Food by VICE

Chilean Man Paid for New Android Phone with 127 Pounds of Avocados

And they said avocado toast is a waste of money. Who's laughing now?

by Jelisa Castrodale
Jun 4 2018, 9:56pm

Photo via Flickr user Hubert Figuière 

A couple of weeks ago, we commemorated the eighth anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day, that time when developer Laszlo Hanyecz traded 10,000 bitcoins for two Papa John’s pizzas. It was one of the first real-world cryptocurrency transactions; at the time, those bitcoins were worth about $41. Unfortunately for Hanyecz, had he held on to them, the current exchange rate for 10,000 bitcoins is now about $77.3 million dollars (and you thought blowing 41 bucks on Papa John’s was a ripoff).

In future years, we fully expect Avocado Smartphone Day to be celebrated as well, and we’ll all raise a slice of overpriced avocado toast in Camilo Briceňo’s honor. Remember that legend’s name, because he’s the Chilean avocado dealer who successfully swapped 58 kilograms (127 pounds) of the bumpy little fruit for a new Motorola Moto X4 phone.

According to The Independent, this all started when the Ripley department store ran a promotion that listed three prices for the phone: its $399 in-store price, its reduced online price, and its approximate value in avocados. Briceňo apparently thought “Oh, I can do that,” and posted a video on Instagram to ask the store about the logistics of an avocado trade. “I accept the challenge,” he wrote in the caption. “Where can I leave them? @elweondelaspaltas wants that Motorola! Where do I deposit avocados?” (It’s also worth noting that El Weon De Las Paltas loosely translates as “The Avocado Guy.”)

Because everything is so fucking weird right now, Ripley left a comment on his video, agreeing to the trade. “We’ll meet tomorrow at 12 in Ripley Park Arauco,” it wrote. “You bring the avocados and we’ll bring the cell phone.”

Briceňo did just that, carrying 127 pounds of avocados into the store, posing for a photo and walking out with a new Android phone. Ripley then responded by quietly removing the avocado price from the phone’s online listing.

Despite being one of the world’s leading avocado exporters, it is getting increasingly expensive to buy avocados in Chile. At the end of March, the average price for an avocado was around $4.20, which is 50 percent higher than it was at the same time last year.

Luis Schmidt, the president of Chilean trade group Fedefruta, said that lower avocado production in Chile and delayed shipments of avocados from Peru have contributed to the price increases—but even he thinks $4 is kind of ridiculous. “Regardless of what's happening, this price is unjustified,” he said. “I am a producer of avocados and I'm not being paid that. However, if you go shopping in a supermarket, they will probably charge you these prices.”

Or maybe you could just take a couple of Motorola phones to the store and see if you can work out a trade?