Thursday, December 18, 2008

Honesty is the Bestish Policy

A few weeks ago a reader suggested that I use Ship Happens in Sumas to avoid international shipping charges and exorbitant brokerage fees on items purchased in the US. Yesterday I headed over the border (a 40 minute drive) to pick up a new blanket for Raven, several CordPro reels, and some other Christmas presents for a total value of $400 USD.

Of course Canadians are required to pay duty on anything we bring across the border unless we have been gone for long enough to earn an exemption (half an hour isn't long enough). I am convinced that most border guards can tell when people are lying, so I put the blanket on the front seat of the Miata and stashed everything else in the trunk.

Guard: How long have you been outside of Canada?
Me: 20 minutes (true)
Guard: What was the purpose of your trip?
Me: To pick up this horse blanket (true)
Guard: Value?
Me: About $125 (true)
Guard: Anything else?
Me: A bottle of fabric softener... (true)
Guard: I'll let you go.
Me: Aw thanks! You're awesome.
Guard: I know.

And that was that. Perfect timing too, as we got some serious snow last night and today. Raven is toasty warm and Tonka is wondering where *his* puffy blanket is. I keep telling him that he's wearing it, but he is obviously skeptical, especially considering that his 1200D sheet is totally covered in icicles.


Funder said...

You've got a Miata?! Always wanted one.

Anyway, well done. A half truth is almost as good as all the truth, right? And the border guard seemed to be in the Christmas spirit too. :)

Black Jack's Carol said...

Love the title to this post:) And the picture. As Funder said, well done. Are Tonka and Raven using the shelter much?

Anonymous said...

I tend to forget that you're on the other side of the border...

I used to work for a trucking company that runs the Alcan from Seattle to Anchorage. It was my job to take care of all the customs paperwork, dispatch the load and monitor it. Ugh! I dislike customs!

Glad you made it back without hassle.

dp said...

Funder: Yup! My mom bought it just when I started high school, so I learned to drive in it. She upgraded just after we bought Farcial Farm so she gave this one to us because we were going to need a second car living in the country. And it's the perfect second car -- cheap on gas, fun to drive and free! It will be 20 years old this year, but only has 160,000 km on it because my mother drove it like the little old lady she is. We have put more on it in two years than she did in sixteen...

BJC: Yes, they are using it with regularity. I cannot make heads nor tails of what inspires them to go in there -- it's nothing obviously like heavy rain or wind or snow. But they eat at least 6 flakes of hay out of it each day, so who am I to question?

OS: Yes, customs can be VERY frustrating. Especially third party brokers. I would much rather transfer my own stuff across, even if I have to pay for it.

Brandy said...

My friend and I were coming back from the UK, and she had made several MAJOR purchases at Harrod's. We get to the terminal, and she goes to Customs like a good girl. It took her HOURS to get through.... She was the only person there, and the agents had NO IDEA how to process a claim! But she wanted her VAT back, and the only way to do that is to make the Customs claim!

Good deal for you - and Raven! Yay!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I was able to help.

I hope I don't get something thrown at me for saying this, but my boyfriend is a border guard. So I'll just pretend that I didn't see that part of the post. ;)

dp said...

Thanks again, Canride. And no worries about your BF. I'm pretty sure that border guards are mostly interested in things like guns, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. In my case the government looses some tax money, but the overall impact on Canadian society is limited.