Canadians are accused of a lot of things, at least when someone remembers there is even such a country as Canada. Bland, boring, and polite are some of the adjectives hurled our way. But rude and pushy? Those are generally reserved for Other People.
At least that’s the reaction of some Canadians to news that certain outspoken Bellingham, Washington, shoppers want a block of time reserved just for Americans. The real story is a little more complex and a lot less of an excuse for ruffled feathers.
Here is the way it is described on a special Facebook page, “Bellingham Costco Needs a Special Time Just for Americans”:
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.
That hardly sounds like an anti-Canadian tirade. In 2002, when the Canadian dollar hit a low of about 63 cents to the U.S. dollar, shopkeepers south of the 49th parallel were singing the blues over the lack of cross-border shoppers. Canadian shops were packed with Americans.
Ten years later the shoe has exchanged feet, and Canadians are bargain bound. They are also sensitive, or at least some are, but you can read their comments yourself, as well as some equally snarky American responses. Along with the curmudgeons are plenty of calmer souls, reminding complainers from both sides of the border that civility is in order.
Right now, with the two currencies hovering at parity and the Canadian government’s having increased the value of goods residents can bring back without paying duty, retailers in the U.S. are hitting the jackpot. On the other side of the border, shopkeepers are singing the blues as they watch shoppers stream past their doors, heading for cheaper prices.
It is a ball volleyed back and forth, depending on each country’s economic strength and the exchange rate. The Bellingham page is just an expression of frustration, not a cross-border incident, and not worth wasting more ink, or bytes, over.
Come to think of it, I just did. Ah, well, I’m human, and it is an interesting story.
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