Retailer Denies Sign Is a Slur; with 'Gringo,' Some See Store as Catering to Illegals

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Retailer Denies Sign Is a Slur; with 'Gringo,' Some See Store as Catering to Illegals


Byline: Tom Ramstack, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A Casa Furniture and Bedding store in Alexandria has been advertising easy credit with a twist: "no gringo papers" necessary.

A sign outside the store at the intersection of North Beauregard and King streets reads, "Credito sin papeles de gringo." In English, that could be translated to say "Credit without gringo papers."

Blanca Granados, the store's assistant manager, translated the message to mean "just 'without white papers,' like Social Security or like that."

Miss Granados said the store requires customers who purchase furniture on credit to fill out an application and provide personal documentation. The store will accept a passport as identification.

"Some people say, 'You know, I don't have a Social Security,' " Miss Granados said. "They can show their passport if they don't have any other papers."

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word gringo as "a disparaging term for a foreigner in Latin America, especially an American or English person."

But the word "gringo" in the store's sign is not intended to offend anyone, Miss Granados said.

Casa Furniture and Bedding operates 10 stores in the region. Miss Granados said she was not sure how long the sign has been displayed at the store in the 4600 block of King Street. …

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