Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Canadian shoppers invade US

  1. Aug 14, 2012 #1

    It seems some locals in Bellingham, WA are fed up with hordes of Canadian shoppers crowding them out of their local Costco. They want the store to set aside some hours for "Americans only". Is this legal? Should the store check passports at the door?

    I know Vancouver, BC is repeatedly ranked in the top 10 of the world's "Most Livable" cities. I guess the people that develop these ratings don't count the number of Costcos.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Maine's eastern, northwestern, and northern borders are bounded by Canada. Depending on the currency exchange rate and price fluctuations, Maine can be flooded with bargain-hunting Canadians. That's OK. At least some Mainers are getting to work stocking shelves, etc, though if the products are made in China, there is little benefit. When the rivers freeze over hard enough to permit snowmobiles to pass, smuggling of liquor and tobacco becomes more prevalent.
  4. Aug 14, 2012 #3
    It's been said America is a great place to live, but you wouldn't want to be our neighbor. Canadians are not US citizens and don't have equal rights under the law so I assume Costco can segregate them all they want and even demand they use separate water fountains and toilets.
  5. Aug 14, 2012 #4
    I don't think so. The US, like any country, can regulate its borders, but once on US soil, legal visitors have most of the same rights and protections as citizens. Of course they can't vote and there are other limits in terms of how long they can stay, etc. Anyway, I don't think Costco wants to lose any business, even if they pay in Canadian dollars (now at par with the US buck). I'm just wondering how many Americans go to Canada to shop.

    BTW, I think Costco still only takes American Express cards.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  6. Aug 14, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    1) Canadians are Americans.

    2) I broke down in Canada. I went to a Canadian Tire, who found out that the previous shop (a US shop) had messed up the installation of the torque converter. They were like "don't worry about this, you won't be paying anything". They fixed it and made the US company pay, we didn't have to do anything but wait.

    So if the rest of experiences are like that... more USA'ers should shop in Canada. I assure you though, the US has no quams importing money from the North.
  7. Aug 14, 2012 #6
    Well, that point is often made, but in IMHO the US, as the first independent (European) nation in the Western Hemisphere, has priority on that name. Anyway, there's no other (polite) name for us. I guess "Yank" is OK but not "Gringo". I don't even think Canadians want to be called "Americans". If anything, they prefer "North American".
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  8. Aug 15, 2012 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    newlifeform.. What are you saying? The Chinese have performed better than the US in many facets...
  9. Aug 15, 2012 #8
    LOL, I'm sure Homeland Security would find that assumption naive to say the least. Foreign national do supposedly have certain rights, but certainly not equal rights and there is no amendment to the constitution that protects them on the basis of being foreign nationals. In general private businesses reserve the right to refuse service to people for any reason and if it isn't explicitly forbidden by law they can and will.
  10. Aug 15, 2012 #9


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Back in '04 when the "shoe was on the other foot" so to speak, during a trip to western Canada I stopped at some record stores in Vancouver and Calgary and came back with a suitcase about half full of CDs, which IIRC were about 25% less expensive than in the US after the GST refund.

    The woman at the customs desk in the Calgary airport was somewhat bemused by the distribution of my purchases when I showed her the receipts for stamping or something, so I could mail them in for the GST refund after I got home.
  11. Aug 15, 2012 #10
    That's true. US laws generally say you cannot discriminate on the basis of race, religion or national origin. If a private business, open to the public, tried to prevent a Canadian from entering its store just because he/she was Canadian, I think the visitors would have a case based on national origin, but I'm not sure. They could certainly sue and see what the courts say. I didn't say Costco couldn't exclude them, but I doubt they would. They're in business to make money and they don't need a high profile lawsuit. It certainly would cause a big international incident and I doubt the State Dept. would be very pleased.

    However, if they are not allowed to enter the country in the first place, that would be legal if not very wise for reasons already stated.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  12. Aug 15, 2012 #11
    Then what happens as soon as one person complains that the Canadian restroom is better? What if it is better (cleaner) because less people use it? Does Costco then get sued/fined for discriminating against Americans? Segregation doesn't really work.

    Now, I doubt Costco would ever even consider, like a few others have said, they are in the business of making money.
  13. Aug 15, 2012 #12
    I'm not suggesting Costco take any action which is an entirely different matter than the legal basis for them possibly being able to do so.

    That anyone would ever resort to anecdotal evidence on a serious academic website boggles the imagination. Segregation has worked some places for hundreds of years and while it is certainly not an ideal solution it is absurd to suggest it doesn't work.
  14. Aug 16, 2012 #13

    Chi Meson

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    My Canadian cousins do NOT like to be called American. When they say "American," they mean U.S. Americans (I can't speak for anyone else in Canada though. These guys are from Ontario, Nearest city=Toronto)
  15. Aug 16, 2012 #14
    The problem is that a lot of Americans act as though we were Canada's 11th province. My solution is to stop using their money and their metric system. We should stop watching their movies and importing all of their culture. America is strong enough to stand on its own.
  16. Aug 16, 2012 #15
    So true. I can remember going golfing in Canada and with something like 57cent dollars golfing at some of the best places in Alberta and BC several years ago. Places like http://www.silvertipresort.com/ http://www.eagleranchresort.com/ http://kokaneesprings.com/ http://kananaskis.ca/kananaskis-country-golf-course/ I'll trade Costco any day to go back to that time. As a kid in the 60s & 70s, I can remember running across the Maine border at Calais to shop in St. Stephen, etc. because it was cheaper. Shoe is on the other foot, so I say people should just get over it.
  17. Aug 16, 2012 #16
    haha, I live in canada and very close to the US. I know plenty of people that will do a lot of shopping whenever they cross the border. Many things are just cheaper in the states... and the tax is lower in the states (13% sales tax in Ontario)
  18. Aug 16, 2012 #17


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I'm not giving up Gordon Lightfoot!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook