November 26, 2007

Live @ 5:30 Commenters

Okay, I don't usually go here, but I can't resist.

I was on last Friday sniping about cross-border shopping. I am not a fan.

Commenters tonight made two points I won't let slide:

Basics are cheaper, they proclaimed. They should be. Compare incomes in the States with ours. Ask an American teacher how much they earn. Check out the real estate market in every state. They think we were discussing boarder crossers buying toys and gadgets to spoil their kids. It's Christmas shopping, folks. Every single person interviewed on every TV station and in every newspaper article is buying toys, designer jeans and electronics. Those aren't the basics in my house.

Point Two: "Get some real people on your panel who don't make 6-figure incomes". Oh, how I wish I had a 6-figure income. I'm a freelancer, people. And the further point that the panel should include a guy from Dofasco? That's where my father slaved for 40 years before the crap he inhaled from supporting us killed him. I'm daughter of a blue collar guy, living with a blue collar guy.

You want to wait in hours of lineups to support another economy? Go ahead. But don't complain when your own neighbours are losing their jobs because you wanted to shop for some 'stuff'.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Usually I agree with you, not this time.
Why should the identical products be less in the States than they are here?
Because we have a higher standard of living?
For years we were fed the line of the difference in the dollar, now that argument is gone. Now its import duties. What about the stuff that is produced here and sent there?
A 2008 Toyota Camry LE built in Cambridge, Ont lists at $29,500 in Ont (Toyota Canada Website), and $21,934 in Buffalo (Basil Toyota Website)
On CHCH Niagara Express this weekend, a Lexus dealer tried to tell us that the $9,000 difference in price for an ES was because they are not identical cars!
I am not jumping on the cross border bandwagon, I just want fairness.
Have I crossed to shop? Yes.
Am I going to this season?
Not likely.
Not all Government Employees are as overpaid as the public thinks.


November 26, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Hey DJ, I hear (and agree) with some of your points. My biggest stink is stuff made here that costs less over there.

But too much of it is apples and oranges. We have a different tax structure, and we get different things for it. I'll take our health care, warts and all, over my friends to the south. I'll take our 1 year mat leaves, versus their 6 week ones.

I'm livid at the difference in book prices, and have been for years. That is total crap. But because our markets are only geographically an hour away, doesn't mean they're the same markets. I also think prices will even out now that the 'dollar difference' you mention has flattened. Empty car showrooms will bring down the price of cars.

Of course I've bought stuff in the States. I just don't get lining up for hours at the border this time of year to buy junk. (I tried to put that line in italics, and couldn't. Sorry) And commenters noting they're buying cribs and other 'non-fun' things? Good luck returning faulty merchandise.

I think we should shop wherever we like - but you will never convince me my time is worth a mad rush to get to the border at 7am to spend the day trolling around a packed parking lot to go into an elbow-to-elbow jammed mall to pick through the picked over, sit in a line in my cold, or worse idling, car for 3 or more hours, to sweat it out as a customs officer tries to decide if I drove down naked in order to drive home newly clothed, pay duties and taxes anyway, and then get home again.

The show was mainly about Christmas shopping, which I addressed with a giant 'ferchristsakes', and I still feel the same way.

November 27, 2007 7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry DJW, I'm with Lorraine on this one. We live in a less populated country with better infrastructure (for the most part, excluding bridges) and that should cost something. As of a month ago, Canadian retailers had no intention of revising their pricing in light of the increased Cdn. $. Guess they got the message loud and clear from us consumers eh! Now, magically the prices appear to be tumbling on stuff (including vehicles). If the price between the U.S. and Canadian counterpart are so disparate, walk out of the store and tell them why you are not buying the product. We Canadians are much too polite and need to speak up.

November 27, 2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, agree with Lorraine. We love our clean, safe cities, our free health care, our social services, our excellent schools. We Canadians have always felt better educated, healthier and more sophisticated than our American neighbours. Don't deny it. All this comes at a cost--a cost reflected in higher taxes and, yes, higher prices for goods. A cost that I am content to pay.

November 27, 2007 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I believe Ms. S. may have hit upon something that may have polarized her "readers"...

