August 15, 2012 - 9:50 AM
With the loonie above par, Western New Yorkers can rejoice that we will get a fresh influx of dollars from cross-border Canadian shoppers.
We can, but sometimes we don't.
How many times have you heard someone complain about the "Canadians making a mess of mall parking lots" or grumbled about the driving skills of someone behind the wheel of a car with an Ontario license plate?
You would think anyone who has passed Economics 101 would thank their lucky stars to have Canadian consumers propping up our struggling economy. Our local retailers, hoteliers and small business owners certainly get it. And communities elsewhere would love to have something similar.
Yet you still hear the grumbles. And you still see stories like this one, where shoppers have begun calling Canadian shoppers "milk piranhas" for buying so much milk at U.S. grocery stores. One consumer calls shopping among Canadians a "nightmare." Doing without the $400.99 million in sales tax Canadian shoppers brought in to Erie County last year sounds like more of a nightmare to me. And I'm sure if you talked to our local dairy farmers, they count Canadian "milk piranhas" as a blessing.
Shoppers in Bellingham, Washington have created a Facebook page called, "Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans." It has 4,090 likes.
This story spells out why:
Canadians are being admonished on the Facebook page for littering, bad parking, cutting off other drivers, pushing past other customers to grab merchandise and clearing Costco shelves of milk.
“It’s not Costco, it’s everywhere!!! I feel like I’m in Canada anytime I drive anywhere in Bellingham. I wouldn’t have a problem if they were considerate people ... but they are the rudest people I’ve ever encountered,” according to poster Julie Lawson.
According to the same article, a handful of Canadians have started a movement of their own:
It’s that kind of ire that inspired Todd Smith, 25, of Coquitlam B.C., to launch his own Facebook page: “Canadians invade Bellingham Costco,” inviting Canadians to shop the Bellingham Costco on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Smith says he and his partner make the half-hour drive across the border weekly, not only because gas, food and clothes are cheaper in the U.S., but because stores there offer greater variety. About a dozen people have said they’re interested in the shop-the-Bellingham-Costco event.
“It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we do go down there quite regularly and we might go down Saturday,” said Smith. “I find it kind of odd that these people would take such trivial things out of context. Have they not stopped to consider that we’re supporting their economy?”
It's a good question.
---Samantha Maziarz Christmann