The grocery store seen in the video is what Americans call an "ethnic
market". America has a very large population of what are called
Hispanics or Latinos, mainly recent immigrants from Mexico and Central
America. These people don't shop at the regular grocery stores for white
people such as Safeway, Kroger, and regional chains like Raleys and
Ralphs. They have their own markets, and these markets are generally run
by small businessmen, and they have very little government interference
in how they run their business. As long as the taxes are paid, the
authorities are usually happy.
So we have these little markets (he used the term "mini-mart" in the
video, which you are likely unfamiliar with, but it's a small
neighborhood market) that cater to their own people, and they "fly under
the radar" as we say and the authorities are not very aware of them. Los
Angeles is majority Hispanic, so I would guess that little "cambio de
cheques" places like this are mainly a Southern California phenomenon.
For the time being, it is perfectly legal in America to sell your gold
and silver to a licensed jeweler, and the local jewelry stores are
running ads to buy gold and silver from people. One jewelry store here
in Sacramento in northern California even put up billboards asking for
gold and silver. There are smaller places, too, that buy and sell used
jewelry and coins, and they have jeweler's licenses which makes the
whole thing legal. But something like this in the video is definitely
new to the US, and not very widespread.
What likely will happen is that we will have many more "jewelers" whose
primary function is as a cambio, and they will open up in shopping areas
with markets and drugstores, and an American will exchange his silver
for (worthless) cash at a "jeweler", then walk next door and buy food
and medicine with the cash. American government is very bureaucratic,
and as long as the jeweler is legal and the market takes cash, it is all
fine by the authorities. I hope this clears some stuff up for you.
Hi Pezar, I'm familiar with the things you mention. Here we have chinese "minimarts" very similar to the ones you have by other ethnic groups. The are well received by the people and of course, they are run by chinese immigrants. We have the "bolitas" as well, Bolivinas leal immigrants but are held in somewhat similar regard as the Mexican illegal immigrants. Since they are willing to work almost for pennies, local workers dont like them that much, and unfortunately its also true many of tehm are involved in illegal activities.
It's sad to read about so many similarities between what you see now and what have become common for us now here in Argentina.
I remember telling people about the booming "I buy gold" signs. Expect them to becoem much more common, even people not directly related to jewelry jumping into that as well. Any small commerce in the downtown area can start doing it and making some money. Here the gold business went up 500% after the crisis.