Bellingham, WA, Costco Shoppers Want Canadian-Free Hours

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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Photo credit: Thinkstock


Dale O.

Snicker, so true, so very true! And they are still shovelling it thick and heavy!

Shan D.
Shan D5 years ago

" While I am no fan of Harper and his Reform/deform Party/Alliance takeover of what was the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and now the Regressive Con-serve-ative Party (ditching the Progressive as if that was some nasty social disease)..." (Dale O.)

Dale, they didn't use "Progressive" in the party's name for legal reasons - the Progressive Conservative party still had the legal right to that name, and in fact that's the party Joe Clark represented in Parliament the final time he was an MP. He refused to run under Stephen Harper, and tried to resurrect the old Progressive Conservative party.

I wish the new Conservative party had chosen the name they originally wanted (to acknowledge their Reform roots): Conservative Reform Alliance Party. What a shame one of them was smart enough to notice the acronym for that would have spelled CRAP.


Dale Overall

And by the way Stanley B, it is British Columbia not British Colombia...otherwise known as Lotusland.
"...The glorious winter season" is my purrsonal campaign to outlaw Winter until the year 2066. Born and raised in Ottawa the second coldest national capital on the planet outside of Ulan Bator, Mongolia I have paid my winter dues and believe that it must be shared with warmer climates. Time for Australia, Florida, Cuba...and other to step up to the plate and exchange climates. Our turn to bask in the sunshine constantly. Learning and experiencing phrases such as freezing rain, blizzard, lock deicer fluid, scraping off the windshield, it's colder than a brass monkey...will be an experience you won't want to will be peachy and with no winter climate I can grow a peach and even a lemon tree in my garden. What fun! After the weather swap your peach and lemon trees will take on an entire new appearance!

Dale Overall

Stanley R, your comment about the "fascist Harper regime" allegedly existing in Canada is silly. While I am no fan of Harper and his Reform/deform Party/Alliance takeover of what was the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and now the Regressive Con-serve-ative Party (ditching the Progressive as if that was some nasty social disease) really can't liken his sorry 'government' to a fascist regime. Fascists are people like Hitler and Mussolini back in the Second World War days for instance. Besides, our trains don't run on time...

His pathetic majority government will no longer exist after the next election. Now that he has a majority he is seen as what his government is...ridiculous, short sighted, pro wealthy and right wing. But that does not make that government fascist or we would be lined up and shot.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy Schroeder6 years ago


Stanley B.
Stanley Balgobin6 years ago

Before the fascist Harper regime Canada enjoyed a civil society! Bellingham's Alabama road leading to Guide Meridian where Costo is located is a 30 minute trip to the border. You know the Canadians are at Costco as they mainly go there to fill up their gasoline tanks and their auto license plates read "BC" British Colombia. I moved to the Sunshine State FL and have sweet nostalgic memories of Bellingham especially in the glorious winter season.

Christine K.
Christine K6 years ago

Regarding the political crap in the comments...Whatcom County is a farming county, so of course it tends toward Republican. But Bellingham itself is more liberal, and in fact not only used to be referred to as 'Hippietown' but has the longest running anti-war protest in the nation - 30 years. In Bellingham, it's okay to be who you are as long as you respect others' right to be who they are. So we have all kinds here.

Except Scientologists - their church got run out of town.

Christine K.
Christine K6 years ago

Wow, seriously...I live a street over from the Guide, a short distance behind the Costco. I drive on the Guide at all hours, and I've lived in much bigger cities. It's NOTHING like those cities, let alone LA. NOTHING.

This person clearly is not an actual Bellinghamster, or at least has not been for more than a few years, or they wouldn't have put quotes around Guide Meridian or would have just called it 'the Guide' or 'Meridian' like the rest of the populace, and also known that unlike the freeways in even Seattle it does not take 20 minutes to go a few blocks on Meridian at ANY time of day. Also the parking lot he/she is complaining about is a huge lot shared with a lot of other businesses, which isn't completely filled even on busy days. Wah, walking, wah! Heck, I'm overweight and I don't whine about that.

And clearly they weren't here for 9/11, which tanked many businesses purely because of the Canadians not coming down. The city struggled to figure out what to do with the empty big box stores back then.

Nicole Pauline Sedkowski
Nicole Sedkowski6 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Shan D.
Shan D6 years ago

Antonia W., I assume you've an understanding that when one puts a 'smiley face' after an INSULT, it's still meant to be insulting and disrespectful - or at least there's a strong probability that others will perceive it as an offensive comment? Your "smiley face" does not excuse the fact that you posted an offensive comment.

Michael M., there are French-Canadian individuals I like very much. I myself am one of the few people I know who made an effort to take French in school from elementary through college, and can still understand it (although I never could speak it well). It's the POLITICALLY-entitled attitude I find offensive - all this "Quebec is a 'nation'" crap. No, Quebec is NOT a "nation." It's a PROVINCE that is just one of 10.

I'm old enough to remember the FLQ/October Crisis, the rise of the PQ, and I remember the disgusting appellation of "bits of red rag" to the Canadian flag. It's not people in Alberta who boo the Royal Family. But they do it in Quebec.

And I also am old enough to remember Trudeaumania. He was THE BEST Prime Minister we ever had. He wasn't perfect, but he kept the country together when the PQ/BQ traitors wanted to tear it apart. I wish he were still alive, still able to give us his wisdom. This crooked rat we have now wouldn't stand a chance.