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faced with the rush on Panini albums in Argentina, the government intervenes

LETTER FROM BUENOS AIRES

“Argentina, number 9 and 12? » “France, number 2” ? A rumor rises from this park in Buenos Aires, where, in clusters, kids supported by their parents devote themselves to effective confabulations, heads lowered towards their hoard which they barter, against a missing image, before continuing their feverish quest. “I have a lot of players from Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Saudi Arabia in doubles, everything except Argentina. When you come across a thumbnail you are looking for, what happiness! »describes Martin, 13, who has already obtained the Grail, Lionel Messi, whom he decided, strategist, to give in against fifteen other illustrations. “I took a picture of it before”he specifies, a hundred vignettes in the hands to be offered, at the Rivadavia park, a high place for the exchange of stickers from the Panini Football World Cup album.

This classic collector’s item since 1970, incorporating for this edition 18 players from each of the 32 selected teams, is a huge success in Argentina. Shortly after its launch – three months before the November 20 kick-off of the competition in Qatar – long queues formed around the points of sale, with stocks too thin or out of stock: “But where are them figurines (“thumbnails”)? ” challenged the enthusiasts of the album, on social networks in particular. In the excitement, many strategies have emerged, reported by the country’s media like a suspense soap opera: a four-hour queue from early morning in front of a business receiving provisions, an application indicating the few points of sale still provided , vignettes offered on the parallel market at full price. A mother met at Rivadavia Park, piles of images stored in a transparent freezer bag, was able to obtain the highly sought-after sachets containing five images each on an online sales site, more than three times more expensive than the price recommended sale (150 pesos, 1 euro, at the official rate).

An extraordinary stamp rush

The file ended up being seized by the government. Because, beyond the shortage, a conflict has been added to the affair: the kiosks, multi-product points of sale punctuating the whole country, sometimes open twenty-four hours a day, have cried treason , like Pablo Soria, manager of a kiosk for seven World Cups. “We had always had the exclusive sale of Panini stickers, which we distribute all year round”, he said, pointing to cartoon bags. “But the World Cup is our big moment and there they started distributing them in gas stations, supermarkets, delivery apps, it’s not normal”, he curses. His business welcomes customers with friendly posters: “No album, no thumbnails”, “Traitor Panini”. A meeting was thus organized by the trade secretariat, dependent on the Ministry of the Economy, on Tuesday 20 September, in order to “to open a space for dialogue” between the kiosk syndicate and the company, calling on the parties to “make the marketing chain transparent”.

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