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Old 11-24-2008, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default How can you afford it?

I'm up here in Ottawa picking up my DD from school and then taking her back to Albany, NY for Thanksgiving. I was heading out to Ikea which I do whenever I'm home for a visit. Anyway, Michael's is right next door so I grabbed the 40% coupon from my sisters paper and headed out.

What a shock! Here are some price comparisons. I want a cropodile, $20 more than SU charges. Embossing folders, $4.00 more, Martha Stewarts punches again, double the price. 3M Glue that I love, $5.00 more. That's just to name a few.

Have to admit I had to pick my jaw off the ground. Even with the dollar what it is now, it still doesn't pay to shop for craft stuff up here. Now, Ikea I had no problem dropping $130.00 there.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:43 PM   #2
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I know, isn't it terrible. You should see the prices of the groceries and everyday items that we have to get, but what can we do, this is where we live and these are the prices we have to pay. I know that I personally do alot of my craft shopping online because I can get things for a resonable price, even with the exchange rate. Thanks for mentioning that we have to pay double what you have to on craft items,(don't take this as sarcasim, because it isn't) if we are lucky maybe some members of goverment will notice this thread and do something about the prices, A girl can dream can't she lol.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:10 PM   #3
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Probably a good job your travels didn't bring you across the Atlantic - I suspect the prices are even more frightening here although the exchange rate has made it look a bit 'better' in recent weeks (although worse if you're like me and buy from US sites - my pound was buying two US dollars and is now buying only $1.50). The SU! catalogue prices here are the same in pounds as yours in dollars so a set that costs you $25 is listed here as 25 (which is $37 dollars at current exchange and a few weeks ago was the equivalent of $50 - ouch!).
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by justampinView Post
I'm up here in Ottawa picking up my DD from school and then taking her back to Albany, NY for Thanksgiving. I was heading out to Ikea which I do whenever I'm home for a visit. Anyway, Michael's is right next door so I grabbed the 40% coupon from my sisters paper and headed out.

What a shock! Here are some price comparisons. I want a cropodile, $20 more than SU charges. Embossing folders, $4.00 more, Martha Stewarts punches again, double the price. 3M Glue that I love, $5.00 more. That's just to name a few.

Have to admit I had to pick my jaw off the ground. Even with the dollar what it is now, it still doesn't pay to shop for craft stuff up here. Now, Ikea I had no problem dropping $130.00 there.

We croak, and then either buy online or just pay up. It's a fact of life we dislike, but just have to live with. (BTW, that glue can be purchased at Canadian W-Mart for 4.97). M's coupons are our best friend.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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Why is this? Is it the taxes? It can't cost that much more to transport across the boarder. I when I was in London four years ago I went to get my usual grande skim latte at Starbucks and it was the same 3.10 that it was here...but pounds not dollars! I paid almost 6 dollars for a coffee!!! It was the first time I was glad to get in the plane home.
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Old 11-24-2008, 07:54 PM   #6
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Why is this? Is it the taxes? It can't cost that much more to transport across the boarder. I when I was in London four years ago I went to get my usual grande skim latte at Starbucks and it was the same 3.10 that it was here...but pounds not dollars! I paid almost 6 dollars for a coffee!!! It was the first time I was glad to get in the plane home.
It is because of what the exhange rate was when they started selling here. we were at about .50 then.....you know those $1 stamps there?? $1.50 here. Then even though ther exchange rate went higher and even above your dollar, they just kept charging the same amount. Basically, they charge there what the market will pay. We also don't have the same amount of competition here, no Joanne's, no Archivers(at least I believe they aren't in Canada yet)
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:05 AM   #7
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Ahh, the joys of living in the Great White North. Honestly though I didn't realize that there was such a price discrepancy until I started stamping and ordering from online stores based in the US (and from this site ). So some of us Canadians live in ignorance bliss but for those that know, we just accept it and live with it and try to find Canadian stores that carry stuff we want so we don't have to deal with customs and the exchange rate.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by AngelnorthView Post
Probably a good job your travels didn't bring you across the Atlantic - I suspect the prices are even more frightening here although the exchange rate has made it look a bit 'better' in recent weeks (although worse if you're like me and buy from US sites - my pound was buying two US dollars and is now buying only $1.50). The SU! catalogue prices here are the same in pounds as yours in dollars so a set that costs you $25 is listed here as 25 (which is $37 dollars at current exchange and a few weeks ago was the equivalent of $50 - ouch!).
I agree! I usually buy my stamps from Ebay USA but since the pound has fallen its just too expensive ... so I've decided not to buy any stamps until I've reused every stamp that I've already got ... no matter how much of a bargain they seem. (though now that Gordon has dropped the VAT rate we'll all be laughing! )
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:44 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by justampinView Post
I'm up here in Ottawa picking up my DD from school and then taking her back to Albany, NY for Thanksgiving. I was heading out to Ikea which I do whenever I'm home for a visit. Anyway, Michael's is right next door so I grabbed the 40% coupon from my sisters paper and headed out.

