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

From: Roger Merchberger <>
Date: Sat Nov 13 19:49:38 1999

Rumor has it that John B may have mentioned these words:

>>Which *your* do you mean? On which side of the creek do you reside? ;-)
>I reside in Canada....

O.K. I'm on the US side in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. One thing I can tell
you that here we only have 2 donut shops, and they're pretty decent - in a
city of 14,000 it doesn't pay to kill off the locals... ;-) (Sault, Ontario
has over 80,000 people, I believe, so they have more donut shops to choose
from.) If ever we all meet in Niagara Falls, New York, avoid the donut shops!

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

:-) Ain't that the truth! :-)

>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.

Wow... must be that small-town stuff again. Most all agents even on the
Canadian side here are over 30, so either they're *really* old students or
they don't have access to many students up here. On the US side here,
someone has to die if you want a job at Customs, so I'm somewhat chummy
with most of the officers here. [[And that's the "important" side for me...
Canada's usually quite easy: "Citizenship?" US. (sometimes with a thumb
pointed south... ;-) "Why're ya coming to Canada?" Shop. "How long you
gonna be here?" Couplhours. "Bringing anything?" Nah. "Go ahead."]]

Oh, and don't think the fact your car/truck is nice and shiny and clean and
tuned will that keep you from getting stopped. Luck has everything to do
with it, and if the officer you pull up to got lucky the night before, it's
a breeze. If not... :-(

I went to Canada once, wearing greasy sweats, hadn't shaved for a week and
wore a baseball cap that said "Candy is dandy but sex won't rot your teeth"
;-), truck barely ran, needed brakes & squealed badly whenever you appled
them, muddy as hell, was an *absolute* mess (including 2 US military
uniforms crumpled on the passanger side), the bed of the truck was full of
trash, most of which was vegetative (which is a *big* no-no when crossing
the border) and the guard asked my citizenship, looked at me funny and
waved me thru.

The next week: fixed, tuned & washed the truck, cleaned, vacuumed and
dusted the interior, cleaned out the bed fully, was dressed in a white
shirt and tie, fresh haircut... and Bam! The only time I've been pulled
over at Canadian Customs. The truck got tagged, they pulled me into the
shack, and I got grilled for 20 minutes about everything from what I had
for breakfast to the color of my underwear. And... interrogations from
border guards are akin to the CIA... They don't *ask* questions.

"Yes, Mr. .... Merfriglburger"
  "That's Mer\sssh\berger"
"Yea, whatever. You work at Can-Am?"
"And you make $3.75 per hour?"
  "Yes." (getting a bit upset at that...)
"You crossed into Canada 6 1/2 days ago?"
  "Yes." (thinking... Damn, I'd love to see their network system!)
         (This was 13-14 years ago, after all...)
"And you *say* you're coming here for the same reason this week?"
  "Yes, the Radio Shack still has a sale on, and I got paid today."
"Yea, whatever. How much money do you have on your person?"
         (I *damn* near said "You know everything else about me...
          you don't know that, too?" Gratefully, I held my forked tongue ;-)
  "Hummmm... $65-odd cash Canadian, and I guess around $45-$50 US."
         (and yes, you can be refused entry into *either* country
          based on vagrancy - If you don't have enough cash to sustain
          you during your stay in said foriegn land, you'll be sent packing.)
"Thank you. Please replace all of your personal items and be on your way."

I stepped outside and everything but the steering wheel & seat were removed
from my truck... including the contents of the glove compartment & other
places of "personal" storage.

[[Editor's note - I'm not just picking on Canadian Customs - Years ago
(when I was an infant, so that's ~30 years ago) my parents were coming back
into the US when US customs stopped them, tore the car apart *including the
seats*. When they were all done, they said "You can go. You have 15 minutes
to be out of the building." *thankfully* my dad is one hell of a mechanic
and had a full toolset with him and could reinstall the seats in a few
minutes - despite the fact the tools were spread in a 10 foot radius around
the car. No joke.]]

Customs can be your friend, or they can be the most sadistic bastards
you've ever known. Be nice to them even if they're assholes - or you'll
regret it if you do any border crossing at all.

>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 :-(

You can *afford* a Picasso? You must have one hell of a computer collection!!!

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 - 19:49:38 GMT

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