And(B), my apologies in advance for my diatribe...



And I thought I had a tendency to "ostrich"?!?

Our health care is free and superior? Perhaps, on the face of it, certain aspects of it may "appear" to be "free", but if you or a significant other does not have health or dental insurance it's a different story – and I'm talking here about everyday medical expenses. As a self-employed individual I pay just over $ 300.00 per month in insurance premiums for reasonably basic health and dental care for my wife and me. I need to have a root canal re-done after the initial procedure some three years ago as I now have an infection somewhere in that general area. I'll have to wait until after the ho-ho season to take care of it due to a lack of $ 2 - $3K – and, if I put any of that through on my insurance, I will use up my claim "allowance" for the next 12 months. Is good oral hygiene not a part of wellness, i.e. health care and if so, why is it not part of OHIP or at the very least, so damned expensive?

And what about McSquinty's health tax grab -- I also have to pay that. OK, so we do not (yet) have HMOs in Canada – but mark my words – unless something drastic is done to overhaul our system, that day is not that far off.

Clean cities? Perhaps once upon a time, but these days – not so much. In most Canadian cities Timmies could forego their advertising budgets and rely upon viral (word-of-mouth) advertising. Look around at the proliferation of their cups being littered across our once great landscapes (I only mention Horton's since I picked up an empty cup outside my house this morning -- and I live in the freakin' country!).

Safe cities, I'm sorry, but check out the homicide numbers for the GTA year to date. And it's not just the GTA. Crime in every shape or form is everywhere and we cannot ignore it. And it’s not just so-called physical crimes; my 75-year old mother is terrified of someone “stealing her identity” every time she checks her email! She would rather provide “that nice young man on the phone” with her VISA number than pay for something online on a secure, 128-bit encrypted web site!

Canadian schools and education system are superior? Really? Based upon what? As an employer, if two people came to me with impressive CV's, one listed an undergraduate degree from WLU and a graduate degree from McMaster and the "competition" presented credentials from Harvard and Stanford, in today's "global village" that might be favoured? Is it because the schools are not comparable? Not necessarily – but who hasn’t heard of Harvard and Stanford and has an idea that they may be premiere facilities of continuing education? We cannot be smug and even complacent about this.

Fact; we are a two-tiered nation – especially when it comes to education and health care.

Why do we assume that if certain things cost more here in Canada, that we must continue to shoulder those costs? Whatever happened to NAFTA, to free trade? Our Provincial and Federal governments continue to put the “blame” for higher costs, higher taxes, etc. on our own retailers, distributors and the like.

I’m sorry, but if no-one is listening to the pleas of over-extended citizens, can we not expect them to exercise their rights for better standards and lower costs? Why assume that so-called higher standards must always cost more?

Look to the other side of the equation; the rapid reliance of goods and yes, services from “emerging markets”. Is that situation going to vanish any time soon?

Fat chance.

At some point we all need to get a grip and deal with reality in whatever way we’re able. If that means that people suffer, than it’s high time that our elected officials got off their arses and listen to their constituents and act accordingly. We have all been coddled for way too long.

Its action we need – not “oh well” complacency. If we all adopted a "well-it-costs-more-here-and-that's-the-price-I-have-to-pay” attitude can you imagine what that would ultimately do to our economy? “Sorry, honey, I bought you milk for your cereal but couldn’t buy the cereal because I didn’t have enough money?” Why must we accept that we need to continue to pay more in taxes to get what we "deserve"?

Look at the surplus that the Federal government is stating is available. And I use the word "stating" deliberately. If that is the figure they are telling us, imagine what reality might actually be? How much more is that figure?

And remember income tax was just a temporary measure…

Back to Lorraine’s original point about cross border shopping; personally, I think that it’s for the birds. But if things do not improve on this side of the border, I may end up renting a truck and doing a little “time to maintain my lifestyle” purchases in New York or Michigan myself!

Sorry, people but this is a forum, and I do need to have the prescriptions for my meds renewed – but I do feel a little better having removed that load off my chest.

Thank you.

November 28, 2007 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

party killer.

December 07, 2007 2:51 PM  

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