Washington Costco Customers Want Canadians To Shop On Their Own Side Of The Border

We don’t like to be alarmist, but we sense the next huge international skirmish brewing on the border between Washington state and the Canadian province of British Columbia, where discount-hungry Canucks (is that an insult? We’ve heard it is, but then there’s the hockey team, so…) are apparently making the border crossing to shop at Costco — and where some locals are all “Hey, stop buying all the dang Huggies!”

Some Costco shoppers in the town of Bellingham are so peeved at the Canadian invasion that they have created a Facebook page with the on-the-nose title of “Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans.”

From the page’s About section:

You all been there. The main stay of this town “guide meridian” is LA freeway at rush hour. Its hard to find a parking spot. The lines are crazy. The overcrowding is causing some to be rude. We just want to go shopping like everyone else, not go on an adventure. Costco and other big box companys in this area need to be allowed to expand or move to larger areas. Bellingham Coscto is in the top ten profitable Costcos but is still top ten smallest stores. What are your ideas? lets make this known so that the city/county officials know that the people want change so we can better accommodate our Canadians neighbors and our own shopping situations.

And while there is all sorts of bacon-slinging going on in the comments on the page — “Get out of the Pacific Northwest!” “To us it’s the southwest!” goes a completely imaginary exchange of sass-talking that we just made up — Steven Zussino at GroceryAlerts.ca (yes, that’s right… “.ca” They even have their own, more polite version of .com) calls for his fellow Canadians to reconsider their trips to Bellingham.

He points out that while the prices might be cheaper on some items at Costco, people need to figure in the time and cost to drive all the way to Bellingham and back — not to mention having to wait while crossing the border along with your fellow bargain hunters.

Additionally, Zussino writes that though Canadians might be able to pick up a less expensive car seat for their baby at a U.S. Costco, it isn’t certified by Canadian safety authorities. So you wouldn’t even be allowed to leave the hospital with your newborn until you got a proper Canadian seat.

“If you do plan to shop across the border, try alternative stores like Fred Meyer or Safeway or Albertsons,” he writes. “They all have great deals and take coupons.”

We’re just going to go ahead and predict that this is all doomed to escalate into a diplomatic nightmare that will ultimately result in something resembling the beginning of Red Dawn (the Swayze original; not that remake junk they still haven’t released), but with enemy invaders parachuting in to take advantage of deep savings.

And when that happens, where will the people of Washington go to stock up on supplies? Costco, of course.

Comments

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  1. dorrdon says:

    I’m a Canadian, and other than the hockey team, have never considered Canuck to be an insult.

    BTW: The Canuck was also a fighter jet (CF-100 Canuck) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_CF-100_Canuck

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yeah, you may feel that way but when your passing through a Canadian customs point and they ask you the reason for your visit never, and I mean NEVER, tell them your came up to get some Canuck nookie!

      Those guys have no sense of humor! lol!

      In my defense I was home on leave after finishing jump school and I might possibly have had a sip or two of beer already.

      • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

        Some do have a sense of humor – we live right on the Canadian border and the border guards always ask if we are going to leave anything in Canada. Once time I said, “Yes. A bunch of money and maybe some poop.” They laughed and told us to, “only leave the money, thank you.”

    • "I Like Potatoes" says:

      Our High School was the Canucks and our mascot was a “woodsman”. Not quite sure why we were the Canucks – the school is in Central New Jersey. Go figure.

    • spartan says:

      Dear Consumerist,

      i have noticed an increased number of Canadians coming to this site and posting the first comments, depriving American Consumerist readers of the privilege of the first post.

      I suggest that you designate certain times where only Americans are permitted to post, and not making the comments section like the Los Angeles freeways.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    So it all boils down to this: Some Americans are mad that
    Canadians are spending their hard earned money in America.

    • Tunnen says:

      The Canadians are stealing the work from American “consumers” in recovering the American economy!

      “Dey Tuk R Jarbs!” (Sorry, had a flashback of an old South Park episode =P)

      I found it funny about the amount of outrage there is here in Vancouver, BC over this. Not only when it happened, but also when the Facebook post was deleted. I figure it was more like someone just trolling and just shrugged it off as someone’s misguided opinion. I’ve also met many rude American’s in Vancouver, BC as well, but It doesn’t make me think that Vancouver should have an American free time.

