I'm on my way down to the USA to meet with one of the awesome suppliers that make the wicked products you love for derby. Five hours on a plane will give you lots of time to think. It's allowing me to reflect on this adventure I started in April, when I took over Neon Skates. What an amazing experience so far. Meeting people, getting to know the community, from Newfoundland to the Yukon! Coaching new teams and sharing all this knowledge that I've collected over the past six years as a player, coach, and gear head. Most recently, sharing in the excitement of all of the fresh meat that just can't imagine doing something more awesome than starting derby (you can't, it's the ultimate). In all honesty it's been amazing. But as I fly over Detroit, I'm reminded that the only thing that's really sucked is how our Canadian dollar has tanked.
Woah, that came a little out of nowhere, right?
Well, it's unfortunately something I've been putting a lot of thought into. I've never really paid that much attention to exchange rates except when we were on par in 2011 and 2012. I went on a bit of a shopping spree, who didn't. If you're like me and you got your first paycheck during or after the 90s, we have no concept of what it's like for our dollar to be this low. The last time it was down for any significant amount of time was in the 90s, you know before online purchasing was even a thing, but the Backstreet Boys reigned supreme.
So you've made it this far with me as I gab about dollas, high fives, read on. Why am I blabbing about all this? Well as you probably know, most derby gear is made by our neighbours to the South. They make great stuff, with tremendous pride and high quality, that's why you love it. Because we're so reliant on the US though, I've become acutely aware what the fluctuations mean to the store and to our customers. In the short time that I've been running the store, costs have gone up 10% just because of the currency exchange. I mentioned online purchasing before because in a world where everything is a click away, it can be WAAAAY too easy to overlook what purchases are really costing you. Today, the dollar is 1 USD to 1.34 CAD so a pair of $300 USD skates that comes from an online American store will now cost you $402 CAD when you get your credit card bill. Not only that, but you're likely going to pay in US dollars to ship those babies internationally and some credit cards charge an extra fee for converting currency. OUCH!
I want to be clear. I'm not being all "boohoo us, buy our stuff," but rather highlighting the realities of being an online Canadian consumer these days, something I've learned the hard way. Neon and many other Canadian retailers are trying really hard not to pass on the price fluctuations to you; derby gear is expensive enough already. So before you click "take all my money" whether on www.neonskates.ca or another online retailer, just take a moment to be sure you understand where the company is located, what currency you're being charged in and exactly what it's costing you, you smart Canuck consumer.