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01-12-07, 03:51 PM #1
Pizza Chain Under Fire for Accepting Pesos
By JEFF CARLTON
DALLAS (Jan. 11) - A pizza chain has been hit with death threats and hate mail after offering to accept Mexican pesos, becoming another flashpoint in the nation's debate over immigrants.
"This is the United States of America, not the United States of Mexico," one e-mail read. "Quit catering to the damn illegal Mexicans," demanded another.
Dallas-based Pizza Patron said it was not trying to inject itself into a larger political debate about illegal immigration when it posted signs this week saying "Aceptamos pesos" - or "We accept pesos" - at its 59 stores across Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California.
Pizza Patron spokesman Andy Gamm said the company was just trying to sell more pizza to its customers, 60 percent of whom are Hispanic.
Wal-Mart, H-E-B supermarkets and other American businesses in towns along the Mexican border accept pesos. And some busineses in New York and Minnesota communities along the northern border accept 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.
If people would understand that the majority of our customers are Hispanic, then it might make more sense for a company to sell pizza for pesos," Gamm said. "It doesn't make sense in Connecticut. And it doesn't make sense in North Dakota or in Maine. But it makes perfect sense here in Dallas, in Phoenix, in Denver - areas far from the border that have significant Hispanic populations."
The company said it has received hundreds of e-mails, some supportive, most critical.
While praising the pesos plan as an innovative way to appeal to Hispanics, a partner in the nation's largest Hispanic public relations firm said a backlash was inevitable.
"Right now there's a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric going around that could make them a lightning rod," said Patricia Perez, a partner at Valencia, Perez & Echeveste in Los Angeles.
Pizza Patron proclaims on its Web site that "to serve the Hispanic community is our passion." Its restaurants are in mostly Hispanic neighborhoods, and each manager must be bilingual and live nearby, said Pizza Patron founder Antonio Swad, who is part-Italian, part-Lebanese.
The take-home menus are in both English and Spanish, and the dishes include the La Mexicana pizza, with spicy chorizo sausage; La Barbacoa pizza, topped with spicy pulled pork; and chicken wings flavored with lime, peppers and garlic con queso.
Many Pizza Patron customers have pesos "sitting in their sock drawers or in their wallets," Gamm said. "We're talking small amounts, where it would be inconvenient to stop and exchange on the way back - maybe 10 or 20 dollars' worth of pesos."
In the first week, payments in pesos have accounted for about 10 percent of business at the five restaurants operated by the corporation, Pizza Patron said. The others are franchised, and the company will not get reports until the end of the week.
The company has set a conversion rate of 12 pesos per dollar, which is slightly higher than the official rate of about 11 pesos per dollar. Any change is given in U.S. currency.
At a Pizza Patron in Dallas, Veronica Verges bought a pizza Wednesday for her son Nathan's fourth birthday. She paid with pesos her father brought home two weeks ago after a trip to see family in Mexico.
She said she is an occasional Pizza Patron customer, but came that day because she could pay with pesos. Her father wasn't going to use them because he had no plans to go back to Mexico anytime soon.
"I would mostly think a restaurant would do this in a border town," she said. "But it got me over here."
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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None is so rich or mighty that hecan get along without it,and none is so poor but thathe can be made rich by it.
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It brings rest to the weary,cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad,and it is nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed,or stolen, for it is something that is of novalue to anyone until it is given away.
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01-12-07, 03:52 PM #2Cheech Guest
there accepting them here at pizza parlors.
01-12-07, 03:58 PM #3
What the hell; they take the yankee dollar down there.We are the thin blue line
and all the money in the world.
And no you can't have any.
01-13-07, 07:40 AM #4
Some stores in the UK accept the Euro and US dollars.
Do any stores or restaurants in the Northern states of the US accept Canadian dollars?
01-13-07, 10:37 AM #5
01-13-07, 11:47 AM #6
I don't have a problem with this IF you're visting this country. If, on the other hand, you make your home here... this is America, guys!
01-18-07, 11:58 PM #7
Fuck this. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks so, but this is a bad idea. Sure, I'm aware that some mom/pop places up North take Canadian $, and US currency gets a similar representation on the other side of the border.
But, this is not a border town, and this ain't Mexico. And Pesos are not legal currency here.
Sorry if I'm offending anyone, but I'm sick and tired of pandering to illegals. And that article specifically named my city! So, it's probably heading this way too.
01-19-07, 02:29 AM #8THE five-ohVerified LEO
- Join Date
- Somewhere in Florida
- Rep Power
I just got word that we will be working more closely with ICE here to get illegals deported when they committ felony's or are gang members, or are repeat offenders. The Lt liked my idea of deporting everyone I came across (even victims), but, unfortunately, space is limited with the Feds.
01-19-07, 06:41 AM #9
ColoradoCop, we work near eachother, and nothing angers me more than illegals leeching off my taxes, or committing crimes against my fellow citizens. BUT...
I don't see it as pandering to illegals. I might see it like that if they ONLY took pesos, or if they were sending all pesos back to Mexico to be reintroduced into THEIR economy. Anything, and I mean anything, that legally injects money into the US economy is a good thing. The business will still be converting the pesos to US dollars, and our economy will still benefit from it.
Let's look at this from a logical point of view, not an emotional one. How is this pandering to illegals? Do illegals have pesos on them? Sure, sometimes. Do plenty of legal Mexicans have pesos on them after a visit to Mexico? You bet. Are many of them going to go down to a currency exchange in order to cash in $10US worth of pesos? (Which is like what, Tony, 84658476303 pesos? ) Probably not. We lose out on getting that money. Is it more likely those pesos will get spent if there is a product to be gained by using them? Of course...ESPECIALLY when the majority of your customers are Mexican...many of whom just have pesos lying around. I even read that the restaurant is going to try to gain a little coin by using a HIGHER exchange rate than current standard rates! The business, and in turn the economy, gets MORE money when someone buys in pesos than in regular USD!
Everyone complains about illegals sending money back home. Guess what? The pesos that the restaurants receive is money that ISN'T going back to Mexico...it's staying right here. Who can argue with that? Mexico isn't leeching off of us...in this case, WE'RE GETTING MONEY FROM THEM! The fact is, no one can argue this point logically rather than from a point of view based on emotive rhetoric.
I'm about as unsympathetic to people leeching off my country as ANYONE, but the bottom line is, this is America. Capitalism and free enterprise. If it's my business, I can accept whatever form of payment I want, whether it be hershey bars or mink furs. The freedom to run my business with as little outside interference as possible is more important to me than the political and emotional backlash of accepting a foreign currency from a country that happens to be a political hot button right now."If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
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