      Also, with the exception of some items like groceries, you would still need to pay the HST (Federal Tax) on the goods when you crossed back into Canada. So you lose money exchanging currencies, Washington state taxes, Canadian federal taxes, transportation costs, travel insurance (assuming you didn’t take the risk) and time. So unless you are buying enough stuff for multiple families, I can’t see how you’d save money overall. This is also assuming you made a special trip to the US for this purpose. If on the other hand, you were driving though the area, perhaps dropping/picking-up someone from SeaTac or Bellingham airport, then it could make a lot more sense. Perhaps, I need to revisit the math now that the Canadian dollar is above parity as I last compared prices when it was below parity.

    • coffeeculture says:

      I think people are mad because we’re turning into that third world country people go to buy cheap things…because we used to do that all the time.

  3. SeattleSeven says:

    How dare they come down here and pay sales tax in my state!
    Sales tax is for us to pay! Not THOSE people.

    I like that Americans only shopping hours is the preferred solution to this. More cash registers? Nah. Bigger store? Nope. Two Costcos in town? Inconceivable! Kicking the ferrners out is the best plan.

    • StarKillerX says:

      While I agree that this is stupid but I will point out that a bigger or second store will take time so wont solve anything short term, and if the influx empties the store, as has been reported, more registers wont help either.

      I just came back from a trip into Canada on Sunday, and what this makes me curious about it what the border crossing there is like. Sunday afternoon it took me almost two hours to get across the Peace Bridge and back into the US.

      • who? says:

        I was wondering the same thing about the border. I live on the Mexican border, and it takes about 2 hours to get from Mexico to the US.

      • Tunnen says:

        In southwestern BC, there are only a handful of crossings into Washington. The Peace Arch is the main crossing, followed by the Pacific Truck Crossing (Cars allowed) that is a stones throw away from it (Almost literally). There is usually a 1-2 hour wait during the weekend mornings heading into the US and the lineup into Canada is just as long during the weekend late afternoon for the return trip. On long weekends that can easily extend longer. If you drive farther East to the Huntington crossing, or even farther to the Sumas crossing you are still looking at long line ups, though they are usually shorter then the Peace Arch and Pacific Truck crossing. Huntington is also only open from 8am to midnight. I excluded Victoria (Ferry crossing to US) and Point Roberts (Peninsula with no car access to the rest of WA state.)

        So for a standard weekend day trip into the US, you are looking at least 1-2 hours wait into the US followed by a 1-2 hour wait to get out of the US.

        • kaleberg says:

          There’s a big CostCo in Sequim maybe 15 miles from the ferry dock. The real problem would be downtown Victoria traffic.

      • Weekilter says:

        For border crossings the worst one in BC/WA is the “Peace Arch” crossing (US I-5/Canada 99) crossing. The fastest is the “truck crossing” (WA 543/BC 15) Bellingham is usually not too long.

      • eetonaee says:

        Many of us have NEXUS cards so the wait is much shorter both ways

    • Cacao says:

      Speaking of Sales Tax, do you have any idea just how many Washingtonians go to the Costco closest to the WA/Or border to avoid paying sales tax? We are talking Vancouverites, natch. One day I will go to the Costco near PDX airport (just take the I-205 bridge over the Columbia river) and count all the WA license plates.

    • Marlin says:

      You do know that Milk, Gas, and many other items in the US are subsidized by Federal American tax money(Income tax for one). Would it be ok for Americans to go to Canada to use the health care and not pay into it?

      • who? says:

        Actually, both Canada and the U.S. (and most other industrialized countries) have similar milk subsidies. The main differrence in milk prices, however aren’t the milk subsidies, which in recent years have been pretty small, but the Canadian dairy protections, which set quotas on the amount of milk allowed in the Canadian market, and essentially dump all of the excess on the foreign market. This essentially fixes Canadian milk prices, while U.S. prices are driven more by the market. Milk in Canada is about $2 more per gallon than the U.S.

        As far as gas…Canada has oil subsidies, too. It’s too damn complicated for me to figure out right now, but I suspect that if the subsidies affect the price of gas much (which I doubt), it’s probably by similar amounts on both sides of the border.

        • Tunnen says:

          Keep in mind that there is also regulations in Canada that for the example of milk, prevent the use of growth hormones and some antibiotic treatments. The same can be said about beef and other meats, as well as fruits and vegetables.

          Canada also has different regulations in other areas like safety and the environment. Saccharin, is another example of a food additive that was banned in Canada while legal in the US.

          “Kinder Surprise” is a great example of these types of regulations in the US. They are legal in Canada, but deemed illegal in the US by the FDA. This has caused numerous horror stories at US Customs.

