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American-Canadian battle over Costco milk prices plays out on Facebook

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If a skirmish breaks out between the United States and Canada, we can possibly blame a Facebook page for sparking the battle.

Canadians are flocking to a Costco store in Bellingham, Wash. for its cheaper milk prices, prompting residents to complain that the big-box store is being overrun by our northern neighbors. One person has even created a Facebook page, “Bellingham Costco needs a special time for Americans,” to voice their annoyance.

The page, created by an anonymous, angry Costco shopper, started in July to establish a solution to the store’s overcrowding. The owner complains that Canadians are ruining their Costco. The store’s parking lot is packed, the milk sells quickly after the store opens, and the Canadian shoppers are called “rude.”

A video shown on Seattle’s KONG-TV captures the mayhem that occurs when a palette of milk is delivered to the store. It’s lapped up in seconds. The eager, milk-thirsty Canadians are given the name of “milk piranhas,” according to the report, and many Bellingham residents avoid the store altogether.

The xenophobically-titled page, which has garnered nearly 5,000 likes in a month, is being used a springboard to open a discussion on how to handle the stream of Canadians.

“Let’s make this known so that the city/county officials know that the people want change so we can better accommodate our Canadian neighbors and our own shopping situations,” the page’s description reads.

The page acted as a confessional for about a month until Wednesday, when the owner disabled public posts as Canadians and Americans alike were engaging in “hateful” comments. The owner also said they are shutting the page down, but as of Friday morning, it is still up.

“I am shutting it down primarily because of the ignorant press/canadian/american negative connotations it has received,” the page’s owner wrote. “It has done what it was intended for but some people took it way overboard.”

The owner acknowledged the page’s name is offensive but defended it, saying it was meant to grab people’s attention. However, it’s attention state officials aren’t pleased with.

The Facebook page was criticized by Bellingham’s head of Chamber of Commerce, Ken Oplinger, who said that separate hours for separate citizens would offend Canadians by labeling them as second-class shoppers.

“All those Canadians,” Oplinger told MarketWatch.com, “are paying taxes and helping our local government provide services.”

The page’s owners said they have turned down interviews from many American-based news organizations, but they teased that they might appear on a Bellingham radio station Friday morning.

Photo via KING/KONG-TV