Facebook page calls for American-only hours at U.S. Costco
Fed up with long lines, rude Canadians at Bellingham, Wash. store
Many Canadians are taking advantage of the high Canadian dollar by shopping across the border — with cheap milk and gas being two of the big draws — but some Americans are fed up with the cross-border crowd.
Some Bellingham, Wash., residents started a Facebook page calling for American-only hours at the local Costco.
On the Facebook page "Bellingham Costco needs a special time just for Americans," residents write they have seen flats of milk stripped away in seconds.
Some write they have to wait in long lines at the Costco gas station as Canadians fill up first their cars, and then their gas cans.
Others have posted photos of cars with B.C. licence plates that take up more than one parking space.
Some just complain about Canadians being rude.
Ken Oplinger, president of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, is urging locals to have patience for their Canadian visitors. Without them, he says, the living situation in the city and county would be quite different.
"In the last two years, our sales tax generation has doubled or tripled the pace in the rest of the state, and it's almost entirely because of the Canadians coming south," he said.
The administrator of the Facebook page, which had over 2,000 "Likes" as of Sunday, posted a message earlier this week telling Canadians they are not being blamed.
"To our Canadian friends on here that think we hate you: You have to look at the root of the problem. Bellingham has laws that keep big box companies from expanding. The overcrowding in this small, slow paced town has agitated people," the note said.
A spokesperson for Costco said the Bellingham store is bursting at the seams, and the company would love to expand the Bellingham store.
It would also like to install more lines and pumps at its gas station, but there's no room to do so on the current property.
While the Bellingham Facebook community page implores Costco to set aside special opening hours for Americans, just as it used to do for preferred customers, some commenters want the Canadians just to go away.
A senior VP told CBC News the store isn't looking to change its policy on shoppers, which is that anyone with a Costco membership can shop at any Costco store in the world.
According to a report by Seattle's KIRO TV, Bellingham police said Costco is now paying for an off-duty officer to handle the parking lot crowd two days a week.
With files from the CBC's Kirk Williams