    • Robert Nagel says:

      “feriners”

  4. MaryK says:

    Some days I love the town I live in. Other days I am very ashamed of it.

    I would like to point out that this represents but a FRACTION of the community here.

  5. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I’m sure that if my fellow Canadian’s stopped shopping there (or any other place nearby,) as a result of this, suddenly they’d be clamouring for cross-border shoppers because they wouldn’t be making enough money. I remember reading a newspaper article a few years back about Bellingham/Blaine/Seattle trying to woo Canadian shoppers & get their money, now they want them to leave?

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      The cities and business owners don’t want them to leave, just a few of the other shoppers do.

    • 180CS says:

      Ugh, no. This is a small group of idiots who don’t understand that their problem is with COSTCO, not a group of people from another country that is choosing to boost the local US economy by paying WA state sales tax.

      The media takes things like this, forgets to mention that this represents, as maryK said, a FRACTION of self-patronizing nationalist morons, Suddenly ‘everyone’ in Canada thinks that ‘everyone’ in Bellingham feels this way, and then a larger portion of Bellingham thinks….Yeah. I could go on and on, but lets just say that this is a really trivial issue that a small group of idiots is trying to make a big deal about. Sadly, the sheeple are going to help snowball this into an actual, big issue.

      Anyway, again, this is an issue to be taken up with COSTCO. I just looked this place up on Google Maps. Guess what? There’s a crap ton of undeveloped land behind Costco. I’d like to know what efforts Costco had made to purchase the land, expand the store, and provide parking in the back with additional checkouts on the side of the building. You know, like every department store in every mall in America does? If Costco can’t buy that land from the county, then the issue is with the county, again, NOT Canada.

      • MamaCatfish says:

        The issue is that the county has some sort of bylaw against big box stores so they can’t expand or open a second store. If people were smart they’d be directing their rage at the local lawmakers instead of us poor Canucks.

      • eetonaee says:

        Bellingham has laws restricting the size of big box stores. They are in discussion with the city to build a new store.

    • regis-s says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Money’s at par and there are too many of us. It wasn’t that long ago a Canadian dollar was worth about 60¢ U.S. There were stories of businesses closing and Bellingham almost becoming a ghost town because there were no Canadian shoppers..

      It’s pretty much the same up here though. People get tired of dealing with tourists and just wish they’d all piss off. Without thinking about what the economy would be like without tourism.

  6. RandomHookup says:

    What I most learned from this is that Americans have a hard time with punctuation and spelling and grammar and word choice.

  7. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I saw many turbans and non whites among the Canadians shown in a newsclip. Maybe that’s part of the ‘problem’.

  8. mathemagical says:

    As Bellinghamster I’ve honestly have hardly heard a lot of complaining about this issue until someone made a joke Facebook page and then some serious sallies took it over.

    As most of us do we go in the morning when they open or after work on a weekday. Easy peasy.

    Bellingham is even negotiating a new bigger Costco. So thank you Canadians! I enjoy you stimulating our local economy! I know who the real job creators are…hahahaha.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Once again its a members only store, if someone is unhappy with the store, then cancel the membership and shop elsewhere. Simple as that. I think Costco even refunds your membership if you are unhappy with it, no reason to shop there if the customer is unhappy with the store. If there is a problem, they really should be complaining directly to the store or the corporation since this will get the fastest results, or asking for the products they want to buy every time they are out of stock.

  9. Awjvail says:

    Bellingham residents don’t want our money? They don’t want the sales tax we pay (which is likely multiple-millions of dollars)?

    Okay. Fine – if you say so.

    • Marlin says:

      As said before you do know that Milk, Gas, and many other items in the US are subsidized by Federal American tax money(Income tax for one).
      Would it be ok for Americans to go to Canada to use the health care and not pay into it?

      • Tunnen says:

        There are already multiple stories about Americans that do just that. They come to Canada for prescription medication (subsidized by the Canadian government). I think they even had an interview of one in that Michael Moore movie on healthcare, assuming you can call that a credible source.

        Also, the American taxpayer likely made a lot more money by unfairly stealing it from Canadian industry, like with the softwood lumber fiasco, then they loss to subsidizing Canadian consumers.

        • Marlin says:

          The drugs are not cheaper because they are subsidized; it’s that Canada negotiates with drug makers. The US does not so the cheaper drugs in Canada are being subsidized by US citizens paying higher prices.

