The Great Canadian Mark-Up

My latest column for the Kitchener Post talks about our home renovations, and our experience with ordering products from the United States versus Canada. Here’s a sample:

The range hood brings me back to my opening paragraph. Because of someone else’s shipping mistake, we were lucky enough to purchase a great stainless steel range hood, valued at $500, for $50.

However, the deal was “as is.” The hood was in good condition, but there were no other spare parts to be found, and no manual. Fortunately, we did find the manual online, and I called the company to ask about obtaining particular parts.

The salesperson was initially eager to deal with me, walking me through identifying the model of the range hood and telling me exactly the parts I needed. These parts had a reasonable price tag of “$19.99,” the man said to me.

But then I gave him my address, and he paused as soon as he heard letters in the zip code. “Are you from Canada?” he asked. I said that I was.

He apologized, then, and said that there was another number I should call since I was calling the main office in the U.S. He could ship the parts to Canada, but the shipping costs would be double that of the price of the parts.

He identified the company’s Canadian parts distributor and said that they could give me a better deal on shipping. He gave me the number and I called them.

The Canadian parts distributor also knew what parts I needed. He said he could send them to me Express Mail, and I could have them in two business days. Excellent, I thought.

But then came the price — $59.99 — plus shipping.

Whoops! Still, I ordered from the Canadian office, because then I didn’t have to deal with Customs. Who knows what they might have thrown my way…

blog comments powered by Disqus