U.S. vs. Canada: Bellingham Costco crossborder shopping debate turns ugly on Facebook
The traditional reputation of Canadians as polite and mild-mannered has taken a beating. American Facebook users have been protesting the "rude" behaviour of Canadian shoppers swarming the Bellingham Costco, just south of Vancouver.
Kiro TV reported that the problem with too many shoppers at the Bellingham location has mushroomed to the point that police have to be called in to assist with crowd control on weekends.
According to the report, Canadian shoppers are flocking to the Washington state Costco due to lower milk and gas prices (dairy is subsidized in America but not in Canada).
The Facebook page "Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans" was created on July 19 but it has only recently been getting national media attention in Canada.
Both this page and a copycat page have unleashed a torrent of anti-Canadian criticism and counter-criticism, not to mention remarks targeting South Asian Canadians.
The original page description was reported to have stated:
“You all been there. its hard to find a parking spot. Them Canadians can be rude. The lines are crazy. We aren't on a vacation and have an RV to hang out in like those Canadians. We just want to go shopping, not go on an adventure.”
The description has since been changed.
The page creator posted that the page is "not to bash our wonderfull [sic] neighboring country men, but to raise awareness to Costco and show the mayor and counsel [sic] members of Whatcom county that they need to let Costco expand or help come up with solutions for these overpopulated situations."
Another post from the webpage administrator further elaborates upon this point:
"Even tho some of these pictures are offensive and there may be some offensive comments. In no way do we hate Canadians. They contribute to our county. They are the ones who let our economy flourish. I have some great friends that are Canadians and i love them. All we are asking for is a little compassion from Costco for Americans. make a special time of the day that Americans can do a little shopping before you lose us as customers. We payed for a membership and shouldnt be pushed out by Canadians. Its a choice that Costco needs to make. We love our Canadfians neighbors."
Nonetheless, the issue has sparked animosity between Canadians and Americans on these pages and across the internet.
Another post states: "…some of you have blown this way out of proportion. This goes for both Amercian and Canadians. You should really be ashamed of yourselves for the words that have been said. We do not condone racism in anyway shape or form."
In response to the original American page, a spoof page, "Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Canadians", was launched on Facebook on August 13.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.