  10. Nebular says:

    Everyone else has already covered the tax revenue/money spent in America bit. What strikes me as strange is that so many people from BC are driving down to the US to do their shopping at Costco. My first thought was that there must not be a closer one, but a quick check on their site shows that there’s one in Surrey and one in Langley that surely must be closer for even those that live right on the BC/Washington border. Does it then have to do with price? Selection? The problem would then seem to be with Costco. Maybe it’s incentive for them to look at their stores and provide their Canadian customer more reasons to shop at their Canadian stores.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I assume that Canadian stores would also like to keep their dollars in Canada. While I am sure the American stores love that this is happening to them I am sure there is a more dirty side of it with Canadian stores struggling to sell things. I understand the money is going to the same corporation in this case but this will affect Canadian stores around Costco as well and the economy of the area. If the Canadian stores aren’t getting any business then they may close and that may lead to job loss. I also think that Costco is the problem here, but also its a membership store, so if a certain group of American’s are not happy with the store, why not just cancel the membership and shop elsewhere if its such a problem? If the American store has people cancelling memberships in droves perhaps they will do something, they wouldn’t want to lose their customer base, even if one Canadian signs up for every American that cancels.

      I also don’t understand a club store running out of things, it seems a little odd to me, as I am a member of Sams club, and our Sam’s club is also frequented by Canadians. I just can’t imagine enough of them coming in to swoop in and clean out the whole store, especially when our store, which isn’t even that big has pallet’s and pallet’s of merchandise stocked up high to the celing and also pallet’s put out for sale. There are usually hundreds to thousands of any of one product stocked in this particular location, you mean to tell me that the day’s crowd is buying this much before the nighttime crew can restock or maybe these Canadians are just really bad hoarders? Even during Xmas time when our Sam’s is horridly busy to the point where you can’t move in the store, there is always more than enough stock. A regular retail store has maybe 5-30 of any one product in stock. There is probably at least 100 units of a single product at one time put out and ready for sale, and many have more, I am sure there are more than 500 units of certain products for sale at any given time. This leads me to believe that the products just aren’t getting to the shelves fast enough but are actually in the store, which means they need to do something about that.

      Also why not ask for the product if its not on the shelves if you want to buy it? See if they have it in stock, if they do they will get it for you, cause you know, they want your business and the sale. If a lot of people start asking for certain products then maybe they will place priority on those products and stock more of them. Complaining on Facebook won’t actually do anything but complaining directly to a store that you are a member of and cancelling your membership if the problem is not rectified will.

    • Zelgadis says:

      It’s a tad complex, but not too bad. Basically, you have a situation where Canada is the second biggest country in the world with one tenth the population of the US. In other words, we don’t have economy of scale here and goods are more expensive in Canada.

      Next, you add in the fact that the Canadian dollar, primarily due to sky high commodity prices, is the same value as the US dollar.

      End result: shopping in the US for Canadians is often around 1/3 cheaper than in Canada.

    • Weekilter says:

      It also makes a difference where you live in BC what’s closest to you.

    • eetonaee says:

      I probably drive within 4 or 5 Costcos in the Vancouver area on my way to Bellingham.
      Costco would probably be very happy to offer the same selection and prices in Canada as in the US but factors beyond their control prevent this.

      Some are or could be –
      – higher hidden taxes on imported goods from overseas,
      – lower population over larger area means higher shipping costs
      – labeling laws require all products to have French and English on containers, instuction sheets etc.
      – dairy products are not subsidized

      and more that I’m sure others can add

  11. kenj0418 says:

    Car seat not certified by Canadian safety authorities? Heck, they’ve been certified for super-sized US babies, normal-sized Canadian ones shouldn’t be a problem.

  12. Outrun1986 says:

    This is a big problem where I live, HOWEVER, I do not think the shoppers are the problem. If the retailer is selling more things, then why not just stock more? Obviously if something is moving then they should be stocking more of it so that people can buy it. Last time I checked that is what sales is all about, trying to sell the most product that you can. Costco is a big warehouse so they can afford to stock more of the most popular products that are moving moreso than your average retail store.

    The canadian shoppers are obviously very good for our economy, since they are buying stuff that the people who live here otherwise could not afford. If it wasn’t for the canadian’s our area wouldn’t even have an economy and we might be stuck with one walmart for shopping. Not only that but the opening of additional stores in our area creates more jobs and retail jobs are desperately needed in my area. If the retailer cannot keep up with demand for product, then there is something wrong with the retailer.

    After this article I do not want to hear about retailers that are whining because people aren’t buying anything. People are buying, but your stores are not stocking, if you want people to buy, you must stock merchandise so people can buy it. Perhaps hire some more workers to stock on the more popular weekends, there are tons of people without work that would happily work for the paltry pay they would get at your store. Thank you.

