Monday, November 26, 2007

Interesting Times

I was in Niagara Falls (Ontario) this weekend for a quick mini-vacation. On the first night, after checking in, (to the Doubletree which I highly recommend and is suprisingly affordable this time of year) I drove down to a 7-Eleven on the corner to grab a carton of milk.

When I approached the counter there was a guy roughly my age who was handing the clerk a $20 US bill to pay for his stuff - they take both currencies in the Falls area of course. She politely told him that it was only worth $19.00 Canadian (and what he was purchasing was something like $19.75). He chuckled, took the bill back and handed her his credit card. He turned around to me and said, "Boy, how times have changed.". I chuckled back and agreed.

We then had a short, but interesting discussion. He thought Canada (at least the Niagara Falls part of it) was very expensive. He wondered how we live with these costs along with our relatively high taxes. He asked aloud whether everyone up here must make correspondingly higher salaries just in order to live comfortably. I assured him that this was *not* the case. ;) I told him that Niagara Falls was a tourist area and significantly more expensive than the norm. I also brought up the fact that that we seem to have a very large middle-class in Canada while the US seems to foster a much bigger widening between the rich and the poor - at least that's the way I perceive it whenever I'm visiting the states. There seem to be lots of SUV and Caddy driving rich people and lots of destitute people, and not nearly as many in-betweens as we have up here. He nodded in agreement.

A second interesting thing I noticed was when I made a quick trip into a Rexall drugstore to pick up some Advil. As I was paying, I noticed a stack of pamphlets on the counter which proudly explained the fact that Rexall was now honouring US prices on all of it's magazines, gift cards and stationary. This is I think inevitable since we have the higher dollar and yet I'm still paying a buck or so more for magazines than US customers.

Interesting times.

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