucks.
How does it work, you ask? Well, you basically go on the app and post a link of the item that you desire so much (but can’t get back home), after which someone sends you an offer suggesting a fee for providing that service. You then pay for it using your credit card, and wait until your new random friend comes home with your item.
While you pay for the stuff in advance, the system works so that the traveler will actually use their own money to buy the thing you asked for and the money you paid will be held by Grabr until both of you meet and complete the transaction. This way, none of the parties have the item and the money at the same time, to avoid, ahem, unforeseen complications.
And thus the cycle ends: after the meeting, you go home with that thing that you could have never gotten here, while Grabr releases the money and the traveler receives back what he invested in the first place plus the fee you paid him.
Porteños have already made more than 35,000 transactions on the app, which has generated more than $1,162,853 dollars in rewards for travelers who still cannot understand why everything is so mindblowingly expensive here.
So if you’re out there in any other country, please, bring us all those awesome things that we cannot find here (like Lucky Charms or a beautiful Forever 21 dress) and maybe you can spend what you earn on getting some of that stuff for yourself.
Your other alternative might be using a door-to-door service, but Argentina’s online shopping manual is so complicated that I’ve had to re-readed it a dozen times before finally getting something at home (and I’m not 100 percent sure that the fact that I managed to get something wasn’t just dumb luck).
A few weeks ago, I personally posted a link on Grabr asking for a winter coat that I could not find in Buenos Aires (I know summer is at it’s best and everyone is having fun in Mar del Plata and Pinamar, but I’m a preventive guy. Also, winter sales!). Just 40 minutes later I received a message from
this random guy my new best friend saying:
“Hi, I am traveling to Buenos Aires and can bring your order on January 18, 2018. You will be able to pick up your item at my hotel near the Obelisk, or in Palermo after January 19th.” The practicality of it all made me think that there might be hope for the humankind after all.
But even when most porteños would only ask travelers for common clothing and tech items, the world is a pretty strange place, and there’s weird people everywhere. Have that in mind when reading this list of some of the things that people just *have to have*:
5 Weird Things That People Are Ordering on Grabr:
1. A New Smart Fridge
I’m not judging the idea that you want to receive notifications on your fridge, but please, how can anyone bring this on their luggage?
2. A Book of Insults
Boludo, I also need one of this.
3. A Hair Remover
Don’t be lazy. They sell this at local pharmacies.
4. Kraft Mayo
I feel you bro.
5. Led Finger Thumbs
I think we’ve gone too far.