    If the product is moving, and is never in stock then perhaps its time to switch to a different store, costco is a membership only store, so if you are complaining then you have every right to cancel that membership.

  13. Jimmy60 says:

    .ca isn’t a version of .com it’s a version of .us

    • Weekilter says:

      It’s not a version of .us either. .ca is the country domain for Canada just like .uk is the country domain for the United Kingdom or .ir is the domain for Iran. Some countries use .co.domain for commercial sites (the UK does e.g. bbc.co.uk while others like Canada just have the country domain by itself e.g. cbc.ca.

      • Sean says:

        Actually .us is the contry specific TLD (top level domain) for the United States and .ca is the TLD for Canada. So they are the equivilents for each country. In the United States we just recently started using .us for commercial domains more. Most likely because people and companies could not get the .com domain that they wanted and probably to keep the domain registrars in business. (Sorry that is the conspiracy theroist in me coming out that I keep trying to repress)

  14. theamazingyeah says:

    Come on guys, this is no different that going to the ONLY nearby BJs where I live here in DC. It’s always extremely packed, the lines are incredibly long, and most of the time I don’t go there unless it’s first thing in the morning because of my agoraphobia. And you want to talk about rude, angry people? Go to a crowded store where many people are hyper-stressed lawyers, politicians, or lackeys to either, or military personnel on very short leave. And not to mention the unheard-of cultural and international diversity where every individual has a different idea of “rude.” I have no problem with illegals clogging up stores and spending their hard-earned money at my business just like I’d have no problem with Canadians. And at least most of the Canadians I’ve met are friendly.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t know where you live in DC…but uh, “illegals clogging up stores” isn’t not offensive just because you say you don’t have a problem with them.

  15. ChuckECheese says:

    I’m not hating on Canadians, but I understand where the tired Bellinghamsters are coming from. I lived in El Paso for a year, a city of 800,000, but with another city (Juarez) right on its border of 1.3 million. The stores would be insanely crowded, pretty much all the time except early in the morning on weekdays. You couldn’t go three steps without bumping into somebody. Everything was out of stock all the time. The lines were excruciating, typically 30 to 45 minutes. I couldn’t buy ice cream anymore.

  16. Sulheka says:

    Looks like the Facebook page is down…. but I found this!

    http://www.facebook.com/BellinghamCostcoNeedsASpecialTimeJustForCanadians

  17. legotech says:

    This picture could have been taken at our Costco in LA…the next closest one is way the heck South on the freeway and NO ONE wants to get on the freeway if they can avoid it :)

  18. Banished to the Corner says:

    Dear Canada,

    As one of your neighbors to the south, I would like to apologize for behavior of some of my countrymen. I would like to state that most of us like you to visit and spend your money here. While I am sure you don’t want to make such a long trip for groceries, I would personally like to invite you to visit Southern California. We have many stores who will welcome you with open arms and many smiles. And remember, Oregon doesn’t even bother with that pesky sales tax.

    Hope to see you around sometime. :D

    • nickmoss says:

      And you can buy your milk in something other than a bag.

    • Tunnen says:

      Dear America,

      As your only neighboUr to the north, I would like to apologize (since we are good at that =P) for behavioUr of some of my countrymen in their response to yours. I would like to state that most of us like you to visit and spend your money here as well. While I am sure you don’t want to make such a long trip for our maple syrup and smoked salmon, I would personally like to invite you to visit southern Canada (There isn’t much in the north =P). We have a few (=P) stores who will welcome you with open arms and many smiles. And remember, Alberta doesn’t even bother with that pesky sales tax (At least for the provincial, still need to pay the federal one), but at one time we also refunded the taxes to visitors.

      Hope to see you around sometime. =P

      [Most of us are nice but we have our bad apples too, just like the US. But for a country that has a U in it’s name, why do you guys keep hiding them from words? =P]

  19. Morgan says:

    I thought that Canada had everything that the USA had….well, except for the Stanley Cup that is….hee hee…But I’m guessing that Costco is loving the Canadian invasion – good for business. But I’ll bet that traffic does truly suck. And I live in L.A. so I kinda know sucky traffic.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      ZING! It made me quite happy that an American captain and American goalie won, even as I was weeping into my cereal that my team got bounced in the second round.

