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Thread: Same Consumer Products Costs More in Canada than in the US

  1. #1
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    Question Same Consumer Products Costs More in Canada than in the US

    I hardly packed anything on this year-end trip to Montreal, hoping to buying new clothes in Montreal on Boxing Day sales. I went shopping for winter clothes (for my frequent trips to Chicago and NYC) on Boxing Day 26th Dec) at shops and stores along St. Catherine.

    Even with the US$ nearly at C$0.75, I found many of the necessities like winter clothes more expensive than similar articles of clothing sold in the US (I know US retailers find themselves in the red after Black Friday). I bought a North Face winter jacket at The North Face store on St. Catherine for 25% vente (discount), but I found the same item on The North Face US website selling at the SALE same price (converted 25% discounted; after doing the US$ to C$ at US$1 to C$1.3, which is the rate most consumers get after exchange fees and commissions are deducted). I went around many major stores and shops on St. Catherine and when I did the math after discounting for up to 50% (at Reebok) and the stronger US$, I concluded that I'd be paying more here in Montreal for the same item.

    I understand why the sales tax rate is as high as nearly 15% but what I don't understand is how on Earth do retailers expect to sell their huge inventories to Canadian consumer at such relatively high prices. I feel bad for folks living in and around Montreal and making average incomes (which I think are lower than those of their US counterparts).

    Food prices seem to be also more expensive here in Montreal (I found the same case when I last visited Toronto). I feel like I was back in Norway, Sweden or Denmark -- Canada seems to be the Nordic states or Scandinavia viz-a-viz the US. Hey, maybe Montreal residents can drive to the US to do their shopping. Or get an American Amazon account and have their purchases shipped to a mailbox near the US/Canadian border.

    Heck, Apple immediately raised their Canadian prices to reflect the stronger US$ -- which I imagine was done to "prevent" a grey market for Apple products.

    I was thinking about buying a condo in downtown Montreal, when the market crashes, which must because there is so much overbuilding already and the Canadian economy, as I understand it, has slowed considerably due in part to the plummeting crude oil prices globally. I think I want to live in downtown Montreal part of the year in own own place, but property taxes and condo fees likely will make that dream unrealistic and economically foolish! (Maybe I can get a teaching job at McGill University -- I can teach basket weaving; hey my US graduate degree should count for something ) I want to live in Montreal, not just for its Hobbyland, but primarily because of its culture, diversity and other quality of life amenities (except the bone chilling cold, snow and snow melt) -- hey, I grew up in the US East Coast.

    Are you folks finding the same economic conundrum in Canada, and in Montreal in particular?

    I have to think there is a significant American expat community in Montreal, other than the obnoxious American tourists like me

  2. #2
    It is not just about the high prices companies are also reducing their salaries and expecting more production, more work, and more qualifications. At the end that results in jobs being lost since they are squeezing more work out of whatever employee they have. Automation also replaced many of the jobs. You see a lot of businesses especially retailers struggling to make profits. You think they would get a hint and lower the prices.
    There is no knowledge that is not power.

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    I hear you Cloud 500 and second your sentiments.

    The super wealthy and rich folks need to wake up and be fair to everyone on the lower social, economic ladder, otherwise they will be prisoners of their own wealth -- they'll have to hire expensive security details and armor their vehicles and Mac Mansions and yachts if the true unemployment rates go through the roof; people, like our ancient ancestors and wildlife cousins, will do everything possible to feed their hungry stomach and those of their immediate families.

    Can't we have fairness and equity for the regular folks? That benefits everyone, especially the filthy wealthy folks. Mr. Facebook founder pledged to donate 99% of his wealth to philanthropy but let's look at the fine prints, shall we.

    It drives me crazy (as someone who studied economics in college) to hear Janet Yellen and other economists to proclaim that there is very little inflation, even in the US, especially when I see my grocery bills go up and up while I receive less and less same stuff. My purchasing power in the US (and even in Montreal) continue to shrink and I'm force to work harder and harder for the Bosses! Hog wash!

  4. #4
    I happened to be in the US for a vacation and our timing coincided with the US Thanksgiving week and Black Friday sales.
    Some of the prices on clothing were so aggressive with the sales and promotions, that even with our pathetically weak Canadian dollar, the deals were amazing.

  5. #5
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    The most depressing part : Montreal is the most affordable city in Canada to live it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsWolfe View Post
    The most depressing part : Montreal is the most affordable city in Canada to live it.
    Really, wow! I don't know how the middle class and the working class make ends meet in Montreal. Home ownership must be lower than the US; even as renters, one must incur high heating bills in the winters and high electric bills in the winters (to keep the home cool). Food is expensive too -- apples cost nearly C$2 per pound in downtown Montreal; they cost about US$1 per pound, in most cases.

    Lunch at the food courts in downtown Montreal cost nearly C$20; I pay US$10 in NYC and LA, much less in Houston and Phoenix.

  7. #7
    It is the exchange rate, did you notice the Christmas sales were crap this year?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadChap View Post
    I was thinking about buying a condo in downtown Montreal, when the market crashes, which must because there is so much overbuilding already and the Canadian economy, as I understand it, has slowed considerably due in part to the plummeting crude oil prices globally. I think I want to live in downtown Montreal part of the year in own own place, but property taxes and condo fees likely will make that dream unrealistic and economically foolish! (Maybe I can get a teaching job at McGill University -- I can teach basket weaving; hey my US graduate degree should count for something ) I want to live in Montreal, not just for its Hobbyland, but primarily because of its culture, diversity and other quality of life amenities (except the bone chilling cold, snow and snow melt) -- hey, I grew up in the US East Coast.
    I have had many of the same thoughts about the condo market in Montreal. The last couple years I have been renting condos through AirBnB and/or directly through the owner, which were new and higher end condos, at prices which were ridiculously cheap by US standards. The reason for the overbuilding is that it's mostly foreign money and I don't know if there is a full appreciation of the local housing market by these foreign investors. It makes me wonder if a moratorium on new condo construction might be declared at some point. One of the Connecticut communities I lived in in the past, which had an absurdly high ratio of condo construction to other housing, at some point declared a moratorium on new condo construction which lasted for around 12 years or so.

