Canadians who mail order

Dangerboy Mar 19, 2002

  1. Dangerboy

    Dangerboy TrainBoard Member

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    The thread about BLW's sale below has got me thinking(It is known to happen from time to time).Would those items really be much of a savings to us Canadians?I wouldn't think so,not after paying in American Dollars and after shipping and handling,not to mention the cross border hassles.Do we have to pay duty on these items?I have on occasion considered buying on-line or from the adds in the model magazines,but would hate to get stuck with unforseen expenses.I am lucky enough to have a quality train store across the road from where I work,but they don't carry everything I want.(I want to ask them if they can get their hands on Craig's BLMA details,I've never seen them in my area).
    Can anyone share their expiriences with shopping south of the border?
     
  2. Robin Matthysen

    Robin Matthysen Passed Away October 17, 2005 In Memoriam

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    My last order from the US was scenery stuff and trees. The echange rate charged by the credit card companies is horrendous then there are the delivery charges on the shipment.
    When it arrived here, there was no duty but I had to pay the courier the GST. No PST though.
     
  3. Dangerboy

    Dangerboy TrainBoard Member

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    Robin,being from Georgetown you might know Hemlock Junction in Milton?I work at the restaurant across the road.Thats who gets most of my money,when i have any left after paying to keep the roof over my basement.I grew up in Milton.
     
  4. Grantha

    Grantha TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I've done some mail order shopping from the US. You have to be really careful when determining if you are getting a good deal or not.

    First there is the exchange on the dollar. Recently I have been paying anywhere between $1.60 to $1.65 Cdn. for each US dollar. There is generally no duty but Canada Post charges a $5.00 brokerage fee if the value is over $20.00 Cdn. The post man will collect GST on the converted value. Here in Saskatchewan the post man also collects PST. I assume this would be the same in the maritimes with the HST.

    Second, you have to watch shipping charges. Believe it or not it is generally cheaper to ship items from the US to Canada than to ship within Canada. (Go figure! :confused: !) I have found surface shipping is inexpensive, and often takes only a couple of weeks. Air shipping is available and is often only a dollar or two more then surface.

    One other thing that I take into consideration when mail ordering is the wider selection of items available to me. Often it is worth the small complications.

    While most of my purchases have been over Ebay, I have never had a problem with a US model railroad supplier.

    [ 23 March 2002, 01:13: Message edited by: Grantha ]
     
  5. E&N Trainman

    E&N Trainman New Member

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    I orderd some Micro Enginering code 55 switches from walthers 3 weeks ago, still waiting!!
     
  6. Grantha

    Grantha TrainBoard Member

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    I haven't personally ordered form Walthers but have heard that they are not the fastest outfit to deal with. Others? Comments?
     
  7. BC Rail King

    BC Rail King E-Mail Bounces

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    My Question to you-

    Why not just oreder with in Canada? Most of the prices for models here are cheaper (after excahnge and postage), and they often have just as good a selection as down south. Now I understand you can't get BLMA here in Canada, but, for example, the Atlas code 55 switches have been here for three weeks. Staying with in Canada saves you time and effort as far as I am concerned, and very rarely do things in the US appear to be any cheaper than they are here!

    If you look at the back of MR there is a store, Creative Hobby Craft in New Westminster, BC that is really really really cheap. (RDCs at $70!!!)

    For details and other smaller and hard to find stuff look at www.central-hobbies.com

    They are both Canadian, but Central Hobbies is kinda expensive but must have some of the most details, decals and other accessories in Canada.

    [ 24 March 2002, 02:26: Message edited by: BC Rail King ]
     
  8. Craig Martyn

    Craig Martyn TrainBoard Member

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    Not for long Dane! :D
     
  9. Robin Matthysen

    Robin Matthysen Passed Away October 17, 2005 In Memoriam

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    To Dangerboy.
    Yes I do now Hemlock Junction and spend a lot of my money there. All my cork roadbed and track and a few locos and just bought my Dgitrax DCC system there. Prices are very good under the circumstances. The only product I mail ordered was some trees and stuff not carried by Hemlock. The folks that run Hemlock are very friendly and helpful .
     
  10. Dangerboy

    Dangerboy TrainBoard Member

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    Yup,I think we are pretty lucky to have such a good selection of N scale stuff nearby.I live in Kitchener,and think i'm the only N scaler in town.We have a few hobby shops in the area,but not much to choose from unless your into H.O.
    I don't think I would mail order anything,I'd just get Hemlock to see if they could get what ever I need in for me,But some times those adds look like great deals(60 bucks US for a Atlas SD 60)

    [ 24 March 2002, 05:12: Message edited by: Dangerboy ]
     