  20. dangermike says:

    hmm… weird… I saw an article on this the other day and dismissed it as a hyperbolic satire piece. Like, you know, find’n’replace Canadian with Mexican and think real long and hard about just what ramifications that sort of thing would have. You won’t hear me say this often, but after seeing ore articles from multiple sources about the Maple invasion, I suppose I may have been wrong.

  21. LuvChikFilA says:

    I read somewhere the big issue is that the Canadians causing gridlock and hogging the milk are mainly shop owners of South Asian origin. I suspect if it were white Canadians they would not be bothered!

    • Dekman says:

      You are referring to what we call the New Canadians

    • eetonaee says:

      There is a very large east Indian community in the Vancouver area. Many of their recipes use a lot of milk. They have large extended families and also prepare food for the poor who come to their temples.
      The US milk is much much cheaper

      I don’t think they resell it in their stores as this would be illegal.

  22. Bodger says:

    Makes me wonder why Costco doesn’t build a store closer to the border. Maybe buy a field in Sumas and build a mid-sized store leaving open the option to expand it if it works well. If there really is that much business from across the border then it would seem like a no-brainer. What would the downside be? Certainly the Canadian customers should welcome a less crowded less distant (and less hostile?) place to shop for cheap tenderloin and toilet paper.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Kinda like the liquor stores you see in the South just across from a dry county. Or the fireworks places or lottery stores…

  23. Dekman says:

    I have a great idea maybe Costco should lower the Canadian prices to match the US prices. Then there is no reason to go to Bellingham so it can then go bankrupt. We can just get fuel/milk/cheese and eggs in Sumas.

    • eetonaee says:

      It is beyond Costcos control. If you want lower prices talk to your meber of parliament about lowering taxes and tariffs on manufactured goods and farm products

  24. Weekilter says:

    If you haven’t done it rent a copy of the flick Canadian Bacon with John Candy. It will put this all in perspective.

  25. Egregious Philbin says:

    Yeah..so let’s do the American thing and stop a company from making money.

    Morons. I bet they would have no problem shopping at a Costco across the border in Canada or Mexico if it was cheaper…

  26. Heresy Of Truth says:

    This isn’t new. I was raised in Bellingham, and when the Mall, on Guide Meridian, was new, there was talk of making it a Canadian or American only shopping times. The mall actually put out some badly done PR about Americans staying home.

    Bellingham is small, and Canada has a much larger population over the border, so Bellingham gets easily overwhelmed. It can get so ridiculous, when the exchange rate is right, that you won’t see any US cars in the parking lots. Never bothered me much.

  27. prosumer1 says:

    So let me get this straight…Americans are complaining because foreign visitors are contributing to our GDP and supporting the local economy by paying sales tax in Bellingham Washington?

    Canadians go home!

  28. Golfer Bob says:

    I heart NAFTA?

  29. SilverBlade2k says:

    If it weren’t for the Canadian shoppers going to Bellingham, than most of the stores there would be shut down, and the job losses would be staggering.

    Bellingham *needs* the Canadian shoppers.

    • Jinx666 says:

      Not true, the big box stores need them to stay open but Bellingham had survived for quite a long time without either…

  30. Jinx666 says:

    OK, first of all, I live in Bellingham where this is supposedly “happening”, and this is all a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing.

    Misconceptions:
    1. Canadians do not pay sales tax here, they show their ID cards and it is waived, if they pay a duty at all, it’s at the border getting back into Canada.

    2. A lot, I mean A LOT of Canadians do not read the signs posted at nearly every store explaining what can and cannot be taken across the border and in what amounts. Milk, for instance, has a limit and when it is not allowed to cross the border people turn around and try to return it. I’ve seen the manager at the local Safeway get very frustrated trying to explain that he cannot accept back into his inventory, the two dozen or so gallons of milk that have been sitting in the hot trunk of a car for who knows how long.

    3. Bellingham never came close to being a “ghost town” because Canadians slowed their spending here, Canadians spend most of their money in the north end of town at big box stores and outlets. These outlets are comprised of mostly large chain stores that do not keep the money in the local economy anyway, at the most the only thing they provide is service jobs for the working poor which are a strain to the local economy since employees of Target and Wal-Mart utilize government subsidies like food stamps to supplement their meager pay-scale.
    Contrary to popular belief there are a fair amount of manufacturing jobs here, as well as an oil refinery, aluminum production and a fair sized university that provide fair jobs at living wages.

