Some want 'US-only' hours at border Costco

A Facebook page calling for Canadian-free shopping hours at a crowded Bellingham, Wash., Costco has angered people on both sides of the border.

By Karen Datko Aug 14, 2012 5:40PM

Image: Canada (© Royalty-Free/Corbis)Canadians have been flocking to a Costco in Bellingham, Wash., propelled by a strong Canadian dollar and lured by the lower cost of basics like milk and gas in the United States.


An unhappy U.S. shopper, bothered by the lines and crowds, responded by creating the Facebook page "Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans." As online dust-ups often do, this one has gotten out of hand, with some making rude and stereotypical remarks about Canadians. Since its debut on July 19, the page has gotten more than 3,330 likes.

"There is a reason for all the Canadian stereotyping, it has been EARNED by years and years of experience dealing with it," one reader posted. "If the Canadians could just practice some GOOD MANNERS, both in the stores and on the roads, you wouldn't see people mocking them." Oh, please.

The administrator of the Facebook page later maintained that the purpose of the page is not to slam "our beloved Canadians" but rather to complain that the city is not allowing big-box stores to expand, particularly into vacant retail space.

But many residents north of the border are not amused. Commented one self-identified Canadian:
What's with you Americans!?!?!? You're the rude people when you come to our country -- you can spot an American a mile away. So suck it up buttercup, thank us for helping your economy and the next time I see an American tourist here -- I'll be sure to spit on their car!

(Post continues below video.)


What's the fuss all about? Here's how it developed:


Some prices are a lot better on the U.S. side of the border. Says a report in the Calgary Herald:

A jug of milk at the Downtown Vancouver Costco is listed for $4.60, while the equivalent at the Bellingham Costco is $2.50. A 1,000-gram block of cheese is $13 in Vancouver but $4 cheaper in Bellingham. A 230-count case of Huggies diapers is $48.99 and about $10 cheaper south of the border.

Beginning in June, the amount of duty-free goods Canadians can take back home increased from $50 to $200 for a one-day trip, and from $400 to $800 for a longer visit.


The Bellingham Costco is about 20 miles south of the border, and Costco officials acknowledge that the store is too small. One former Canadian who lives in Bellingham said in the Calgary Herald that the crowds at the Costco in Richmond, B.C., are even worse.

The Facebook page has gotten plenty of media coverage. After Canadian media picked up on it,  the page administrator huffed, "You Canadian TV/newspapers should be ashamed of yourself spreading this hate." (Maybe the administrator should have put more thought into naming the page.)


Meanwhile, Bellingham is benefiting from Canadian shoppers. Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said in a news release:

Bellingham's rate of growth of taxable retail sales was almost double the state average from 2010 to 2011. Much of this is due to people from Canada and elsewhere shopping in Bellingham. …

Plans are already in the works for a bigger and better Costco store at another Bellingham location, stories by the Bellingham Herald confirm. Ken Oplinger, the president of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, told KOMO News that he expects Costco to announce plans for the new store soon. 


The Americans-only Facebook page is being roundly condemned.


"The average Canadian I think is surprised, and some are offended," Oplinger said. "And I can't blame them. . . . It's unfortunate that we're being shown to Canadians as an area that is not opening and welcoming to them."

Mayor Linville added, "The unpleasant comments we've seen on social media regarding Canadians are offensive and inappropriate, and do not represent the opinions of the vast majority of residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County."


A new Facebook page, Bellingham Businesses and Residents Welcome Canadian Shoppers, appeared on Monday. So far, it has just a handful of likes.


More from MSN Money:


VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

282Comments
Aug 14, 2012 11:17PM
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Maybe we could just trade cheap American milk for cheap Canadian prescription drugs.
Aug 14, 2012 10:32PM
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To The Good People Of Bellingham, Washington:

 

I live on the U.S. southern border.  I'll GLADLY trade MY border crossers for yours.

 

Signed,

 

Texas Rio Grande Valley Resident

Aug 15, 2012 11:54AM
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We wouldn't be having this conversation if the store were on the Texas, Arizona, or California border.  Everyone would be afraid to offend the delicate sensitivities of the Mexicans but it is ok to offend the white Candians, huh.  You people are morons.  Let the Canadians shop here.  We allow Mexicans to invade our country, steal American jobs, abuse welfare, food stamp, WIC, Social Security, and many other government programs but you want to stop Canadians from coming here legally and spending money they earned legally in their own country.  Idiots. 
Aug 14, 2012 6:50PM
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How can you tell a Canadian from an American?  Costco needs to open up more checkout lanes. Don't let Costco's ineffient service cause friends to be pitted against each other. We have enough of that with the republican and democrat parties using us that way.

 

Regardless of spats like this, Canadians are our best friends in the entire world.

Aug 15, 2012 2:34AM
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Anyone who complains about the Canadians coming to town to shop, stay in motels/hotels and spend money in other ways must be a total moron! I live in Port Angeles, WA and we see them all the time over here. Friendly hardly begins to decrtibe the Canadians.

