January 14, 2007

Anger Over Accepting Pesos is Ridiculous

The debate over immigration has shown up in the business world, this time in the form of death threats and angry letters to the owner of a pizza chain in the South and Southwest. The Pizza Patron chain of stores began accepting Mexican pesos as official payment along with United States dollars. All of the change is given in dollars. This is a very common practice in towns that are close to the national borders of the US, like certain stores near the Canadian border who normally accept both American and Canadian dollars.

The difference here is that many of the pizza joints are far from the border, in places like Dallas, more than 400 miles away, and Denver, more than 700 miles. There’s therefore controversy over whether this kind of action would be catering to illegal immigrants from Mexico. This claim, however, is absurd. The stores already have 60% of its customer base as Hispanic, so the likelihood of some of their customers having pesos is very high. This doesn’t mean, however, that any of the customers are necessarily illegal immigrants. It makes perfect sense in Dallas, in Phoenix, in Denver areas far from the border that have significant Hispanic populations.

The money they’re trying to pull in isn’t in huge quantities, so it would have been inconvenient to convert it back to dollars on the way back. Chances are the pesos would have gone around simply sitting in somebody’s sock drawer and have been unused. If the company wants to make more money this way, then let them do it. Don’t drag them into a debate over illegal immigration just because they’re accepting some foreign currency.

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