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Pez are the official monetary unit of the country of Mexico. Pez come in a colorful variety, feature inspiring scenes from the country's past, and can be waved around by Mexicans to pretend they are paying for stuff.
The value of pez in terms of the U.S. dollar is a large and varying number. Amounts in pez are written with the dollar sign, and carried to two decimals of accuracy (the centavo) for the sake of credibility. The American tourist spending his first evening in Mexico is always shocked that dinner costs $550.00, but is relieved when the cashier accepts a couple bucks.
It is a national tradition, every six years before the Presidential election, that the government guns the printing presses, gives everyone all the pez they want, and dinners suddenly start costing $5,500.00.
When the new administration takes over, it announces a regime of currency stability, issues New Pez, each one worth $1,000 of the Old Pez, and prints up new bills with equally inspiring scenes from the country's past. Now dinner costs only $5.50, though halfway into the new President's first year it will be back up to $20.00.
There are a flurry of print and television advertisements about the conversion, but Mexico goes way up into the mountains, and into depths of old age and illiteracy, and despite the ad campaigns, there remain millions of campesinos eager to take the old banknotes, especially the ones with four or more zeros.
- ↑ The author has gone to a Banco de Mexico ATM, inserted an American VISA card, and walked away with $1,000,000.00 (twenty crisp $50,000 bills).