How to Shop and Shopping in Canada
When you travel to different cities or countries you have to buy or rent almost everything. You can only pack
and bring a certain amount of personal products, clothes and electronics. When you travel - eventually you
have to purchase food, accommodation, transportation, and other products and services. This is some shopping
information to help you when you travel to Canada and have to shop. There are links to additional
"How to shop articles" to help you make purchase decisions when shopping in Canada.
The Canadian dollar has jumped up from .63 USD to .91 US dollar. This has
caused several pricing problems for shopping in Canada. Many products have been priced to
reflect the traditional 15 to 25% discount to the US dollar.
Many Canadians and visitors to Canada have compared prices in Canada and the border US
retailers and using US dollars saved from 15 to 25% shopping in the USA.
Some Canadian retailers (2014) have lowered their prices and it is comparable to shop in Canada or USA. For big
ticket items (over $500) use the internet to compare USA and Canada prices for the same products at the same
retailers to calculate which is the best location to buy.
How to Shop in Canada
When shopping in Canada remember the price you see is not the final price! In Canada
there are two taxes the GST (Federal Government Goods and Services Tax) and the PST
(Provincial Sales Tax). The GST is the same rate all over Canada, the PST is the local
rate for the province and yes they are all different.
Many provinces have recently adopted both taxes together as the "HST" Harmonized Sales Tax.
As an example if you see something like a pen in a dollar store the sticker price will
show the price as 1 dollar. When you go to the clerk at the cash register and the item is
"rung up on the till" the price will be the 1 dollar plus the two taxes and you will have
to pay the total amount. In Ontario the Federal GST is 5 percent and the PST is 8 percent
so the total price of the pen is 1.13 with the added taxes.
In Canada there are different government taxes that are added to alcohol, gasoline, tobacco,
hotel rooms and other targeted consumables. Always ask what taxes are included and what taxes
are added for the items you wish to purchase. This will help you avoid final price surprises.
In Canada some restaurants, bars and hotels add a service fee to the final bill. This fee
can be 10, 15, 20 or 25 percent and can shock shoppers if you were unaware of this
additional service fee. Always ask if there is a service fee and what is the rate.
When shopping in Canada you have to compare prices as tax in or tax out and with or without
a service fee. If you want a coffee and see 2 prices ($1.25 all in from shop A) and you see
a price of ($1.00 from shop B) you have to ask questions before buying your coffee.
A - $ 1.25 final price
B - $ 1.00 - plus service fee .20 plus GST .06 plus PST .09 final price $ 1.35
In Canada ask what taxes and service fees are included or added to the final price.
Buying junk to save a few dollars is not a good idea.
In Canada there are real name brand products, fake name brand products and cloned
products. In Canada it is illegal to sell pirate goods however many fast-buck operators
sell these goods to try and make profits from the good reputations of the legitimate
high-quality name-brand products.
If you are shopping in a dark basement or buying from someone's car or a flea market -
then your chances of buying the real new un-used name brand product are close to zero.
If you buy a fake product from a pirate and this product causes an allergic reaction,
or falls apart or causes an accident then obviously you are to blame - you are the stupid
one. Buying junk to save a few dollars is not a good idea.
Using consumer reports to evaluate products
In Canada shoppers have the opportunity of using consumer reports to evaluate products. There
are many books by non-profit testing organizations that test new products every year. The
books are even available free at many libraries across Canada.
In Canada there are many specialty magazines that perform their own in-house technical
evaluations and conduct user surveys from their subscribers about the products for sale.
Using the product reports from the independent testing organizations and the specialty
publishers can give you an extensive list of available products, average performances,
user satisfaction, and some sort of product ranking for price or performance. These lists
can act as your base information when you start to shop for any products in Canada.
Links to How to Shop for Products and Services Articles