Thursday, April 20, 2006
I went to the bookstore today. Now, normally this is a fun and exciting thing that doesn't lead to an update titled "hmpf," but today was not so much with the fun and exciting. Because here's the thing. We're getting ripped off. You see, there's this new book out that I kind of want, called Big Girl Knits, which is, appropriately, a book about knitting if you are not a toothpick. Being both an obsessive knitter and a non-skinny person, this seemed like an obvious choice. The library hasn't ordered it yet and I'm not known for my patience.

Fortunately, I had two gift certificates from Christmas that I hadn't used yet. (I work in a library and get an employee discount at another bookstore, so it's rare for me to buy books at Chapters, which is where the gift cards were from.) Some of it, we agreed, would go towards a travel book for our trip to Britain, which is now coming up in less than two months. (How the HELL is it April 20th already?) But I figured the rest could buy me a knitting book. I've been meaning to get one for reference purposes, so I don't have to keep requesting the same ones from the library. I trundled into the knitting section and found five brand new copies of it, which had obviously just arrived since I checked yesterday and they didn't have any.

I flipped through and admired the patterns - the book has some awesome sweaters. There is a jacket in there that I am definitely going to make myself at some point. (My sister would love it too, I think.) But then I looked at the price. $30US - quite reasonable for a nice hardcover. Canadian? Forty-two freaking dollars! Last time I looked, the Canadian dollar was at about $1.20 US. Thirty dollars times $1.20 is about $36.00. That is a freaking ridiculous mark-up. The book industry is clearly not keeping up with the times - at that point it's cheaper for me to order it from the US and pay the shipping. Sure, at one point, that was an accurate reflection of the state of the dollar, but these days, not so much. But I guess American publishers have just gotten used to screwing over Canadians, and don't see any reason to change.

Needless to say, I didn't buy it or anything else. I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be a lot cheaper to get most of what I wanted online. Which it was - by a lot. Chapters online was selling Big Girl Knits for $28.14 before my member discount. That is a huuuge difference. The other books I wanted were cheaper as well. I eventually decided to wait on Big Girl Knits, but I bought all my other stuff for about 1/3 less than I would have paid in the store.

This is why I shop online, people. I'm ordering yarn from the States that is less than half the cost of yarn in an actual store. I know there's the whole rigmarole about needing to have an actual space to buy things from, but when it's the same store in a bricks and mortar format and online with that much of a difference? Something is fucked up. Remind me not to buy things without comparison shopping online.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when an actual store is totally necessary - last minute baby gifts (like tomato hats!), birthday parties (where my bookstore discount comes in big time handy), and when you just don't want to wait. But I'm really starting to get disgruntled with actual stores. I envy all the Americans who have virtually everything they could get in a mall available online with free or super cheap shipping - online shopping in Canada is not quite as far along. But it's getting there. I have found awesome yarn stores online that have incredibly reasonable shipping-to-Canada policies, and even paying the shipping it's cheaper than buying here, some of the time, with more selection. Sure, you buy yarn untouched, but that's what the yarn reviews are for.

If anyone needs me, I'll be over here in the corner, knitting my online-purchased socks on my online-purchased needles. I will be sitting in my purchased from a store chair, though. There is no replacement for the nap test in a store.