What a shock! Here are some price comparisons. I want a cropodile, $20 more than SU charges. Embossing folders, $4.00 more, Martha Stewarts punches again, double the price. 3M Glue that I love, $5.00 more. That's just to name a few.

Have to admit I had to pick my jaw off the ground. Even with the dollar what it is now, it still doesn't pay to shop for craft stuff up here. Now, Ikea I had no problem dropping $130.00 there.
It's Michael's that chooses to gouge their customers, not the dollar. I NEVER shop there because I have a great LSS down the street from Michaels that carries everything they do, and more, and at half the price... So it's not all of Canada that's like that, it's just that stupid store!!!
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:08 PM   #10
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WOW I got my cropadile at M's way back when and got it for less because of the 40% off. Most of our prices are cheaper at M's than SU, Between M's and HL someone seems to always have glue on sale so I get it all the time, if it isn't on sale I use my coupon for it.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:42 PM   #11
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For those of you in Canada near ND, come on down and shop! You get US prices and you can even get your sales tax refunded. Of course, you probably need 12 kinds of proof that you're safe to enter the US!
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:49 PM   #12
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For those of you in Canada near ND, come on down and shop! You get US prices and you can even get your sales tax refunded. Of course, you probably need 12 kinds of proof that you're safe to enter the US!
I love the idea of coming down, the only problem with that is when we try to come back. I don't think that border guards would believe me when I tell them that I always travel with stamps and paper. We are thinking about coming down for a few days in the spring, DH wants to get some lumber and strangly enough lumber that is cut in Canada and sold to the US costs us less in the US then what it does in Canada. We have a strange system up here. If we stay in the US for more than 24hrs we can bring back more stuff dollar wise. So I will try and save up for when we go to Minot. Thanks for the invite.
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Old 11-25-2008, 01:54 PM   #13
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I love the idea of coming down, the only problem with that is when we try to come back. I don't think that border guards would believe me when I tell them that I always travel with stamps and paper. We are thinking about coming down for a few days in the spring, DH wants to get some lumber and strangly enough lumber that is cut in Canada and sold to the US costs us less in the US then what it does in Canada. We have a strange system up here. If we stay in the US for more than 24hrs we can bring back more stuff dollar wise. So I will try and save up for when we go to Minot. Thanks for the invite.
There's no duty on paper. i always just say "I bought PAPER crafts supplies" and i get waved through...
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:13 PM   #14
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There's no duty on paper. i always just say "I bought PAPER crafts supplies" and i get waved through...
That is good to know. Maybe when we go down we will get a border guard that is a stamper or married to one.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:43 PM   #15
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Thankfully I live near the US border so I do a lot of shopping on the US side.

I get really PO'ed at Michaels for charging 50% or more versus the US prices on the exact item. A while ago our dollar was worth MORE than the US and they did not adjust the prices to reflect it.

I prefer to support my smaller LSSs and for the most part, they are competitive with prices I can get in the States.
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Old 11-25-2008, 03:43 PM   #16
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i had shopping to do today so i stopped by walmart first and picked up some martha stewart glitter and a punch (yeah) then went to michaels. i would have paid about ten more dollars for the same stuff. i prefer hobby lobby, their prices are better!!!!!!
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:03 PM   #17
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I don't shop at Michael's that often. I usually stick to JoAnn's or online.
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:14 PM   #18
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If their is another craft store in that area, they may take that Micheals coupon as a competitors coupon; I also do it with my favorite craft store,
because Micheals and Joannes store never change their stock much
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MewsinView Post
It is because of what the exhange rate was when they started selling here. we were at about .50 then.....you know those $1 stamps there?? $1.50 here. Then even though ther exchange rate went higher and even above your dollar, they just kept charging the same amount. Basically, they charge there what the market will pay. We also don't have the same amount of competition here, no Joanne's, no Archivers(at least I believe they aren't in Canada yet)
I think the lack of competition really is a big part of it. We used to have three craft chain stores in Canada. Two of them have gone out of business in the last 5 years. In a way, M's has a monopoly here. I live in Ottawa, and I know of only three LSS's that would be within a reasonable (say, 1 hour or less) distance from me. One is essentially a family run operation that mainly sells only their own stamps. One carries a very limited selection from many companies & some specialty stamp products BUT it carries very little paper and the prices are not any better than M's and in some cases, higher. The third is pretty much strictly scrapbooking and has REALLY bad customer service (IMO).
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Old 11-25-2008, 04:16 PM   #20
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If their is another craft store in that area, they may take that Micheals coupon as a competitors coupon; I also do it with my favorite craft store,
because Micheals and Joannes store never change their stock much
That only works for those of you in the US. In Canada, we do not have Joannes, Hobby Lobby etc. We only have Micheals.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:47 PM   #21
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I think the lack of competition really is a big part of it. We used to have three craft chain stores in Canada. Two of them have gone out of business in the last 5 years. In a way, M's has a monopoly here. I live in Ottawa, and I know of only three LSS's that would be within a reasonable (say, 1 hour or less) distance from me. One is essentially a family run operation that mainly sells only their own stamps. One carries a very limited selection from many companies & some specialty stamp products BUT it carries very little paper and the prices are not any better than M's and in some cases, higher. The third is pretty much strictly scrapbooking and has REALLY bad customer service (IMO).
Hi Anemone,
I'm wondering which stores you are referring to, especially the one that sells mainly their own stamps. Have you been to Multicrafts on Thurston?
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:53 PM   #22
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Try coming to Australia some time. In our SU caty the prices can be 3x what they are in the US one, more than what's in the Canadian one, we don't have a Hobby Lobby, Micheal's, Johanne's, or even access to a Walmart. We maybe the physical size of the continental USA, but we only have 25 million people, so they charge us big $'s for all our craft supplies. If we order in from oversea's the S&H & insurance is almost as much as the order & then we have the exchange rate on top of that.

