Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shopping Lists!

Quite often, when my friends in Canada find out that I have an upcoming trip to “the States,” I get requests to bring back items that are either not readily available in Canada or are much cheaper to buy in the US. Over time, I also began getting similar requests from my US friends for items they wanted me to bring them from Canada.

Now when I am planning any cross-border excursions, I generally have three shopping lists. The first shopping list is for purchases I must complete in Canada before I leave for the US. On this list, I will usually have:

• Ketchup-flavored potato chips
• Kinder Surprise chocolate (but not those dangerous eggs

• Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale
• Sleeman Draught
• Swiss Chalet seasoning mix
• Maple flavored cookies
• Ice wine

• Spectro Jel

• Kettle-cooked peanuts

The second list is my list of what I need to purchase in the US to bring back for my Canadian friends. It used to be that my top request was for Aleve, but luckily for me, that is now available in Canada, so I have more time to shop for other items. My list of stuff to pick up in Michigan for the Canucks usually includes:

• Payday candy bars
• Cherry Coke
• Peanut Butter Captain Crunch
• Jalepeno Cheetos
• Flaming Hot Cheetos
• Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper
• Cornbread mix
• Beer or liquor (because it's cheaper than in Canada)
• Red Wings stuff

Then there is a third list of stuff I can’t get in Canada that I need to pick up for myself while in the US. This list includes:

• Canned white corn
• Roast beef hash
• Fat-free canned ravioli
• Mexican seasonings
• Nice, sweet Michigan wines
• Chili beans
• Pinto beans
• Slim Jims
• Mucinex
• Zyrtec-D
• Canine brewer’s yeast tablets
• Decent sunflower seeds (in shell)
• Spicy microwave popcorn
• 1% hydrocortisone cream

Another part of the third list is of stuff that inexplicably costs soooo much more in Canada, even though the identical product is sold in both countries.

• Chap Stick Moisturizing lip balm ($1 in US, $3.50 in Canada)
• Pure cranberry juice--not from concentrate ($4 in US, $11 in Canada)
• Case of 24 bottles of beer--example, Miller Chill ($17 in US, $42 in Canada)
• Emergen-C drink mix ($9 per box in US, $21 in Canada)

I do know that some of the items on my lists are available in both countries, but, again, either they are much more expensive in one country, or they are not easy to find in both countries.

I’d be very interested to know what types of items my readers have found lacking in one country or another. Leave me some comments with your shopping lists. Or, if you know of a store in Canada that is easily accessible and carries some of the items I previously was buying in the US, I would appreciate that information as well!

One final note—after just returning from the US, I was happy to come back to Canada with two large tubes of 1% hydrocortisone cream that cost me less than $10. I am allergic to many things, as is my dog, so we both get through a lot of hydrocortisone. Much to my dismay, the best I can find in Canada are small tubes of .5% hydrocortisone cream which cost about $7 each. The 1% is much more effective for bug bites, hives, and the like. I was putting the cortisone I had just purchased from the US into my medicine cabinet, and out of curiosity, I checked out the label. The brand was a US store brand. But sure enough, the fine print on the label said “Made in Canada.”


Kristy said...

Off the top of my head I can think of a couple of more things that are hard if impossible to find in Ontario. They are Frito bean dip, enchilda sauce, and roll sausage like Jimmy Dean or any type of brand. I have found Johnsville sliced sausage at a huge cost. One time I found bean dip but the store discontinued it . I think it was Tostito?sp. I also found bags of pinto beans at Walmart but never in a can. I have also recently found blackeye peas in a can at No Frills. I also can't find Exercdrin Migraine. Also, no Bush's Beans. Frozen food is more available in the states also and more affordable. Ahh, no biscuits and gravy.

MJB said...


You know, I think I've seen roll sausage at some grocery store (Zehr's?) in the frozen section before in Canada (not with the fresh meat, like in the US). Also, I know what you're saying about Excedrin. Sarah goes through it like water, and not only is it hard to find and expensive here, they only sell the regular variety--no migraine. And funny you should mention Bush's beans, because that's exactly what I meant when I put chili beans on my list! Thanks for your comments!


MSEH said...

Yup, we bring back Bush's vegetarian baked beans. We also, when in Portland, pick up a case of Whole Foods 365 black olives. It's not so much that they're more expensive in Canada - though they are - but they tend to be much more fatty. Funny that someone mentions roll sausage for patties. I was looking for that just the other day. No Jimmy Dean here! That's okay, though. Bought ground pork at the Farmers' Market and made my own. My partner always has "Take 5" bars - I think that's what they are - when we're in the States. But, it's not good for the waistline to bring a bunch of those back! Same with Pepperidge Farms Milanos. I'm sure there's more, but that's off the top of my head...

cls said...

Are you familiar with the Yves brand of tinned pinto beans? I've bought mine at Loblaws in the health food section.



MJB said...

In just the few weeks since I've written this blog, I've found myself standing in the aisle of the grocery store, desperately scanning the shelves and feeling frustrated. Here are more things I wish I could get here in Canada:

Wondra flour
Lawry's salt
Navy beans
Great Northern beans
Light red kidney beans

The next time I am in Michigan, I am going to come home with as many cans of beans as I can fit in my car!!!


Holly said...

The best thing I ever had in canada was a bag of 2% milk! It was so absolutely delicious that I switched to 2% going forward. That was ages ago now, but it is NOT the same in the states. Now, the best thing in Canada that I can't get in the states is the best hugs ever from MJB!
I miss you!