    I had stayed in one of the newer condo complexes back in November, and at the conclusion of my stay I had a conversation with the owner's agent who told me the entire complex was owned by Chinese and/or Middle Eastern investors, many of whom purchased condos for their kiddies attending college in Montreal. The problem is once the kiddie graduates, they may have a poor real estate investment on their hands, which will have to be sold at a loss so they could send their kiddie to school by paying cheap tuition at one of the Montreal universities. However when considering the value of a McGill education based on the tuition saved over similar US academic institutions, the loss in value of the real estate is more than offset by the tuition expenditure saved - which is easily into 6 figures. It's a net win for these investors, if you do the analysis from the standpoint of where else they could have sent their kids to be educated (i.e. US Ivy League schools which cost perhaps 4 or 5 times more).

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    Quote Originally Posted by MsWolfe View Post
    The most depressing part : Montreal is the most affordable city in Canada to live it.
    I have my doubt the Montreal is the cheapest city in Canada to live in, with the high taxes and not too affordable housing combined with low wages there are many cities more affordable.
    I do not think outside the box, I do not think inside the box, I do not even know where the box is.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadChap View Post
    Maybe I can get a teaching job at McGill University -- I can teach basket weaving; hey my US graduate degree should count for something )
    I also feel like my US graduate degree, one that now costs well over $50,000 a year to get, should count for something. Let me know if you find a job teaching American basket weaving at McGill. Between a teaching job at McGill and the meager savings in my IRA, I might be able to make it work when I retire from my current career. I also have coming to me what I paid into Social Security, so with 3 incomes, expatriation possibly could work. The only downside I see to living in Montreal is the bone-chilling, testicle freezing cold. It's like 120 days of hell every year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver View Post
    I also feel like my US graduate degree, one that now costs well over $50,000 a year to get, should count for something. Let me know if you find a job teaching American basket weaving at McGill. The only downside I see to living in Montreal is the bone-chilling, testicle freezing cold. It's like 120 days of hell every year.
    You're one top of my list EB. I think you and I are in the same profession, EB. We can help those foreign investors where to park their monies in the States.

    I know about the Chinese monies seeking places to park outside of China. I personally benefited from that after having sold my last real property.

    I just came back from Sport Experts to buy some winter clothes and arrived just in time for my eagerly awaited apt. with the dynamic Nikita of MSC but my balls are frozen from the cold and will try to thaw them out with Nikita's help!

    I've dabbled in the US real estate market: make some money, lost a ton of money because of the Great Recession and then made some back than from those corrupt Chinese officials looking for places to park their ill-gotten gains; but the Xi government is "cracking" down on corruptions so we may see more monies flowing out of China into the US, Canada, UK and other European haven until Xi's presidency comes to an end.

    And I bought some crappy Chinese food for C$12 down the street, something that would cost less than $4 in the US even at Panda Express.

    I have cousins in TO and Vancouver; both places I detest! I love Montreal and despite the cold weather may still seek an easy job her -- maybe tutor co-eds. I've never been married so maybe, like some of my professors in graduate school, married one of their students and live happily ever after, reproducing lovely children.

    Oh, the beautiful Nikita arrived early.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EagerBeaver View Post
    ...The only downside I see to living in Montreal is the bone-chilling, testicle freezing cold. It's like 120 days of hell every year.
    Like I always said...Mtl is a great place to visit...however as an American, don't ever think of making it your second home...its Hell/Siberia II in winter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sol Tee Nutz View Post
    I have my doubt the Montreal is the cheapest city in Canada to live in, with the high taxes and not too affordable housing combined with low wages there are many cities more affordable.
    Montreal may not have the title of being the cheapest city to live in Canada, but we are close to being the cheapest. Prices for homes and renting is still one of the cheapest in the country.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02...n_6714202.html

    https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-l...country/canada

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadChap View Post
    And I bought some crappy Chinese food for C$12 down the street, something that would cost less than $4 in the US even at Panda Express.
    Try Beijing in Chinatown I. Their food is very good and reasonably priced. It's the only restaurant in Chinatown where it is consistently hard to get a table (especially Friday/Saturday nights).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadChap View Post
    I don't know how the middle class and the working class make ends meet in Montreal.
    In my case by working part-time as a SP, lol! By the time my paycheck was deducted by almost half and I paid my bills there simply wasn't anything left over.

    Quote Originally Posted by chercherfemmes View Post
    Montreal is one of the best places to live in North America when considering overall cost and quality of life.
    I have to disagree. I do enjoy living in Montreal but I am from Vancouver and also spent some time living in Edmonton and the quality of life was better out west. The first issue here is the taxes. When I moved from BC I lost an additional 8% of my salary in income taxes. The services and infrastructure here are extremely poor in comparison. Healthcare in Montreal is horrible and the public school system is no better. Everyone jokes about the roads here (who can forget the falling overpass!) and my power seems to go out at least once a week. Small things like looking for a dog park - the closest one to me is closed because the soil is contaminated in the park, so the nearest one is a 15 minute drive. In Vancouver I had both a dog park and a dog beach within a 5 minute walk.
    I would not be opposed to high taxes if I actually saw a return on my investment, but all I see here is people paying more and getting less. Such a shame because this city does have the potential to be amazing.

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