To the People

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Leading Economic Indicators

How weak is the U.S. dollar? Well, a Chilean strip club has decided to accept dollars at 2004 exchange rates as a way to lure the gringos back, according to a story in Bloomberg News:

Bikini-clad pole dancers, mini- skirted hostesses and a deal on foreign exchange await customers at Passapoga, a Santiago nightclub, who pay with U.S. dollars.

At banks and foreign-exchange bureaus, $1 fetches less than 430 pesos. Passapoga pays 600 pesos.

``This campaign has had considerable success,'' said Jaime Retamal, 55, the club's manager. ``Customers come from all over, but a lot from the U.S.''

The dollar has lost a quarter of its value against the peso in the past three years, increasing U.S. travelers' expense for hotels, taxis and restaurants in Chile. Passapoga is discounting the exchange rate to discourage Americans from cutting back on nightclub visits.

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Patricia Kart, a Passapoga hostess for 2 1/2 years, said workers agreed to the plan even though it reduces their commissions. The promotion is bringing in more customers, she said.

``We have to take what the house gives us, and our job is to do what it takes to make the clients happy,'' Kart, 28, said in a telephone interview from the club. ``They are very content.''

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