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Toronto Retailers Are Ripping Us Off


With the soaring Canadian dollar it makes less and less sense to buy local these days. And I don't mean the movement to buy Canadian products thereby reducing our carbon footprint; but rather buying any non-perishable goods like electronics, clothes and books that are available south of the border in the same form and quality as what's sold by Toronto area retailers.

It's gotten to the point of beyond ridiculous. Why splurge on those expensive pair of $300 Diesels when the same pair can be had for $100 less in New York state? Why buy the late Norman Mailer's Naked and the Dead for $14.72 online at Indigo.ca (already reduced 34%) when the same paperback is for sale for $10.88 US (or about $10 Canadian) from Amazon.com?

And these prices don't even include taxes which are 14% here compared to 0-4% in New York City.

It's understandable that many Toronto retailers have their hands tied. They might have negotiated prices for current inventory six months ago when the Canadian dollar was trading below par.

But my bet is that many retailers are just greedy. Some, like King West's Got Style, are at least trying to be fair to consumers, offering 10% off all inventory in a response to the currency move. But any C+ Math student knows that this still leaves a healthy price discrepancy versus the retail price in the US, even before calculating the exchange rate.

The worst offenders are the big chain and department stores like H&M, Walmart, Zara and Holt Renfrew who refuse to acknowledge the rapid change in market conditions. Well, their loss. Personally, I refuse to buy any clothes, electronics or other non-essential goods from these retailers until they not only close the price gap, but reflect that Canadian prices should actually be CHEAPER in this country.

So - and I'm talking to you now Apple Store - if the 16GB iPod Touch is $399 in the US, not only am I not going to pay $449 in Canada, but I'd even consider par value an insult instead of the exchange-rate adjusted value of something closer to $375.


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