Blog 2: Extra Fee...¿Como?

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Entering a supermarket in Buenos Aires is very interesting. It´s no Kroger or Publix that´s for sure. The stores are much smaller in comparison and the differnent brands of foods line the aisles. However, there is one particular difference that is not as noticable. That is if you by a Coca-Cola or Pepsi in a glass bottle you will be charged a very odd extra fee. What is this fee and why does it exist.

I was at first very confused when I first was confronted with this "mystery" fee, but after looking into things a little closer it all became clear. That fee is a deposit on the bottle. I learned that if you return the glass bottle to the store when you are finished you can buy another drink without paying the fee. The bottles are actually refillable. I read in an article that the purpose of the fee is to encourage others to recylce their empty bottles. By reusing the bottles it is possible for the beverage companies as well as the grocery stores to compete at the lowest price. The concept of alsmost mandatory recycling is very interesting to me. Its purpose was to provide berages for less money as well as to help the environment by recycling and reducing wastes. Would the United States ever consider such a fee? Probably not. The closest program to this that I am aware of is the fact that you can tun in bottles in certain states and ge 5 to 10 cents a bottle.

The current trend of the use of these refillable bottles in Argentina is on the downward path. Over the past 5 years fewer and fewer refillable bottles have been used. In this country as well as other countries participating in such a program such as Mexico and Brazil. This decrease is due to technological advances and the use of bottles made of a plastic called PET, which dominates the US soda market. So over the next few years, it is possible that such a fee will no longer exist. It will be very interesting to see what happens in teh future of beverage bottling in Argentina. If you pay attention next time you are in a supermarket look around and see if you can find reused bottles. They are easy to spot due to the of old label residue from a previous use. Who knows what will happen and if this trend of fees and refilling bottles will continue? I guess I will just have to make another trip here to find out.

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Before coming to Argentina, I had heard the perception that its citizens particularly young adults are obsessed with gaining and maintaining the perfect body. It has only taken me one week within the city of Buenos Aires to confirm such a perception. I initially noticed how seriously the Argentines take shaping and working to obtain such a figure the minute I walked into the gym.

 I joined the gym not long after I arrived for the principle purpose of not gaining who knows how many pounds from the steak, empanadas, and other delightful foods that dominate the city streets. I entered the gym underestimating its importance and obsession on the daily lives of many Buenos Aires inhabitants. For many going to the gym is a way of life. I had a conversation with a couple of locals my age, and they made the comment to me that the gym was not just a place to go but a place everyone had to go. But it’s not just the fact that people here go to the gym to socially fit in that confirmed the perception of obtaining the perfect figure for me. Instead, it is the level of intensity and high work ethic. Men and women both strain and sweat with every exercise. The women run for what seems like hours, then aerobics, then crunches, then leg weights, and even more running. They do this all in one day and can hardly stand when they are finished. They seem helpless, hungry, and unhappy.

I began thinking of the high pressure the society here must place on the young adults especially women to look a certain way. Why else would so many put themselves under not only hard workouts but hunger and pain? I read in an article that Argentina claims to have the most beautiful people in the world, and I agree that they do have very beautiful people. However, is it worth it to put young adults under such high expectations and self criticism. Eating disorders, plastic surgery, hunger, and weakness all result from these high expectations. In my opinion the society needs to find a happy medium between the extreme level of self image and the “perfect” figure. I always thought that the United States was guilty of this perfect body or Hollywood figure, but it is nothing compared to that of Argentina.