In the birthplace of soccer legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, signs in some shop windows read ‘no more stickers or albums’, referring to the 2022 collectible sticker albums ahead of November’s tournament in Qatar .
The trend has generated a wave of memes and satire on social media, and even the creation of an app that lets you know where to get the coveted stickers. The new stock sold out within hours.
“It’s frustrating not being able to find any,” said Exequiel Claveriea 38-year-old media professional and father of three who are fans of local club River Plate.
“I come home every day to (my kids) saying, ‘Hey daddy, did you buy some stickers?’ There are not any!”
Argentina, who won the Copa America last year, will travel to Qatar along with other Latin American countries Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Mexico and Costa Rica.
Italian sticker maker Panini says many adults are also collecting stickers this year, increasing demand.
The suggested price for a pack of five stickers is 150 pesos (nearly a dollar at the official rate), but the shortage has caused prices to double or triple in informal markets, including that of Rivadavia Park in Buenos Aires.
Completing the 600-sticker album could cost around 20,000 pesos, a high amount in a country facing high inflation and a severe economic crisis.
“The total cost of filling the album is high. In reality, even if you rarely have to buy everything yourself: Grandma or aunt always gives you a gift,” said Lucas Perron39, graphic designer, as he put stickers in the book with his two children.