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the currency gouging index

i'm starting to include references to this more and more as i post. you'll notice it mostly in posts related to cosmetics, because those are where there is a clear difference in canadian versus u.s. prices.

canadian vs u.s. dollar 2010- 2011
basically, the story is this:

the canadian dollar is worth more than the american dollar and has been for several months. in fact, for the last couple of years, we've been dancing with parity on an ongoing basis. many canadian consumers can accept the fact that our import taxes are a little higher, or that there is duty to be paid on imported goods, but considering that for every canadian dollar paid, american companies are making money if they charge the same price as they do to americans. [e.g., using yesterday's exchange rate from the bank of canada- a product sold at $25usd to a canadian customer would net $25.81usd if the customer paid in canadian dollars]

we are a reasonable people. most of us do not mind paying a couple of extra dollars for the convenience of being able to buy in our own country [although even saying that seems weird], but there are limits and many companies insist on pushing those limits. and so i give you the cosmetics "currency gouging" hall of shame/ fame for summer 2011. [i'm choosing cosmetics because the price changes from country to country. buying music is paid in usd and costs the same no matter what currency is in your bank account, which makes it an awesome time to buy music. i'm perfectly willing to look at any other industries if people are interested.]

hall of shame

armani- hmm... one eyes to kill eye shadow in the u.s.= $32. in canada? $42. one rouge d'armani lipstick in the u.s.= $30. in canada? $38. are you f**king kidding me? armani products are stellar, but you're going to have to do a lot of convincing to get me to believe they're that much better in canada than they are in the united states.

m.a.c.- well, at first glance, the differences don't seem so huge- $14.50usd vs. $17.50cad for a lipstick or eye shadow- until you consider that m.a.c. are a f**king canadian company. seriously, despite the fact that they were purchased by estee lauder, their head office is still located in toronto [ok, technically newmarket, but they're seriously a block and a half north]. they should be charging us less!

givenchy- you'll see in my previous post that the pricing for a gloss from givenchy is $29cad versus $26.50usd. that's not so bad, right? well no, but on my on line order, i got dinged an extra $1.88 on the givenchy gloss only for "duty". what the hell is the inflated canadian price covering if it's not the extra import taxes we call "duty"? you're double dipping, givenchy.

hall of fame

guerlain- i was originally just going to make this a hall of shame, but i felt that i would be doing a disservice. guerlain are a really expensive brand, which is kind of sad because more people should be able to enjoy their products. the one thing that you can say about guerlain is that they're pretty much equally out of reach no matter what side of the border you stand on. price of a rouge g in the u.s.? $46. in canada? $50. price of a limited edition rouge g lipstick in the u.s.? $47. in canada? $50. that little differential is actually a key component of the guerlain pricing strategy. in fact, permanent products are priced above [but not grossly above] the exchange rate, but limited edition products are priced much closer to the current exchange rate. in fact, guerlain's limited edition blush/ bronzer powders are priced the same or less in canada as they are in the u.s. why do that when the regular products maintain a difference? guerlain is being very smart. they know that with the canadian dollar at parity or above, selling at the same price is a winning proposition. so for products that are only available a limited time, why not offer them at the same price? for permanent products, they are betting that, over the long term, the canadian dollar will be lower than the american, so it makes sense to guard permanent prices higher to protect themselves from a cad collapse. smart, smart, smart business and an excellent way to curry favour with the folks north of the border.

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dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

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making faces :: written in the stars [in lipstick]

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the collection is pretty much exactly what you think it is: a lipstick a month inspired by the zodiac sign that begins in that month. a lot of people are interested in getting the one for their own sign. but that's not me. i'm interested in collecting the whole damn thing. it helps that bite's amuse bouche lipstick formula is one of the nicest on the market and that i've been weeding through my collection of lipsticks to find those that have started to "turn" [smell like crayons or grow dry] so that in theory, i have room to add more. [you have enough lipsticks for three people who wear lipsti…