McDonald’s French fries are being sold in Venezuela after a 10-month hiatus, but they come at a price: around 800 bolívares, or the equivalent of $133, Fusion reports. Hit the jump to see why.
Why are they so expensive? The Venezuelan government keeps tight currency controls that make it hard for people to take their money out of the country. It also limits the number of dollars companies can buy without government approval. This has led to a shortage of imports on everyday goods like toilet paper, soap, condoms, medicines, chicken, milk, and more.
In January, McDonald’s replaced French fries with yuca fries after potatoes became too difficult to import. The company is now sourcing potatoes from local Venezuelan farmers. On the black market, the potato fries are reportedly going for the equivalent of $0.64 but at the official government exchange rate, they’re being sold from $79 to $133. That would be an outrageous price anywhere, but especially in Venezuela, where the monthly minimum wage is worth around $12 on the black market, according to Fusion.
“Customers have been coming in really excited,” Yefferson Romero, who works at a McDonald’s in Caracas, told the Associated Press. “But when we tell them the price, not so much.”
McDonald’s spokesperon Sonia Ruseler told the AP that the fries are not traditional McDonald’s French fries. Instead, they are a new flavor, “specially made in Venezuela.”