Now that the Canadian dollar is at parity with the US dollar, Canadians have the luxury of shopping across the border where they find much lower prices for the same goods, and a much wider selection. This has led to exhortations from Canadian retailers that people should be shopping at home rather than south of the border.
Prices in Canada have always been substantially higher than those in the US even without the additional 14% tax yet most Canadians weren’t aware of how much they were being overcharged, except in the case of bookstores where both prices are actually printed on the cover.
I do most of my shopping in the US, yet it isn’t the lower prices that attract me. It’s two simple numbers – 34 and 29.
I’m on the shorter side in height at 5’7", and I wear jeans with a 34" waist and a 29" length – 34×29 as the jeans would be labelled. But there is nowhere in Canada where I can buy those jeans. 34×30 is the closest I can get, and they are just too long. As fas as I know the average height in Canada is not more that the average height in the US, so why are people my height discriminated against?
Fortunately I was able to purchase them online. I got two pair in my size for less than I would have paid for one pair in Canada if I could have found them, even after paying a ridiculous 30% in taxes.
It isn’t just that. Canada is dominated by a few large retail corporations and the product selection is very limited and similar from store to store. For example, there are no official retailers of Sperry TopSider shoes. So Canadians have much less selection than their American neighbors. And for what they do have, the prices are much higher. In the case of the Sperry TopSiders that I wear, and purchased for $50 at Nordstroms, the best deal I’ve seen in Canada was at a generic "factory outlet" shoe store for $90.
So given substantially lower prices, vastly better selection, and lower taxes, what incentive is there to shop in Canada? And in my case, what if it isn’t even possible to purchase what you need?
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