Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Pizza Joint Accepts Pesos, Gets Hate Mail

Posted by Patrick on 11 Jan 2007

Before I begin to go on about this story, let me first say that I do not advocate illegal immigration, nor do I believe that illegal immigration is just some small problem that the US can avoid doing something about for a few decades. In this post, I will merely be explaining how I feel about those people who respond so negatively to a business that is trying to expand its customer base by offering to accept a foreign currency. With that said, please read.

The AP’s Jeff Carlton in Dallas has written an article I saw on comcast.net saying that a Texas-based pizza chain has been receiving lots of hate mail and death threats for offering to accept Mexican Pesos.

The chain is called Pizza Patrón and advertises itself as “truly serving Latino communities”. There are 59 stores in mostly border states, but also in Nevada and Colorado (3 in the greater Denver area). Because the stores posted signs this week saying “Aceptamos pesos” (“we accept pesos”), it seems like the whole illegal immigration hotbutton issue is not only getting out of hand, but getting focused like a magnifying glass in the sun right on this company. Does that sound appropriate, when there are loads of businesses along the north and south borders accepting Canadollars and Mexipesos every day, that we focus such a negative beam on this company who is trying to better accommodate their largely Latino customer base?

I go into Asia to draw a comparison, namely to Japan. For the six+ years I lived in Japan, I never once was refused if I was out of Yen and tried to pay with US dollars; rather, the entrepreneurs in that country were stoked to get a look at the “new” bills we introduced a few years ago (though some shop owners who were generally uninformed thought they were fake, in which case Mr. Visa had to pay). What’s more, the businesses who were accepting my US dollars were turning a profit on the conversion. For example, if the conversion rate was 120yen=1dollar, I’d get a rate of 110yen=1dollar when I had to pay for stuff that cost Yen.

Even though I live in Denver, where the topic of illegal immigration is an immensely sensitive issue and a constantly growing concern; even though there are more illegal immigrants living in Denver than there are legal ones; even though illegal immigrants in Denver account for nearly 10% of its total population, I don’t get upset about this — I can’t be consumed by a topic like a business which caters to Latinos deciding that they will test the waters and accept pesos for a month.

First of all, I’m not Latino, and even if I was, whatever job I was holding down in this country, where I was here legally or not, wouldn’t be paying me in pesos. Secondly, if I was in the US toting a wad of pesos, I probably haven’t been here for more than my allowed 90 days, and chances are that I would have exchanged most of my pesos into US dollars if I was coming into this country to stay — the point being that if I am an illegal immigrant, about the only thing I can buy with pesos around here is a pizza, so I don’t need them. Lastly, it’s the mark of an idiot to be critical of a business for trying to succeed; if you don’t like their policies, just don’t go there.

editors aside feel free to comment, but hatemail will be deleted. You are free to express yourself, but in my blog, you will be censored if you are out of line. And I alone define what “out of line” means.

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