    4. Costco, has applied numerous times to the county to expand their store. However, as many of you know small town bureaucracy is tough to navigate at times, and a simple expansion wouldn’t be enough as the area used to accesses Costco is a logistical nightmare and a perfect example of poor planning. It’s a strip mall with inadequate access points.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Canadians coming down here and spending money, but the concept of the “ugly American” doesn’t apply to just Americans anymore. Some (a minority) of these people do walk around with a sense on entitlement, tip poorly and treat service people like crap and are at the very least rude. You have to understand that believing that this area needs the business or it will die kind of makes SOME people assholes, not all of them, not even the majority of them, but it only takes one jerk to give the rest a bad name.

    Any real gripe about Canadians is the proper kilometers per hour, to miles per hour conversion on the freeway, speed up, you’re going to cause an accident and the left lane is for passing.

    • Jinx666 says:

      P.S. You want to see real frustration on both sides, go into the Trader Joe’s in Bellingham. The parking lot is so tiny and frustrating.

      I’m sorry, but if you don’t have actual shopping to do then stay home (Americans too)! It’s a store for Christ’s sake, not a sightseeing destination. There are large groups of people that just wander around that store looking at stuff for no seemingly productive reason I can figure out. Plus, there’s this weird phenomenon there where people just seem to stop for no reason and look up at the sky, so if you are one of these people don’t get all pissy when I accidentally bang into your ankles with my cart…

    • eetonaee says:

      Excuse me – we do pay sales tax
      I have never been asked if I want an exemption.
      At one time residents of Alberta could get an exemption but I don’t think they do anymore now that we have a federal tax (HST).
      If I have to pay duty it is based on the purchase including tax so I am double taxed.

    • StarKillerX says:

      I’m an American and live near Buffalo NY, and as such I have been going into Canada as far back as I can remember. During all those visits, and regularly having Canadians visiting our area, and it’s been my experience that Canadians, in general, are far less likely to be rude then Americans.

      • Jinx666 says:

        This is true, but the type of people that go somewhere to shop and then scurry back across the border instead of hanging out and participating in actual tourism have a higher percentage of people that aren’t as nice. But overall you are right, and I’ve been treated exceptionally well when visiting north of the border…

  31. Bernard says:

    I have lived in Bellingha, WA for the past four years and this is a major issue that has been dealt with in a sloppy way.

    The city works hard to prevent big box stores from being built so Costco has outgrown it’s capabilities to service it’s customers. Without a second location it’s beyond capacity so many people I know drive a half hour to Burlington to work or shop at Costco.

  32. Laura Northrup says:

    My friend is Canadian and shops frequently in Bellingham. She had this to add:

    “Actually, I don’t think Bellingham would exist except for the cross-border traffic. It doesn’t have much going on.”

    • Bernard says:

      You friend is half right. Bellingham used to be a tiny charming town according to older residents but the stores and the University changed it’s character. If it weren’t for Wal*Mart, Costco and Fred Meyer it would be a significantly smaller and less wealthy town.

      • Stanz Inator says:

        As someone who was born and raised in Bellingham (tho I no longer live there) I take a little objection to this. The university didn’t change anything- it’s been a “college town” for far longer than the big box stores as we know them have existed and it isn’t wealthier for their presence. Different, but not wealthier. In reality the economy and dynamic was changed by the appearance of Costco and WalMart more than any other factor- instead of having a locally based and locally benefiting economy it changed to a big box store economy. Canadian’s were always coming down to shop- just before they were spending their money in local businesses thereby directly benefiting the community.

        If everyone who was bitching (and making Bellingham look REALLY bad in the process) would just shut up and take their money to local business/ Cash and Carry (for food- much cheaper than Coscto too *snicker*) then they wouldn’t have anything to bitch about. And maybe, just maybe, small local business could thrive again and make Bellingham great.

  33. Shorebreak says:

    What about the shoppers from Southern Washington who buy their products in Oregon because there is no sales tax?

  34. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Bellingham – come to any Costco (we have at least 5 in a 25 mile radius) in the Northern Virginia area on a Saturday and you get the same crowds, rude shoppers and dwindling milk stores by 2pm.

    It’s not always the Canadians’ fault.

  35. FashionablyDoomed says:

    Wow. Makes me wonder what the good people of Massena, NY think of us Ontarians… we’ve been crossing the border and crowding their stores for decades! If they hate us, they sure don’t act like it.

    • Azagthoth says:

      We do hate you. What with your beady little eyes and flappy heads. How dare you spend your money in our country!

  36. Mambru says:

    NYC costco ona weekend is a nightmare, even here the one in Orlando FL is horrible on the weekends on top of rude people you need to add the old people who drive worse the shopping carts than their buick le sabre

  37. Chairman-Meow says:

    How can anyone yell at Canadains ? Its like yelling at Kittens.

