i heart canadian tire

We have passed another milestone in our Canadian journey: our first trip to Canadian Tire.

Non-Canadian readers, Canadian Tire is kind of a cross between Home Depot (without the lumber) and K-Mart (without the clothes) - an all-purpose hardware and houseware store. They are everywhere (at least in Mississauga), and when you buy something anywhere else, someone will undoubtedly tell you that you can get it for less at Canadian Tire.

In truth, their prices weren't so fabulous, but they were fair, and they had a lot of what we needed.

Living in a house, we need so many things that we didn't have to deal with as apartment-dwellers. A lawnmower and a rake, for starters. Fortunately we both grew up doing yard work, so although we're rusty, we're not complete novices.

Today I will rake leaves for the first time in, let's see... 30 years? Yikes!

* * * *

A helpful commenter just reminded me that I forgot to mention Canadian Tire's most famous quirk!

Every time you shop there, you receive 1% (?) of your purchase in Canadian Tire Money. It's like a bonus points system, but they actually give you paper "money", good for future purchases at their stores. If James and Lori hadn't mentioned this the other day, I would have been quite amazed at checkout! So far I have $3.35. Whoo-hoo.

See comments below: don't let this happen to you.


Amateur said...

You forgot to mention the best part: you can now start your collection of Canadian Tire Money.

(It is important that you train yourselves to recognize Canadian Tire money, in case this happens to you.)

Also one warning: I believe that Canadian Tire is almost universally recognized as a BAD place to take your car for service.

laura k said...

You're right, I forgot to mention that! I'm going to add it in right now.

Thanks for the warning re car service, too. We have an extended warranty on our new car, so we'll only be getting service at the dealer, but it's an excellent thing to know for the future.

Hey Amateur, I've seen your comments a few times. Are you a regular wmtc reader? Where did you find me? (Just curious.)

James Redekop said...

Way way back when Pope JPII visited Canada, the Royal Canadian Air Farce (then in its original habitate, CBC Radio) had a little gag where the Pope closes his visit with a speech: "I would like to thank Canadians for their generosity during the collection. But I have one question: what in the world is 'Canadian Tire Money'??"

Amateur said...

L-girl, I have been reading for a few months. I don't remember how I stumbled across this but I do lurk around a few "progressive" blogs so maybe that's it.

An amusing aside: if you return something to Canadian Tire, they may ask you to give them some Canadian Tire money back!

Also, there are actually charities that collect Canadian Tire money, for real.

Anonymous said...

Wait until the first time you are stuck behind a dear old lady who has decided to cash in around $300 worth of 10cent bills!!

We just ran a news story this morning about one of our local Canadian Tire giving away tons of stuff to some volunteers going down to help Katrina refugees.


I've had nothing but good service in 5 years I've been taking my cars to Canadian Tire.

Anonymous said...

The best part is that some bars around my place take "crappy tire" money on par!

Nothing more classy then buying drinks with a bunch of fake money!

BTW, a lot of Canadian's call Canadian Tire Crappy Tire. I believe there was even a website... that Canadian tire now owns!

laura k said...

The best part is that some bars around my place take "crappy tire" money on par!

This is too funny! Now all you need is Tim Horton's to take it and you're all set.

zydeco fish said...

Ah, fond memories of a summer job during my undergrad. I worked in the sports/seasonal dept and knew a lot about pool chemicals, fertilizer and baseball gloves. Sadly, that knowledge is all gone. My sister has worked for Canadaian Tire for about 25 years!

Mitch said...

A story for you about Canadian Tire Money...

A friend of mine went to Memphis to visit a friend of his who was working there. While on a boat cruise my buddy and his friend were out to pick up women (some things never change no matter what country :))

One of the women who had approached my friend asked if it was true that Canada had coloured money to which my friend replied yes. She wanted to see it.

My friend happily opened up his wallet and started showing her the 50, 20, 10 and 5 dollar bills. Then, what was left was Canadian Tire money... my friend is really quick... he started showing her the 10 cent bill, the 25 cent bill etc. Suffice to say, he tells it far better than I.

Canadian Tire money is unique, but always amusing in any other country... my recent travels in Australia included.

laura k said...

he started showing her the 10 cent bill, the 25 cent bill etc.

LOL - love it. Thanks Mitch.

PolarBear said...

I've had nothing but good service in 5 years I've been taking my cars to Canadian Tire.

I hate to say it but - you can't know much about cars or you have an unusually good relationship with your local Canadian Tire.

My BROTHER works for Canadian Tire as a manager in the Automotive department and I would not take my car there for service even though I would receive a discount as a family member.

A brief history of incidents I have first hand knowledge of: Trying to get a valve stem replaced under warranty led to a HARD SELL attempting to force my mother to buy new tires instead - she spent more time arguing with the service writer than it took for the mechanic to change the stem. A friend took his car (running fine) in for an oil change and after leaving found that CT had BROKEN - not removed, BROKEN plug wires in his engine in order to try and get him to pay for engine service. Everyone who has ever gone to have a "safety inspection" is told their headlights are misaligned - a 20-30 dollar job to fix - even if your headlights were already professionally aligned before going. Later when they turn on their lights - they are misaligned. I wonder how that happened?

Those are just a couple of the very simple things that came to mind. I know of much more serious stuff to but it is more complicated to explain and woudl take more space than the amount I have already used too much of. Often the "real" mechanics illegally let apprentices do work on vehicles unsupervised and unchecked. Also, be aware of this fact: the service writers WORK ON COMMISSION. The more work they sign you up for, the bigger your bill, the more bonus money they get - and it isn't Canadian Tire money either. It isn't an honest "Your car needs this for safety reasons and we are concerned"... it is usually "How can I gouge this customer for more money so I can afford a new SeaDoo".

laura k said...

I hate to say it but - you can't know much about cars or you have an unusually good relationship with your local Canadian Tire.

Hey Polar Bear, nice that you can type in ALL CAPS and that your BROTHER works for Canadian Tire, but that's the guy's experience, whether you hate to say it or not. Be nice, eh?

Anonymous said...

I never take my car to crappy tire for service just because I know there mechanics are the lowest paid in the city... I think you generally get what you pay for.

Although I have bought tires there... and they seem to be still firmly attached to my car :)


laura k said...

That's very useful when it comes to tires. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Polarbear:

I have had some horrendous, gouging asshole service at the dealer I bought my car from... I can tell you that the "Crappy Tire" I started going to have certainly been the most fair...I'm talking about doing things without even charging me. My last 5 or 6 six oil changes at $25 have included all round inspections and I have been told there is nothing to worry about. There are assholes and decent mechanincs everywhere you go chum.
Your local mechanic might be great, mine was a prick. Your brothers "Crappy Tire" might be full of wankers, mine isn't.

Take Care