OK...I confess

Jun 25th, 2003, 10:53 AM
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Did they frisk her for the bird?

PCircles is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 10:59 AM
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I dont remember how it ended although he said the fine was high because she was trying to smuggled an endangered species...I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall watching that one!
Katherine is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 11:15 AM
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I altered the birth date on my passport to get student rates. Nobody caught it. Beat that!
wemr is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 12:23 PM
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Bet now you'd want to alter your birthdate so you'd get senior rates!
Jun 25th, 2003, 12:40 PM
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Antiques are not charged duty--
I have delcared all antiques I have ever carried thru and been told this by all the customs agents....

But I am one of those people that declares everything...and it really pays off..When Hubs got me this expensive bracelet in Florence, I wrote the correct price down..The customs agent took a look at it and said what else did you get? I showed him everything and he said he was only going to charge me duty on the cheap stuff!! He saved me a ton in duty--SO YES, it does PAY to be honest!!

andy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 01:16 PM
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Does anyone know the purpose behind the customs laws? Are they just a result of bureaucracy, or do they serve a legitimate purpose that we should respect? I thought the importation of plants and/or produce had caused serious problems in parts of the States, but maybe that is only if you import a ton of material.
Bitter is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 01:30 PM
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There is a serious problem with insect stowaways on contraband plant products (fruit, seeds, and occasionally wood if it is from the tropics.) Local crops could be seriously damaged by a non-indigenous insect being introduced. This in turn could result in the livelihood of a great many people being jeopardized, even to the point of the economy of one's country being seriously damaged. And possibly your own paycheque along with it.

Duty on other goods is more controversial, since some people are in favour of totally open trade policies. However, if you are employed in the clothing industry, say, your industry has doubtless put pressure on government to impose a duty on imported clothing items beyond a certain value.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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Postscript - it doesn't take a ton of material to cause a problem. One breeding pair of insects is all it takes. If you wish to experiment, you can always plant a breeding pair of termites or carpenter ants in the foundation of your house.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 01:39 PM
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When I was 15,16 and 17 years old I brought back liquor into the US. I guess because I was part of a school group the customs officials didn't bother checking any of our luggage. I was well within the alcohol allowance but since the drinking age is 21, it could have been confiscated. Unfortunately the highlight of a school trip to Europe for most teens is the ability to purchase and consume alcohol .
Guest_User is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 01:54 PM
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Sue xx: Thanks for the info. I kind of thought that there may be some good (objective?) reasons not to evade the customs people, at least regarding plants.
Bitter is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 02:36 PM
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My Mother was the culprit on our trip to England a few years ago.
After having to buy a whole new bag to pack all the t-shirts and souveniers she bought for the other kids/grandkids, she had the gall to fill out her customs form to be less than mine. Mind you - she was probably $200+ over the $400 limit. Didn't bother her a bit - I was a wreck about it though.

We got to Minneapolis, after a very long 8 hr flight and were totally confused - one line said "Nothing to declare" the other said " Over $400 to declare" -- we had Under $400, which line is that? So I wandered up to a Customs agent, and asked just that question. He took pity on me - seeing all our bags, and Mom a bit haggard from the flight - took our customs forms, glanced at our mountain of bags, signed off on them, and waived us on.

You should have seen me trying to scoot Mom out the door, before he changed his mind

Debbie is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Married Fodorites will appreciate this

Coming back from ??? with husband who is a UK, not US, citizen. We got 4 bottles of alcohol, because I know I am allowed two, so I figured hubby was allowed two, as well. Turns out he is allowed only 1.

The Customs agent was ready to take away one of hubby's bottles. I stopped the agent by saying, "The poor guy's married to me - he needs all the liquor he can his hands on!"

The (married) agent let us through with a knowing laugh!
PCircles is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 10:21 AM
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Sue_xx_yy, you are so right about the insect thing. Hundred of millions of Elm trees have died as a result of the Dutch Beetle which was introduced in America in the early 70's. I personally have lost about 35 Elm trees, and my town has lost thousands of blvd. Elms.
jor is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 10:55 AM
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This isn't exactly a confession of misdeeds - but it is a US Customs story...

