Company stores trap Mexican farmworkers in a cycle of debt

By Richard Marosi/Los Angeles Times – Company stores, called tiendas de raya, are a stubborn vestige of an oppressive past. The country’s export farms have modernized rapidly in recent years to meet U.S. food safety standards and satisfy Americans’ appetite for fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. But the company stores operate as they have for generations: as mom-and-pop monopolies that sell to a captive clientele, post no prices and track purchases in dog-eared ledgers.


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