Company lets U.S. travelers 'Go Canadian'
Tuesday, December 7, 2004 Posted: 6:09 AM EST (1109 GMT)
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) -- An American T-shirt company has a solution for their fellow citizens who want to vacation in Europe without having to answer questions about U.S. politics -- pose as Canadians.
For $24.95, T-shirtKing.com offers the "Go Canadian" package, full of just the kind of things an American traveler needs to leave their country and its politics behind.
There's a Canadian flag T-shirt, a Canadian flag lapel pin and a Canadian patch for luggage or a backpack. There's also a quick reference guide -- "How to Speak Canadian, Eh?" -- on answering questions about Canada.
It's the brainchild of employees at the Mountainair, New Mexico-based company known for novelty T-shirts it sells worldwide on the Internet.
"It's not meant as a slight against the United States or Canada," explained T-shirtKing.com President Bill Broadbent. "It was meant as something Republicans could give their Democrat friends to say 'C'est la vie.' ... But maybe not c'est la vie because that's a French word."
The "Go Canadian" idea sprouted after one of Broadbent's colleagues heard of someone being harassed about U.S. politics during a recent overseas trip.
Some people might not mind, but others "just want to be on vacation," Broadbent said. "So we were joking that they could just go as Canadians, and that just kind of evolved."
The package went up on T-shirtKing.com's Web site November 12 and the company had sold a couple hundred in the first two weeks or so. Many of the out-of-state buyers were in Michigan, Illinois, and the Seattle area, Broadbent said.
When lifelong Democrat Dani Delaney saw the package, she was immediately sold. After the general election, she said, "if I could move to Canada, I would."
"I admire their liberal, progressive stand on things," said the 57-year-old, part-time writing instructor at the University of New Mexico. "And I thought, 'Well, that's a good way to peacefully protest.'"
Sylvia Dawson's boyfriend has been joking that she needed to find him a Canadian flag for an upcoming trip to Spain. That's after his daughter, who is studying there, warned that he might be questioned about politics when he comes to visit.
So she bought a package.
"I said, 'What are you going to do if someone asks you about the prime minister of Canada?' And he said, 'I'll study up,"' Dawson said.
Such questions are the reason for the package's quick reference guide, which offers tips in case an American in disguise gets quizzed on Canada.
When it comes to sports, the guide suggests: "This is easy to remember. There is only one real sport in Canada and it is called hockey. Regardless of any trivia question, the answer is 'Wayne Gretzky."'
If a Canadian says he had to "deke out of a meeting," it means he avoided the meeting. If someone is headed to "Hogtown," that's Canadian for Toronto. A trip to "Cowtown" means the person is going to Calgary.
And in all cases, the guide advises: "If your vacation is to be stress free, leave those heavy politics behind and travel with a light heart and quick wit, Canadian style."