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Third-world shopping in the US

It wasn’t that long ago that Americans travelled to third world countries to shop for cheap handicrafts and other products. Now, the New York Times reports that a flood of Mexicans are crossing the border, but now north to the US to pick up cheap products.

Are we becoming the new third-world for rich foreigners? More than 70 percent of the visitors crossing from Mexico into Arizona report that shopping is the primary reason for their visit, despite long lines at the crossing.

The Mexican tourists spend almost $1 billion in Arizona alone, three times as much as Arizona residents spend during visits to Mexico. This has become so important to the Arizona economy that even hotels are getting into the holiday spirit, providing large trash bags to guests so they can discard the product packaging to avoid paying high duties on new products when they go back home to Mexico.