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Border Extortion - Personal Rant

Okay, this is just a rant with no real purpose and with no solutions provided. That being said, here's what's really getting me bugged right now.

Shipping stuff to my house in Canada from international origins is a royal pain, and I the pun, though not intentional, seems partly appropriate.

But the fault does not lie entirely with my corrupt Canadian Revenue Agency that deals with all excise tax and duties. True, they charge me a $5 fee to collect GST (Goods and Services tax) on incoming objects, thus charging me three times the tax (once for the salary of the excise worker, one for the privilege of allowing that worker to assess the package value - often arbitrarily, and then finally to add the 7 - soon to 6 - percent tax). If it weren’t a government doing this, they'd be arrested.

However, I just purchased a t-shirt from a site in the U.S., and the shirt cost me $12.99 US to buy. The shipping cost me $19.58 US, which is not far off what most shipping from the U.S. costs, even though shipping within the U.S. only cost one third, approximately $6 U.S.

Come on; is the border that big of an obstacle? We actually share the same landmass, we are major trading partners, even Free Trade (NAFTA) signatories, and yet the shipping cost triples just to cross our border? Can this be right?

Even more disturbing is that shipping costs to, say, Brussels, is not that much different than it is to Canada. Belgium, for those who don't know, is on another continent and across a fairly large stretch of water we call the Atlantic Ocean. Why does driving a truck a few hundred kilometres North of Idaho cost the same as shipping the same package several thousand kilometres across an ocean? Am I missing something?

So, my new philosophy is: If I can't get it in this country, and I don't absolutely need to have it, I am not going to buy it. Period.

Now, the down side is that I have become a dedicated wet shaver, and supplies for this activity are notoriously scarce in the Great White North. However, if I can get away with only buying blades from time to time, then the rest is gravy. It means I will no longer be getting things that I enjoy that are not available domestically, but I simply am not rich enough to consider the excise burden to be a worthwhile evil. It's not. It's a significant financial burden, it's expensive, and it's demoralizing to be a victim of extortion by one's own government and the team of two country’s overzealous border controllers.

There, I'm done, and I'm pretty sure that no one will care. Still, after getting slapped around for a while, even the mildest personality will take a stand. After all, if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything - like legal government extortion.


If you are close to the U.S. border, you may want to consider renting a PO Box. Everthing can be shipped there with no problems.

I know your pain... but I think that with some searching you should be able to find almost everything that you will need locally (or at least at some place within Canada)... and if you reconsider, there are places below the 49th parallel that WON'T charge an arm and a leg for shipping (though, these places can be dicfficult to find)... but I'm with you, the closer the source, the more likely I am to get it there.
I know what you mean about problems with import charges. Not only did HM Customs and Excise overcharge me for the tax on the items I ordered, they also slapped the 17.5% vat charge onto the cost of shipping as well. On top of that Royal Mail charge an exorbitant fee to collect the parcels once they arrive and this is applied to each individual parcel, eventhough they all arrived together.
The money itself is not an issue, wet shaving with it various acquisition disorders, is hardly the hobby to become involved in if you are trying to be frugal; what bothers me is the mercenary price gouging that the various official agencies indulge in, and the fact that I have had to pay for them to add a minimum of one extra week onto the shipping time of my items.
Warm regards,
I get really annoyed when retailers in the US charge ludicrously expensive shipping fees. Most of the time, once you receive the package, you can see that the actual charge was probably half of the shipping cost you paid. It is worth noting that this is another reason I purchase from QED; Charles always charges whatever the shipping cost, down to the cent. This hinders your ability to know the exact total when you place your order but I have found that I can trust Charles as the shipping charge always matches what is on the box.

Another huge pet peeve of mine are shipping costs within Canada. I find it stupefying that I can send something to California cheaper than to Alberta (I live on the east coast). I once sent a DVD to Ontario and because it was a hair too big for the regular mail slot it cost around $10. The same size package cost in the region of $5 to ship to Minnesota. Very frustrating.
You would think the governments of developed countries would try to make it easier for their citizens to conduct commerce across borders.
water said:
...Another huge pet peeve of mine are shipping costs within Canada....

Yeah, I shipped a bowl of C&E soap to my brother in Alberta (from Ottawa) and it cost more than $10! Does Canada Post actually wonder why they are losing business? Have any Canadians tried to ship within Canada via FedEx or UPS? Is it less expensive, or more expensive?

Another oddity is the price of flights within Canada; when I lived in Nova Scotia it was often less expensive to fly to many European destinations than to fly to Newfoundland, my home province (and many of the flights to Europe actually make a stop in Newfoundland).
I can vouch for Charles at QED - just got a shipment in this week (took about a week from date of ordering).

Also, got through without duty, but Charles is clear that ther are no guarantees.
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