Customs Tricks (was: Re: Whoohoo! Fortune Telling...

From: John B <>
Date: Sat Nov 13 17:44:39 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Roger Merchberger <>
To: Discussion re-collecting of classic computers
Date: Saturday, November 13, 1999 6:25 PM
Subject: Customs Tricks (was: Re: Whoohoo! Fortune Telling...

>Rumor has it that John B may have mentioned these words:
>>I was at the border once with a load of minis (early 80s).. when these
>>things were still considered worth money... Worse off I got lost and had
>>hives everywhere and was throwing up (from one of *your* donut shops).. I
>>had a receipt for $25.. he guy did not believe I paid that for them. He
>>wanted me to unload the truck and he was going to *value* the equipment.
>Which *your* do you mean? On which side of the creek do you reside? ;-)

I reside in Canada....

>Also, it's a good idea to know when your local border crossing has slow
>times -- stop in and ask a few questions about duty & tax laws *when the
>border guards are not busy*. I can't stress that enough, because if they're
>booked full and you start asking what can be perceived (to them) as really
>stupid questions, they *will* remember you and give you a hard time.
>[[Hint: Despite the fact that both in the US and Canada you are considered
>innocent until proven guilty, that does *not* count with Customs. You are
>guilty until proven innocent. Period.]] It pays to get on the good side of
>Customs officers, and if you ask questions when they're not busy, they're
>usually happy to help and maybe even stand around and shoot the bull for a

You got it! Yes sir, no sir, can I wipe your....

>Do this a few times, and if you do stop by with a trailer full of mini's,
>when you say that these are for you hobby the Customs agents will first
>think "yea, that's the looney guy that collects old computers for fun." and
>you have a lot more of a chance they'll believe this actually is a *hobby*.

In Canada they move the agents A LOT! They make sure you won't get someone
you know everytime... plus a lot of summer students.

>Another tip, if you have small items: If possible, always have *something*
>to declare. I used this trick all the time: I'd go to the RatShack in
>Canada (prices were better for computer stuff in Canada back in '86-'87)
>and purchase a piece of Tandy software and whatever else CoCo stuff I
>wanted. Keep in mind that all Tandy software was manufactured in the USA,
>but most CoCo hardware was manufactured in Korea or Japan. Back then (not
>sure about now with NAFTA) anything made in the US could come "back" to the
>US duty free, but anything from Korea/Japan you had to pay duty. I'd
>(usually) hide the items of Asian manufacture, and when I got to the border
>and they'd ask me if I had anything to declare, I'd say "Sure!!" I'd show
>them the software, and then point to the line and say "See this line here?
>It says 'Custom Made in the USA for Tandy Corporation.'" They'd look, say
>"O.K." and wave me thru.

I see you have been there too....

>[[ Of course, YMMV and I will *not* be held responsible if this trick
>doesn't work for you. ;-) ]]
>>(went to another border bridge)
>That's fine & dandy if you live in a city of a few million... Me? I have
>one bridge to/from Canada in, oh, at least 250 miles either direction. If
>you're in a small border town, get to know your border guards. :-)

OOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I go through 4 possible entry points in Niagara Falls. You
never see the same guard twice.....

I only ever got lucky once and got a girl I use to go to school with... wish
I had a Picasso in the car that day :-(

>Take care,
>Roger "Merch" Merchberger
>Roger "Merch" Merchberger --- sysadmin, Iceberg Computers
>Recycling is good, right??? Ok, so I'll recycle an old .sig.
>If at first you don't succeed, nuclear warhead
>disarmament should *not* be your first career choice.
Received on Sat Nov 13 1999 - 17:44:39 GMT

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