  11. ram53

    ram53 TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I suppose I'm "lucky" in a way, as I live in a border town (Sarnia, Ont. and Port Huron, MI). I got so tired of the extra shipping costs, the so-called "customs handling fee" and the basic delay in getting the items, and the 100% likelihood of being charged PST/GST in mail order, that I got a US mailing address that takes mail and courier, go over on my lunch hour, fill up my gas tank with cheap US gas, and pick up the stuff. If it's less than about $50 US, they usu. let you through no tax. In any case, the shipping is way less, and much faster. Some Ebay sellers don't bother shipping to Canada because of the extra trip to the P.O. to fill out customs forms, so that helps too. The nearest decent Canadian N scale shop (that I know of) is Credit Valley in Mississauga, which might as well be Mars for me (and they charge full retail). I'm self-employed, so I get professional journals shipped to the US address, and deduct the cost of the mailbox.
    Until I returned to this hobby after a long absence, I thought this town was at the end of the line, now I'm better off here than anywhere close to T.O. The trouble is, this is a small, "niche" type hobby, and Canada is too small, population-wise, to support discount retailers devoted to N scale, in the likes of N scale supply, 4NScale, etc. I've lived here most of my life, seen the quality of life on this side of the border deteriorate steadily over the past 10-20 years, sometimes wonder what we're trying to preserve. I am impressed with a company like Canadian Model Trains in Oakville, even though I really don't care for brass. They compete effectively in the US market, with very good prices. There aren't many like them in this country, and I wonder why. Larkspurline is another mail-order outfit with good prices, but basically all HO scale (They will order N scale from Walthers for you, and see if you can't get 20% off right off the bat).
    For all the stuff I buy, I just couldn't stay in the hobby if had to rely on Canadian merchants, or pay all the extra costs of mail-order from the US. It ultimately shows, in a sort of micro-economic way, that a small country with somewhat restrictive trade practices (despite "free trade") will have a lot less internal diversity, viz. a lot less consumer choice except for mass-market basics, and some citizens may have to vote with their feet for the "niche" stuff. Some people on this forum have talked about the hobby imploding and virtually vanishing as we baby-boomers start to die off, and there's no one coming up to replace us. Well, if it's going to happen, it may happen sooner here than in the US, just for the reasons I've listed above. Anyway, enough of this treasonous talk, good night!
     
  12. NSCALEMIKE

    NSCALEMIKE TrainBoard Member

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    I guess we should be very happy with the stores available here in the US, despite all the usual moanng that you hear from time to time.

    BTW, what is HST, GST etc??
    Sounds like a shakedown from the local mob, with all the money the government collects...

    Mike Cassidy
    Your South of the border friend....
     
  13. rsn48

    rsn48 TrainBoard Member

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    Its not quite as depressing as Richard makes it sound like in Canada. But for every 10 Americans there is only one Canadian, so it makes for a reduced "economy of scale" pricing of items just made for the Canadian market. For example, Life Like Canada has just become active in a primarily Canadian market with its excellent HO products, eg. RDC's and C units.

    You also have a population base which is around the same pop as California spread across a country that is larger than the USA, albeit that the 90% of Canadians live with 100 miles of the border with the USA. Here in Vancouver, we have four good stores, with one excelling in N scale (Pacific Scale Rails). For price, Dane and I keep telling Canadians that for price you will find Creative Hobbies, very competitive.

    But I will say with the Canadian dollar where it is, and an apathetic Canadian people to lazy to write the members of parliament, it is discouraging at times. If something costs $100 American, you can bet we will be paying around $165 for it. Try decoding your large stock of engines in N scale, lets say the SD90's which we have three of still decoderless (I am busy trying to get the layout up and running).
     
  14. Colonel

    Colonel Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well guys when you Canadians feel bad just think of us poor Aussies. The Australian dollar is only worth 52 cents US so we have to double the US price. Once we pay for air freight and sometime some suppliers charge minimum $20 Us for postage.

    I only buy over the net if there is a product I really want or need which is usually everything.

    One strange thing is that I can buy Life Like products here in Aus in aussie dollars for the same price they are advertised in US dollars so I'm getting them for half price.

    I just grin and bare it although paying $220 for a Kato SD90 makes it hard to justify
     
  15. canative

    canative New Member

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    If I were Canadian, I would add these two sites to my bookmarks (I'm not but I did):
    Udisco:
    http://www.udisco.com/hobbies/home.htm
    and Eurorail Hobbies:
    http://www.eurorailhobbies.com/default.asp

    Udisco is a wholesaler that just added Kato & Life-like yesterday. The jury is still out as to how much they will have and how good the prices, but I found their Walthers Cornerstone prices very competitive and their selection pretty good.

    Eurorail specializes in European products (with a name like "Eurorail" no one should be surprised ;) ). I wandered through their website yesterday and found a mix of competitive and incredibly aggressive prices (see the Brawa offerings - not that I am in the market but it was nice to dream).

    Take care,
    Randy

    [ 27 March 2002, 22:13: Message edited by: canative ]
     

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