Keychains, stickers, postcards, pins. When someone travels, they return with gifts for their loved ones. But in Qatar everything cost too much for the Argentines and Jorge Battagliotti had an original and economical idea. In plastic bags like the ones from the supermarket, she collected sand from the Qatari beach and the desert and brought them to distribute among her loved ones. After several months and with all the presents made, he had two bottles left over that he began to sell.
“I am selling sand from Qatar brought during the 2022 World Cup where Argentina was champion. Messi or Scaloni could have stepped on it. Price: $10,000 a half-liter bottle”, he wrote on his Twitter account and it immediately went viral.
Jorge is 42 years old, he is a journalist, but he traveled to Qatar as one more Argentine, spectator and fan of the National Team. He left Santa Fe on November 14 and arrived on the 16th at dawn. During the first week, he stayed in a hotel with a friend and they dedicated themselves to walking and getting to know the country before the World Cup began. In those moments, it was when he collected the sand.
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“I was at the beach and I started to put it together in some bags that I had on hand, my friend filmed me in one of the videos that we uploaded first to Instagram and now to other networks so they can see that it is true that I put her together there,” Jorge told TN. “I put it together for myself and my loved ones, thinking of me and the gifts,” she maintained, clarifying that a key chain or a magnet were quite expensive in Qatar.
Jorge assures that it seemed normal to him to bring sand. “It’s like when you go to Córdoba and bring a stone”, he exemplified. Guided by that idea, he filled six half-liter plastic bottles with sand and put them in a bag. “At first I put them in the bags and then, since we drank so much water in Qatar due to the heat, we had the little bottles and we used them,” he clarified.
With the sand everywhere
In Qatar, Jorge was up to two days before the final. “I saw the final here in Santa Fe,” he said. He was able to enter the stadiums three times: against Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the Netherlands.
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During his entire stay in the Middle Eastern country, he changed accommodation four times and each time he brought the sand with him. The first week she was in a hotel near the accommodation of the Argentine National Team. Then they moved to a room in a Pakistani man’s house. “There was him and other people who rented, one of them was a security guard from the stadiums who was from Tunisia,” he recalled and said that every day at dawn they prayed while he and his Argentine friend slept.
From the house they moved to the containers known as the Fan Village Cabins. “They had two beds, but four of us shared it and we took turns sleeping one night in the bed and the other on our mats,” Jorge explained. In this way, they were able to lower the costs of the stay. There they moved for the last time from one cabin to another, until their return to Argentina.
Sand bottles always accompanied them. “What happens many times is that one collects things and then leaves them, but I took them with me in all our moves in Qatar”, he pointed. On the return trip, the sand was no problem. “I remember that the guard picked up the bag, put it in his hand and asked me what it was, but more laughing than angry, because he thought it was nice,” he recounted.
as a gift and for sale
When he returned to Argentina, Jorge began to distribute the sand among his loved ones and acquaintances. “I didn’t want to give them in a bag or a plastic bottle,” he recalled. Therefore, he decided to buy some cardboard jars in a trash can near his house. “They are white tubes and I glued the Qatari flags on them”, clarified. It is that the stickers were also brought to complete the “packaging” of their gifts.
Figurines, stickers or any Qatari souvenir were expensive for Argentines, but Jorge saw an opportunity and took advantage of it. “The Qataris to talk to the Argentines, first gave us a gift,” he said. In some cases they were key rings, in other heart-shaped stickers and the colors of the Qatari flag. “On one occasion one gave me two plates complete with stickers in which about 40 units came,” he said. These figures are the ones that Jorge now uses to complete the packaging of the sand.
Upon arriving in Argentina, he assembled the packaging and delivered the gifts to those who had promised them. Then, he published on social networks that whoever wanted sand from Qatar, asked him, because she had left over. However, as of March of this year, he still had two bottles. “With the resurgence of World Cup fever, with the National Team at the Monumental and others, I decided to publish again on social networks, but this time selling it to collect a few pesos and also pay what I spend in the trash can”, he remarked. Turns out the post went viral.
Although initially Jorge had put the entire bottle up for sale at $10,000, due to the number of orders he decided to divide it. He assured that each vial costs between $3,000 and $4,000. “If I put it more expensive, there are people who are very fanatics of the National Team or who are very sensitive to football, who will buy it anyway because they don’t care about the price, but I don’t need that much money and I’m not going to become a millionaire with this. ”, he clarified.
The man from Santa Fe expressed that the price or value of the sand he sells is in what it represents and the meaning it has for all Argentines. “The sand is different from what we see here, it is whiter, softer, like it falls between your fingers, but what is worth is what it means to have something from the place where the Argentine National Team was crowned champion and a party was lived”he concluded.