Years ago my boyfriend and I were returning from four months traveling in the South Pacific. We had tons of stuff with us (fishing gear, inflatable kayaks, backpacking and camping equipment, etc.) My boyfriend had a beard and semi-long hair and when we got to customs in Honolulu they evidently took one look at our mountain of stuff and our, uh, casual appearance (hey, four months of backpacking is not a beauty/fashion course), and immediately routed us to the "hippie, Communist, drug-dealer" line and went EXHAUSTIVELY through every single item we had. With a microscope. It took ages. And ages. (I think some of the agents reached retirement age and were replaced with new-hires while they were searching our stuff.) They were pretty rude and impatient with everything we said, interrogating us over and over about exactly where we'd been and what we'd been doing for four months, and it made me really nervous, which probably just convinced them even more that we were up to no good.

Finally they snottily asked my boyfriend if he ever had a job, and when he said why yes, he was a professor at the University of Oregon and showed his faculty ID, they suddenly did a major 180. It was pretty funny how we went from probable anarchist drug-dealers to respectable middle-class citizens in about 3 seconds. They gave us nothing but polite treatment from then on and we were out of there five minutes later.

Perception IS reality.
S_F_E is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 11:07 AM
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My dad was a custom house broker, and he used to tell me horror stories about guys who would try to hide things when they came back to the U.S. The fines for some of these misdeeds climbed into the thousands (whereas the duty would have been miniscule). I have not always walked the straight and narrow about everything in life, but when it comes to lying or trying to deceive customs, I have drawn the line.
maitaitom is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 12:35 PM
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i'll openly admit to smuggling as many cuban cigars as i feel i can smoke in between trips to europe or the carribean.

i think the US embargo and visitation policy about cuba has become more absurd by the decade.

are (or were, other than 1963) these people any real threat?

i will continue to "import" cuban cigars (for my personal use) as long as this ridiculous policy stays in effect.
subcon is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 01:33 PM
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I was feeling all virtuous about never having pulled a fast one in customs until this last post. Cigars!! Best friend asked for Cuban cigars and even gave directions about how you're supposed to ask for a non-Cuban box to put them in, etc. etc. He wanted a humidor's worth, but we bargained him down to just a few, and best friend is still best friend, and I didn't have too much Catholic guilt on my conscience.
Jun 26th, 2003, 02:47 PM
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After 1963 the Cuban government under Castro attempted to export communism --via terror and revolution, not a competition of ideas-- to South America, Central America, West Africa, and the Caribbean, furnishing arms and men in every one of those areas.

In 1983 US troops faced in combat Cuban troops who supported a Marxist coup in Granada. If memory serves, Castro reprimanded the returned Cuban commander for not fighting to the last man.

At present, Cuba imprisons hundreds of individuals whose only offence is to discuss ideas which differ from the Cuban government's.
The most recent round of these imprisonments took place not a month ago.

Whether or not the US government forbids the import of Cuban cigars, and whether or not Cuba is a direct threat to the US, smoking a Cuban cigar is one pleasure I can certainly forgo in order to avoid supporting a government like Cuba's and a man like Castro.
kvick is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Thanks, Sue xx yy, for reminding people that plants and animals can wreak havoc on economies and individual lives. The last foot & mouth outbreak in Canada was traced to a sausage brought in by an overseas traveler. And people in England lost their family farms, livelihood - and even some lives - at the last outbreak there, also traced to an imported meat item. I work with PPQ and can confirm that we really can trace the item to the flight, the neighborhood and finally to the individual (done all the time with fruit flies). Now that agricultural inspection is part of Homeland Security, the easy-going attitude of ag inspectors may be over. But on the subject of Castro, Cuba, and cigars, let's remind ourselves how useful the Eastern European embargo was to the downfall of communism there. So the same thing will happen in Cuba soon. Oh, wait, there wasn't an embargo in Eastern Europe - never mind.
Shanna is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 04:13 PM
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On a train trip from amsterdam - where i loaded my aviators bag with more porn than you can shake a stick at...(17 yrs old) .the customs officials from germany and holland converged on my compartment.and found my not-so-secret stash!...one of the dutch guards in a pathetic attempt at humor, pulled out the magazines and started waving them at his colleague.."is this allowed...these magasines and things here in Germany?" He had voice resembling a fog horn - enough at least, for the pretty girls in the other compartments to hear. Well, he did have such fun! nice gentleman - such a pity they have long gone now! - git!
kitoha1 is offline  

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