23 Nov

Is Black Friday Worth It For Canadians?

Posted in News on 23.11.11 by John Meloche

Needless to say, holiday shopping has been on the minds of most people in the past week or two. And of course, the need to get those gifts at discount prices will only continue to grow more important as the weeks leading up to Christmas go by. This week, however, is one of the most important shopping weeks of the year.

That is because this Friday marks this year’s “Black Friday” events. Traditionally taking place on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, Black Friday is well-known for offering customers incredible savings on some of the season’s most popular items. It is not uncommon for insanely long line-ups to wrap around departments stores beginning in the wee hours of the morning.

For many people wanting to be the first customers inside of these stores to take advantage of the amazing deals, the time spent “camping out” is well worth it. In Canada, Black Friday has become associated with cross-the-border shopping. Many Canadians plan trips to the United States for the Black Friday weekend.

As Dana Flavelle wrote on Moneyville.ca this past weekend, “every year since the Canadian dollar hit par with the U.S. greenback in 2007, the annual American shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday has attracted growing interest on this side of the border.” So the yearly phenomenon is only getting more popular.

Flavelle points out, however, that Canadians have to factor in a number of other costs that their American neighbours do not when it comes to Black Friday. From duties to taxes to gas money and even hotel stays, there are many things that Canucks must consider before assuming that hopping across the border will automatically equal savings.

She provides some important information in her article for those looking to take a trip south of the border this weekend. Writes Flavelle: “Canadians can bring back $50 worth of merchandise duty free after 24 hours and $400 worth after a 48-hour stay, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.”

As well, she highlights the fact that to take advantage of Black Friday, many Canadians have to take the day of off work. Of course, American Thanksgiving is not a statutory holiday in Canada the way it is in the States. In addition, when making purchases, Canadians should remember that U.S. warranties are often invalid in Canada.

So is it worth it for Canadians to cross the border into the United States for Black Friday? We will continue to try to answer this question in tomorrow’s blog.

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