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Shopping in Venezuela: Survival of the Fittest

By: Adam Dubove - @dubdam - Jan 15, 2015, 9:44 am

EspañolAcquiring basic products in Venezuela has turned into a survival of the fittest contest. Shopping for groceries in the price-controlled, scarcity-ridden South American economy is a test of who can stand in line long enough.

But all of that is about to change. According to AFP, a new occupation has emerged in Venezuela: queues professionals. Not everyone has the time or the physical disposition to stay in line all day. Luckily, there are now people who will step in and do your shopping for you — for a price.

One such budding entrepreneur who makes a living waiting in line is Krisbell Villarroel.

The daily routine for 22-year-old Krisbell, mother of two, begins way before dawn.

“I get up everyday at 2 a.m. and call my suppliers to know where they are or what products they will sell that day,” she explains from her home, located in a low-income suburb on the outskirts of Caracas.

“I’m done with the first line by 10 a.m., and then I go maybe to another one to see what they’re selling over there. That’s what I do all day to try to get things. In one store we can get milk, sugar, or coffee, but we have to go to another one to find flour, rice, diapers, or shampoo,” says Krisbell.

She explains that her clients are from “households that don’t have the time nor the need to stand in line. They’re businessmen with busy lives and can afford this.”

As reported by AFP, several restaurants in the capital have hired an employee for the sole purpose of waiting outside supermarkets and stores in order to secure the products needed to keep the business going.

Nicolás Maduro’s administration claims this can all be blamed on an “economic war” waged by enemies of the people. However, the president ignores the 4,000-year-old history of inflation and how shortages are the direct result of price controls, just like the ones his Chavista model imposes on the economy.

Instead of the supposed “savage capitalism” the regime propaganda’s denounces, what we see in Venezuela is the consolidation of a dog-eat-dog “savage socialism,” where physical strength and stamina are now the way to getting your hands on goods that are harder than ever to find.

Translated by Daniel Duarte.

Adam Dubove Adam Dubove

Adam Dubove is a journalist, co-host of The Titanic's Violinists radio show, and the secretary of the Amagi Institute. Follow him on Twitter: @dubdam, and read his blog: Diario de un Drapetómano.