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“Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”     Benjamin Franklin,    Final Speech at the Constitutional Convention

January 10, 2007

A Target For Tom Tancredo

by Brad Warbiany

Texas-based pizza chain accepts Mexican pesos

A Dallas-based pizza chain which caters to the Hispanic community is accepting the Mexican currency at all of its 59 U.S. stores starting on Monday, giving the greenback some unusual competition at the cash register.

“Unlike many other businesses for us it makes sense. Our stores are located in predominately Hispanic communities and so the majority of our customers are Hispanic,” said Andrew Gamm, director of brand development for Pizza Patron.

“We know that a large number of them travel back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico and consequently have some pesos left over in their pocket. The pizza business is extremely competitive and we thought this was a way to position ourselves in relation to our competitors,” he told Reuters.

Actually, this seems like an ingenious way to both attract attention to your chain, as well as capitalize on a market that is probably underexploited. In a situation like this, it doesn’t matter if they’re only doing 1% of their business in pesos, the brand loyalty it creates as it curries favor amongst Mexican immigrants could make it more than worth their while. They could even extend it further, and attempt to gain favor with libertarians by accepting the Liberty Dollar.

But it’s also a bit of a dangerous time to be doing it, with the rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric coming in the US.

But against the backdrop of rising anti-Hispanic tensions as America grapples with an estimated 10 to 12 million illegal immigrants, there are some who do not regard it as a harmless marketing gimmick.

“This is America, We speak English and our currency is the U.S. dollar. I will no longer visit your restaurant due to your demonstrated inability to assimilate into the culture of this country,” said one irate former customer in an e-mail sent to Pizza Patron on Monday morning.

Given that they operate in Tom Tancredo’s home state of Colorado (among others), I wouldn’t be surprised to see him try to craft legislation to fight these guys. A company like this is trying to out-compete in a tough industry by offering services their competitors haven’t yet thought of. And yet they’ll catch hell from political and media demagogues looking to work average Americans into a lather over the “invaders from the south”.

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7 Comments

  1. Well, given the fact that paper money isn’t really backed by anything of value, does it really matter if this pizza place accepts little pieces of paper with pictures of Mexican people on them along with those little pieces of paper with American people that we all carry in our wallets ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — January 9, 2007 @ 8:58 pm
  2. Brad,

    I would regard anyone who owned an establishment that accepted the Liberty Dollar as a loon. The Liberty Dollar’s creators push the “New World Order” and whacko conspiracy theories.

    Other than that, there’s no problem here. The pesos can be converted into US dollars that can be spent and used to pay taxes.

    Comment by Kevin — January 9, 2007 @ 9:21 pm
  3. Speaking of loons, it’s pretty common for chains along the Canadian border to accept Canuck cash. It’s a good business practice, and I am frankly surprised that it isn’t already done. I just assumed it was.

    But then, attitudes about Mexico are a bit different than attitudes about Canada.

    Comment by Wulf — January 10, 2007 @ 6:48 am
  4. Technically speaking, it’s illegal to accept foreign currency as tender in this country.

    Technically you may only accept foreign currency for the purpose of holding it (for all legal purposes), or exchanging it for legal tender.

    Comment by Chris Byrne — January 10, 2007 @ 9:41 am
  5. Oh and you can thank FDR for that little piece of bull.

    Comment by Chris Byrne — January 10, 2007 @ 9:41 am
  6. Here, in the Rio Grande Valley, WalMart and Target accept pesos.

    Comment by John Newman — January 10, 2007 @ 10:25 am
  7. Yeah… It makes it a little more clear in the story (but not completely clear). This pizza place is not the first business to take pesos. However, it is one of the first to do so in places as far away from Mexico as Colorado (only one of the states they operate in). And it’s heading around the news a bit these days, so that’s why I brought this one up.

    But I didn’t intend to make the point that this is the only business taking pesos (or Canadian dollars), it was just a nicely-packaged story.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — January 10, 2007 @ 10:55 am

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