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What? I mean, que?

A Dallas discount chain will start accepting pesos in payment for goods. They're holding a big party to announce the new policy.

Could someone explain this to me? Is this even legal? How the dickens are they actually going to get paid? Do they just change the pesos at the present exchange rate at their local bank?

I suppose I ought to be amused. But somehow, I'm not.

HT: Michelle Malkin

Comments (15)

Lydia, I do believe it is legal. A bank can, if it so wishes, take in and exchange through it's money or foreign currency desk any listed or known currency. Of course there is a discount on the rate which is the bank's fee. So for example if the rate was two drachmas to the dollar you would get say .97 cents back.

The rate would vary with currency fluctuations but the bank would always get it's cut.

The interesting part is, how does the store follow the ups & downs of the peso, do they build in a cost factor for the bank exchange, & what sort of computer program do their clerks have to facilitate this, debit cards being enough of a drag on checkout lines.

I don't think it is premature to compare Dallas to those Roman outposts and latifundia on the Danube and the Rhine. They had their start and we are looking at ours, decline that is. Not that there aren't factors other than immigration.

Living in Texas, this is wholly unsurprising. Banks here are well-set-up to exchange Mexican currency and the amount of day traffic, not to mention immigrants, is huge.

The opposite is also true: border towns and even places further south in Mexico gladly take American currency. Until considering that this might be odd for America to take foreign currency, I hadn't even considered that it might be interpreted as 'strange' for the other way around.

When I lived in northern Washington, the stores there took Canadian currency and the stores over the border accepted American. That was a really, really long time ago, though.

Most Canadian stores and restaurants, at least in Ontario, accept US currency without any hassle even today. I imagine it's probably true throughout most of the country and, honestly, to expect it to be otherwise, given the regular amount of human and economic traffic that travels between Canada and the US, would be naive.

I think Lydia's post has to be placed in a larger context, the entire Mexican or immigration issue as we now face it doesn't bare realistic comparisons to Canada or even currency swapping done earlier along the southern border. It's not business as usual.

The inroads on English as the prevailing, dominant language alone should give pause. When was the last time, or how often, have you called a business and not been asked whether you wish to continue in English or Spanish?

It's not that I view this currency question as very important in itself, although I can see it spreading, instead it and much more disturbing things are indicative of a nation wherein major elements appear to have abandoned any notion of nationhood and culture.

Our cities will not soon find it's streets filled with thousands of marching, irate Canadians waving their flag and I tend to include such things as Lydia's post as part of an overall darkening picture. A small part possibly but there you have it.

Thanks, John. Yes, that's how I meant it, particularly since we do have much more disturbing things going on such as people pushing for voting for illegal immigrants, in-state tuition at state schools, the requirement that hospital emergency rooms allow themselves to be used as doctor's offices for illegals, the consular identity card being used to allow illegals to get U.S. driver's licenses, and so forth.

Also, I just honestly was wondering about the legal situation. I thank my readers for bringing me up to speed.

There's one more point that occurs to me: Why is the store making such a big deal about this? I would guess (again, I'm open to correction) that the stores mentioned who accept U.S. currency in Canada and Mexico, or the stores along the Canada border that accept Canadian currency, didn't have big "open house" things or whatever this is to "announce the new policy." To me this reads as agenda driven, as part of the whole thing where illegals march in the streets, as John alludes to, and where people more or less flaunt their "solidarity with Mexico." It sounds political to me.

Politics, maybe. But my money'd be on the almighty dolla... er, peso.

Todd, you may or may not take my word for it, but without politics we wouldn't be in the mess we are in. As both law and borders, markers of a nation, are in question politics perforce must enter into the equation.

As to dollars/pesos, did you forget about votes, were that all there was it would still serve as an indicator of a dissolving moral fiber, a nation increasingly without an identity & losing it's grip on the beliefs, myths, practices & customs that make it whole.

If we are only the Land of Opportunity, grossly taken, then some of us should begin to despair.

I am in complete agreement that there is a much broader context in which this needs to be considered. But I draw a distinction between consideration and conclusion.

I'm very well convinced that not every action regarding the subjects of such a context be a priori a political statement.

When you look at it outside of the greater context of immigration issues, there is simply a business offering another service that is trying to increase profits. They are following the lead of "another Dallas business" which did likewise and increased profits. Because few businesses that far north do this, I can only imagine a big newsworthy event for a kick-off serves to boost their business immediately.

Within the greater context of immigration issues, such businesses offering such a service -- likely at a nominal cost -- stand to lose their edge and profits if they continue their policies and the, horror of horrors, immigrants are all of a sudden made legal.

