Big Mac Index and Argentina

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This is pretty hilarious for anyone interested in currencies, McDonald’s, politics, Argentina, or The Economist. I happen to be interested in all five.

For years, press reports have suggested that the Argentine government has “leaned on Argentina’s McDonaldses to exercise restraint in their Big Mac pricing” because The Economist publishes a semi-tongue-in-cheek Big Mac Index that tracks purchasing power parity. See the full Slate article from 2012.

I snapped the picture above at a McDonald’s in Buenos Aires on December 3, 2014.

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What’s so funny? 

As you can see the Big Mac is 28 pesos, which is $3.28 at official exchange rates. What’s strange is how much cheaper the Big Mac is than the Triple Mac, and where the Big Mac’s price is on the list.

In much of the world including the United States, the Big Mac is the signature sandwich at McDonald’s. In Argentina, it is on the bottom of the price list and nowhere to be found on the large displays behind the counter. Instead, Argentine McDonaldses push the Triple Mac, which is a Big Mac with a third 0.1 pound patty. For that extra patty, you pay almost double the price, 55 pesos.

Fifty-five pesos is in line with other premium sandwich prices, which is where you might expect the Big Mac to be priced, instead of at its amazingly low 28 peso price.

Anyways, if you come to Argentina, skip the Big Mac and the Triple Mac. My pick for the best burger in the city is Burger Joint in Palermo. The Jamaican, Bleu, and Mexican are my three favorites. Get any with fries and a beer for 90 pesos (~$7 at Blue dollar rate and ~$11 at official rate.) Or skip the ground beef, and just chow down on huge, delicious steaks all over the city. I recommend Las Cabras in Palermo.


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