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Don’t accept pesos or else!

January 12, 2007

CNN reports that Dallas-based chain Pizza Patron has received a number of death threats and hate letters over its decision to accept Mexican pesos as payment. This week, the chain put up signs that read “Aceptamos pesos” (we accept pesos) on its stores in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California.

Pizza Patron claims that 60% of its clientele is Hispanic with its stores located in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods. Each store manager is required to be bilingual and live nearby in order to cater better to its customers. Because many customers may return to Mexico periodically and return with large amounts of pesos, the chain is trying to create a convenient way for them to spend their money without going through the trouble of continually converting their pesos into U.S. dollars.

But such courtesy has not been well received in some quarters. Emails reading “This is the United States of America, not the United States of Mexico” and “Quit catering to damn illegal Mexicans” were received by the pizza chain. Of course, one has to ask how many pizza-purchasing agents there are among the ranks of undocumented migrants and how the United States of America does not benefit fiscally by the use of otherwise unusable pesos in an American business.

Is this a case of xenophobia? Ignorance? Prejudice? Probably a nice mix of all? I wonder if the same individuals who wrote hateful letters to Pizza Patron are going to launch a salvo against those U.S. currency exchange booths which charge a service fee that is paid with…what else…foreign money.

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