I endured here a while ago a day in which businesses voluntarily lost money to indicate their support for immigration reform -- they closed for an entire day. I had virtually nowhere to eat out and office buildings didn't get cleaned. That to me is obviously political. This situation? A simpler 'a business is trying to make more money' seems the more obvious answer to me.

Should a business in a border state taking foreign currency give pause? Probably. Do I think it's obviously political, even in context of larger issues facing us? Not at all.

Now, if it were a town in northern Idaho...

It's possible I'm wrong about the nature of the statement involved in the kick-off and whether it had a political edge. I suppose it would depend on what sort of statements were made--speeches or whatever--at the event. And that I don't know.

Using both currencies has been common on both sides of the border for years. When I go to Mexicali or Tijuana for bullfights, I never bother with exchanging currency. And the change I get back in pesos, I often use here in the Bay Area with little problem (although this is usually in small shops or with farmers). The same worked in Europe pre-Euro. I could use Austrian Schillings in Bolzano with ease.

I don't see any cause for alarm here. The Peso has been relatively stable for years, and if the Mexican government starts getting back to screwy fiscal policies, the shops will adjust.

Todd, fair enough, but let me close with a few observations; Dallas is, what, roughly 200 miles from the Mexican border. For all the references to border towns and trade, it does seem the concept of border is expanding, you might even say the border is expanding, northwards!

In your third para you use the phrase "that far north", which is precisely why it's news. So we may ask why now and how come?

I would suggest both questions may be referred back to porous borders, floods of immigrants, mostly illegal, and a currently non-existent immigration policy which de facto and to the extent it exists, exists to favor illegal border crossings.

The companies in Dallas are therefore responding to a situation not of their making and are doing what companies always do, adjusting. And yes, companies exist for the purpose of profit.

You will note that my third para touches upon politics, which have a tendency to affect us all.

I would venture to say that by the time our hard working visitors reach a town in northern Idaho they will have shed their pesos, I think.
On the other hand if you happen to be that way you may in time note the following; when calling a business you will get a bi-lingual phone menu, you will observe bi-lingual signs and posters, you will know of bi-lingual voting ballots, you will encounter people who know not the English language, you will observe the presence of translators, day workers, bodagas, an occasional Mexican flag, and other phenomena of flux, including perhaps a certain militancy in the air.

Give it time, Idaho or elsewhere.

Dallas is, what, roughly 200 miles from the Mexican border.

You are obviously not from Texas - it is more like 500+ miles.

I would see this as more marketing than politics. As far as private exchange goes, the only item you are required to accept in the US is US currency. But you are allowed to accept anything at all (taking upon yourself the risk of it having any value translatable to US currency).

But its not just Mexican immigrants. There are parts of Houston where signs are in Vietnamese or other Asian languages (street signs as well, not just private signs) and government forms come in a variety of Asian languages.

The matter of government forms is of greater moment than that of currency. As you probably know, the Clinton administration handed us a law or bureaucratic rule or something of that sort (I don't know if it was passed by Congress in any form) that government agencies _must_ provide services in a variety of languages. I don't have time to look up the links now, but NRO has had articles, as I recall, discussing the madness this has led to with translators sitting around in DMV offices, ready to translate into any of a huge number of other languages, and where the feds have come around and harassed local offices that don't provide translators. I think this is scandalous. Apart from the fact that some of the languages being required affect such a small number of people likely to come by that this is a highly inefficient use of tax dollars, I don't even think this requirement should be extended to Spanish. If you come to the U.S., legally or especially illegally, you take the risk that you won't be able to talk to government officials in your own language and that government forms for which you might have some use will not be available in a language you speak. This is also true of Americans who travel in foreign lands. If you want to be sure to be able to deal with the government in your own language, stay in your own country.


While I am pro-bilingual, I have to say that I agree with you on this. I have no right to expect the Dutch to speak in a civilized language like German (well, that is not quite true. I do expect the Dutch to speak German, but that tendency has been less than beneficial to others of my ilk) when I am in the Netherworlds.

Yes, having two official languages makes sense in some parts of the United States (and I really mean Italian and German), but until that point, not knowing the official language is a hardship that is self-inflicted. It is fine if you are a tourist, and even then, I expect you to make an effort. Even when the language is a hard one (you should hear my Mandarin sometime, but I would not go to Beijing and not expect that some basic Mandarin is expected of me). But to immigrate and not bother with the local official language is just daft.

In San Francisco I frequently hear the Mexican dishwashers and linecooks speaking to their bosses in English AND Italian, so I don't buy that it is too difficult. The Swiss manage it, and we all know that the Swiss are not always the sharpest blades in the Victorinox.

As a business, you can accept whatever means of payment you wish to. I wouldn't do this, but I don't live close to that border. I suppose there is some PR value in it to get people thru the doors. I would think, however, that a customer would have the right to demand change in US Dollars.

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