Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pizza, Pesos, and Hate Mail

My wife has been on me to stop writing so much about fundies. So this post is a nod to my lovely wife, who is always right.

At times I travel a lot. I've been to Europe, Mexico, and China on business several time. I spent a year in France back in 99 and it looks like I'm going to spend three or four months in China soon. I don't like to travel on business, but It is part of the job so I do it.  I am self relent. I normally grab my camera and go exploring. People and other cultures are interesting. It has been harder to travel now that Bush has the world thinking we are the modern incarnation of the Roman empire. People ask too many questions about the big ticket items like the war or politics, they used to ask about Los Angeles. It used to be different. People, especially the French, gave me crap just because I'm American, now... It's different.

I've come to realize something over the years. It's all about money. And money is, well, it is just money. Dollars and Euros can be spent anyplace, Pesos are another matter. I was in an airport in Germany on a layover once, I bought French water with Mexican pesos, and breath mints with Hungarian forints. Later in the day I purchased souvenirs with euros and dollars. I've repeate this process wherever I travel. I does not matter if I'm in the airport or in a bar. In China, I once paid for three beers with a 1 Euro coin and 1 dollar in quarters - the change was gven in yuan. The bartender did not care. Money is money, she could change it or spend it just as easily as I could. Apparently, the color of your money only matters in America.

Pizza Patron, which is headquartered in Dallas, recently decided to accept pesos for transactions at all 59 stores in Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California.  When I first read the story on Digg, I smiled. It is about time we start thinking beyond our borders. If Pizza Patron serves a customer base that is 60% Hispanic, then their customers might just have a pocket full of pesos. In the back of my mind I thought - but Pizza Patron is in Texas. That cannot be a good thing. Of course, I was right. Hate mail soon followed.

"This is the United States of America, not the United States of Mexico," one e-mail read. "Quit catering to the damn illegal Mexicans,"

Source: My Way News - Texas-Based Pizza Chain Accepts Pesos

I don't know if it is our collective arrogance, stupidity, or just a lack of common decency, but my fellow Americans can be embarrassing. Hate mail? what is next, drive by's? Its just money folks. When you put it in the bank, it all spends the same.

I carry a valise for my passport and whatever currency I've collected in my travels. I'd like to think that spending money wherever I can is not a matter of national pride, security, or racial aversion. What does it matter If I pay for a slice of Pizza with Pesos or dollars?

Which reminds me of a story. A friend and fellow traveler told about being burglarized at a gym. He had $20 dollars and about 80 euros - the thief took the dollars. What a moron.

There is a PIzza Patron in Wilmington - not a good area, but close enought to where I work that I plan to visit soon. I'll bring my pesos.

Pizza Patron
223 West Anaheim St
Los Angeles, CA 90744
United States

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Johnny Crow said...

Hey, there is one of those here too, that is kind of cool. I'd love to be able to go to the airport and buy stuff with different currency. I always like those machines that can change your currency. My fiance loves to collect foreign coins. I just gave her a whole bunch of shillings and a few euros and some pesos. I also had money from Gambia. Which is a funny story. I used to work for a door to door "sales" company. I had a guy who wanted to buy our product but just got in the states from Gambia and had like $5 in American money and I can't remember how much in Gambian money. So we searched on Google on one of our phones and saw the exchange rate was decent and he gave us all he had, which came out to be $20 more than what the product was. Instead of changing over the currency I had I kept it because it was cool. He was really happy that we were willing to do that. So what is the problem? If I can exchange it and get a decent rate the there is no problem... in my eyes.

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