    Canadian Kittens.

    Someone, anyone, please think of the kittens!

  38. Ephraim says:

    Talk about being ungrateful. So how many direct and indirect jobs in Bellingham are created by these visiting Canadians? Maybe they should stop going and move on to the next town and let them have the jobs and boost to their economy.

    • eetonaee says:

      It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from our home in the Vancouver BC area to the Bellingham Costco. We have a NEXUS card so the border wait is usually just a few minutes.

      Our closest local Costco is 10 minutes away and I could get to at least 5 others in less than an hour.

      Last weekend we needed a certain pet product that is not available in the Canadian stores.
      It has the Kirkland label, which is the Costco house brand. Perhaps they don’t want the hassle of changing the box so that everything is in English and French as required by our packaging laws.

      The product costs about $18.00. Of course we looked and bought other items in the store as well as other stores in Bellingham. By the time we finished shopping, bought gas and had dinner we had dropped over $500 including at least $30-$40 in tax in our 5 hour visit.

      As far as I know we were polite, I was never honked at once for bad driving and the Canadian border guard did not make us pay any duty on the way back.

      So everyone is happy except of course our local stores that can’t match the US prices or selection. When our politicians wake up and remove some of our archaic and restrictive tariffs then the trips south may not be worth it anymore.
      Lost government revenue should be made up by a higher volume of sales tax and more income tax paid by busier stores and newly hired employees.

    • finbar says:

      I was thinking this too. The City is presumably collecting sales tax off the non-residents, which they than use on programs that primarly benifit residents.

  39. DDark says:

    I’m from WA and can kind of understand why people would get upset at the amount of Canadians that frequently cross the boarder to just shop but why would you deny Washington state businesses all of that extra income and jobs created by all of the Canadians coming into our state by restricting when they can spend it. If anything we should have a separate lane at the border crossing right next to the NEXUS lane for Canadian shoppers that aren’t staying more than 24hours to get into WA and throw their money at us and get back home ASAP lol.

    Canadians take our products back to Canada so I repaid their actions in kind and married a Canadian so who am I to argue if Canada wants to exchange merchandise for women.

  40. ScandalMgr says:

    Statistically, this overcrowding is like begging for the tragedy of a potentially well-armed psycho (recently let loose from the ward due to budget cuts) to snap and go postal on the unarmed Canucks.

  41. Darrone says:

    Was it written into your Costco contract? Did Costco state on the package, receipt, or any item that they would take it back indefinitely?

    No? Then the policy of taking it back was a courtesy offered, and not in fact a guarantee or warranty. It no longer applies.

  42. thegrgs says:

    I live in Anchorage, AK. The Costco is about 15 minutes from my house, and there are two in Anchorage. The next closest is in Juneau, which isn’t on the highway system (you can’t drive there, you have to take a boat or a plane). We get people driving/flying in from remote villages all over the state to fill up on their stock for the months to come. The summer is worse than the winter when people try to refill for the harsh winter when they may not be able to make it back to town. Going to Costco is CRAZY.People pushing around 2 or 3 giant carts over filled with goods. When I had to renew my membership, the cashier looked at me and said, “You would really pay a fee to deal with all this crazy?” There is never enough parking, it takes an hour to get through the line, and the sheer amount of people is just outstanding. We try to go early as soon as they open to avoid it, but even then it’s hard. Still, it’s an Alaskan “thing.” Everytime I meet someone that has just moved here, they always comment on how EVERYONE shops at Costco and has bulk everything.

    You would think with that dedication they would open another store. In fact, there is always someone ready to spread a rumor where the next store might pop up. I recently heard Fairbanks is getting one, and then I heard they are building one in Wasilla. I doubt either are true, as these rumors have persisted since I was in grade school. In the mean time we all funnel into the stores and dutifully dishout our hard earned money for bulk everything, so that we can proudly tell our guests, “Oh that’s ok, take as much as you want, we buy that at Costco.”

  43. Dee says:

    The comment ” Bellingham needs special time just for Americans” is not really a different sentiment as not being able to ride on the same bus as white people. I just can’t believe that attitude rears it’s ugly head over milk and parking. News flash- people will swarm a bargain. And gasp, there are some individuals that cannot park and are you sitting down? I have heard there are people who cannot drive…To generalize and categorize to one culture shows a lack of global knowledge. Does buy American mean you have to be American?