So, we just have to be patient. Sometimes we make good friends with people oversea's & do swaps with them for things we can't get here & they can't get there (Australian designed things which aren't advertised or sold where they're from). This sometimes eases the pain. But I'm just plain jealous.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:39 AM   #23
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When the Canadian dollar was strong over the summer our stores were SWAMPED with Canadian shoppers. In fact, it was the only thing keeping our sad Buffalo economy going. Even now there are still many Canadians coming across the border to shop.
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Old 11-26-2008, 11:57 AM   #24
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When the Canadian dollar was strong over the summer our stores were SWAMPED with Canadian shoppers. In fact, it was the only thing keeping our sad Buffalo economy going. Even now there are still many Canadians coming across the border to shop.
I live 5 minutes from the Washington border, and when our dollar was good, I was ordering things, and going down to the states all the time.. That's slowed now that our dollar is "normal" again, but I believe it when you say you were swamped! The stores over here were too!
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:19 PM   #25
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The problem is also with duties at the border. I ordered $25 in stamps from Technique Tuesday and was charged $25 in broker fees and taxes. We can never have the same prices as the US. But M's prices are awful. They sell BG stamp sets for $25, while our LSS sells them for $17. Otherwise, they are prices we accept to pay, or wait for sales.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:03 PM   #26
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The problem is also with duties at the border. I ordered $25 in stamps from Technique Tuesday and was charged $25 in broker fees and taxes. We can never have the same prices as the US. But M's prices are awful. They sell BG stamp sets for $25, while our LSS sells them for $17. Otherwise, they are prices we accept to pay, or wait for sales.

With the duty it depends on the custom's agent. I have ordered items from the same store and for around the same price, one time I got hit with the duty the next time I didn't, the ladies at the post office said that it is a hit or miss with the agents. I do know that anything over $100 you are going to get hit with duty most of the time. I just placed a big order from the Merri Artist in the States and I am not looking forward to the duty, but it was still less expensive to order there then any place in Canada, even with the exchange rate.
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:49 AM   #27
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I live near the Detroit border, and cross weekly for groceries. I save on average over $100 per WEEK. I just cannot believe the savings on regular stuff, let alone crafting stuff. With 4 kids, the groceries go FAST!

In the past 2 weeks alone...
Gas was at $0.41 - $0.45 a LITRE
Milk was 2 gallon jugs for $5 -- around here we pay $3.49 to $4.99
Chicken breasts at $0.99 a lb.
several types of cereal were $2 a box -- those are $3.49 to $6.99


Shopping online, I have found that it is cheaper to order from UK, or Sweden. I have yet to pay duty/tax on any of my Magnolia/Sugar Nellie/Whiff of Joy purchases yet.
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:59 AM   #28
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Not only are our prices much higher but our sales taxes are as well. In Ontario it is 5% GST (goods and services tax on just about everything except food and prescription drugs) and then 8% Ontario Provincial Tax. The only province not having a Provincial tax is Alberta and the territories.

As for Michael's, their prices are higher than Canadian on-line places like Sheila at scrappingreatdeals.com and if you figure a cuttle bug folder, it is $9.98 at Michael's and Sheila charges $5.98. Now at Michael's you can use your 40 ot 50% coupon for 1 item so if you only bought one, it would be cheaper.

We have very few other outlets here except for the very few Local scrapbooking and stamping places. Even Wal-mart has hardly anything in the one near us which is huge except for some adhesives.

As for Michael's, even they vary as to what they carry. Some of the larger newer ones have a great stock but others that have been around for awhile are poorly stocked. The one in Whitby has no embossing folders at all but the on in Oshawa does as well as the Brampton one.

It all depends on where you live I guess.
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:34 AM   #29
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Being American, but living near Toronto for the last four years.... let's just say that after the last few months, I am glad that gas is finally down! $1.40 a litre (3.75 litres in a gallon)... now it's about $0.85 a litre.

The way the American dollar is now, it's good for Americans living here, but not so great for the Canadians. I travel to NY once a month for personal business (banking, medical, etc), so I try to buy what I can then. Of course, some times you get hit with duties crossing back at the border, sometimes not. It's hit or miss. And every time I head home to Chicago to visit family, I always stop at Hobby Lobby and stock up. If you're gone for a few days, you get several hundred dollars allowance before you have to pay duties.
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