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Ogdensburg UPS Store swamped with Canadians

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OGDENSBURG — Scores of Canadians are looking to Ogdensburg as a way to avoid international shipping charges on goods from U.S. retailers.

Greg Wood, a resident of Ottawa, came to Ogdensburg on Wednesday to pick up a package at the UPS Store on Ford Street Extension. He was among roughly 60 other people, mostly from Canada, trying to save money on international shipping fees from online U.S. retailers.

The apparent tradeoff for cheap shipping was standing for hours in an extraordinarily long line.

Some people had even set up lawn chairs on the sidewalk.

“Most U.S. merchants charge exorbitant rates for shipping across the border,” said Steve Leblanc of Ottawa, who had a four-hour wait in line before even setting foot inside the small store.

“To ship it across the border was $50,” Mr. Leblanc said.

Mary Jean Badlam, a clerk at the store, said it’s been the same story for more than a month.

“There’s no way to delete the lines because there’s so much stuff in here, and it takes us longer to try and find it,” she said.

The store has rented a 40-foot-long storage bay just to keep up with deliveries.

“The only day we had a slow day was Monday because they had freezing rain in Canada,” Mrs. Badlam said.

“This is where people know to send their stuff,” Mr. Wood said. “That’s the double-sided sword of awareness.”

Dave Audette of Ottawa, who had been standing in line for hours, said it was faster to ship his package from California to Ogdensburg than it was to get inside the store to pick it up.

“It’s not even for Christmas,” said Mr. Audette. “I just ordered a coffee table.”

“If we had known, none of us would have been here,” Mr. Audette said. “We would have made alternate plans. It’s an hour drive, but a six-hour wait in line.”

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