 

With their economy making better strides to improvement than ours, people on this side of the border should be happy they choose to spend their time and money here. These are educated, working class people who have a choice to go and spend their hard earned dollars anywhere they choose...and they choose to spend it here.

 

So all you idiots in Bellingham who whine about the Canadians coming to town...send them here to Port Angeles...or better yet...grow up! For a town with a sizeable university in it...you guys sure are acting pretty STUPID!

Aug 14, 2012 10:34PM
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Living in Phoenix, we are a winter vacation spot for many a northerner. Western Canadiens especially. We know the stores, movies, shopping centers, service stations, banks and so forth will be busier than usual. Traffic is a little heavier than usual however we really appreciate the boost to our economy, job creation from hotels, restaurants, retailers and so forth. The big thing that goes unnoticed is the amount of tax money that is collected by their purchases. Sounds like a bigger Costco is planned, hang on, don't make enemies of those that are helping your economy.
Aug 14, 2012 6:02PM
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Hey, be nice to those Canadians.  When the United States economy completely tanks, you're going to be begging for their business.  The way our separate economies are going, the Canadian dollar is only going to get stronger.

Aug 14, 2012 11:23PM
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it sure is disheartening to read hateful comments.did it ever occur to you that people are doing the best they can to get by just like you? my old dad always said, "live and let live". think about it. it might help.
Aug 14, 2012 11:52PM
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What's the difference where Canadians shop?  If they are spending their money over the border, does it not help our business too?  I think this is silly.  They have the right to shop wherever they want to shop.  Their money is as good as anybody's. 
Aug 15, 2012 12:12AM
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What is wrong with us americans? We don't like the mexicans, the chinese,  russians, koreans, spanish, iranians, africans ..... etc Now we decided it is time to hate our neighbor from the north bc they are crossing the border to spend their money in the USA. Isn't that good for Bellingham's economy? Should we tell them to buy from the chinese as most of us are doing? Grow up up my fellow americans. We are fast becoming one of the most disliked people on the planet.

 

To the lady who said that Canada is 10% of the size of USA. Canada is almost as big as the USA. If we don't count Alaska, then Canada is a bigger country than the USA. Another correction: being rude has nothing to do with the size of a country. It is related to how we, the people, interact with each other.

 

My dear Canadians neighbors, we have several Costco in VA. If you don't mind to drive a little bit further, you are welcome to shop in our stores.

 

Aug 15, 2012 12:01AM
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This is rediculous facebook blows things way outta proportion. Who cares if canadians come over the border to shop at Costco,it"s good for Business! It"s not like they are aliens!! We are friendly neighbors .Get a life and grow up!!!
Aug 14, 2012 10:33PM
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Sounds like an American business is doing even more business. That should make us happy. I am one American that likes more business here.
Aug 14, 2012 10:31PM
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Like others have said, this is only helping our economy.
Aug 15, 2012 12:58PM
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I understand why Canadians are doing this. We recently crossed into Canada at Niagara Falls on our way to Toronto. Gasoline was $6.65 per gallon. We stopped at a Wal Mart and prices were 20 to 30 percent higher for almost everything, then we got hit with 13% sales tax.  YIKES!
I guess they have to pay for their "FREE" health care somehow.

Aug 14, 2012 8:18PM
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So let me get this straight. Canadians come to America and pour money into our economy and help Costco to create more jobs and we don't want or need this because we are doing so well here in America!  Are you people nuts?  We need foreigners coming here and spending money! Hell, we don't have any. 

 

This hate thing and class divide is working out real well. First we demonize the people who create jobs and now we are going to demonize people who are helping our economy. This is really getting scary. I suggest all of the people in America who have anything left, start packing, it is almost time to run.  

Aug 15, 2012 11:46AM
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What a nasty thing to do. Put up a Hate page just because you think the lines are too long at Costco and it's because of the Canadians shopping there???
OMG.
If that is the only thing you have to complain about, count yourself lucky. For heaven's sake, get a grip.
there are much more serious matters to worry about than the lines at Costco.
and as to saying the Canadians are rude....well believe me, the Americans certainly have their moments too. Please! I deal with rude people just about every day. And I live in the U.S.
Why don't you try being kind and see what happens? You might be surprised.

Aug 14, 2012 7:39PM
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As an American, I say that Americans who don't like the crowds caused by Canadians, should shop somewhere else.
Aug 15, 2012 2:22PM
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Americans cross state lines all the time to save money on items that are cheaper in other states, or to buy goods in states with no sales tax at all or no sales tax on certain items such as clothing. What's the difference between crossing a state line and the U.S.-Canadian border?  At least the Canadians don't draw on our social welfare system or cross the border to deliver babies so they will have U.S. citizenship. 
Aug 15, 2012 2:56PM
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I think this is hilarious.  People from Washington go to Oregon all the time to buy stuff because there isn't sales tax.  Kind of like the pot call the kettle black.
Aug 15, 2012 3:56PM
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Damn, One of the USA's biggest problems is that all the money goes out of the USA by foreigners and nothing comes back in. That is why the USA is broke! Here we have Canadians bringing money into the USA and all Americans can do is complain! This example and millions of others is why the USA WILL COLLAPSE!
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