Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crossing the Border

Does crossing the border between countries make you nervous?

My family and I cross regularly between Canada and the United States so I'm familiar with the process but I still feel 'guilty'. I know I'm not guilty of anything - I don't smuggle anything, I don't try to cheat or hide goods or lie... but knowing I'm about to be questioned by the customs officer makes me very nervous.

I know the things to do and to not do. When approaching the booth I always take my sunglasses off, turn down the radio, ignore my cell phone if it rings, make eye contact, have my passport ready, plan how I will answer questions, know all the details of the time I was out of the country, such as the date I left and only answer the questions. I know not to volunteer information, make chitchat or joke. The officers have guns and usually NO sense of humour!

Last week Crystal and I crossed the border to go to the post office in Blaine. I was expecting a package of undies I'd ordered on eBay and Crystal had a package to mail. No problem at all going through US customs - the office did 'profile' us though by asking, "Going shopping?". What, just because we are female does that mean we have to be going shopping?

Crystal was driving on the way hone and as we approached the booth she asked me what the value of the goods was. $77.00 dollars for 6 pairs of undies. I was sure we'd have to go in the office to pay duty and was prepared to be grilled. I planned to pull the undies out of the tiny little wrapper to show off - they are very cute!

Crystal said, "Don't worry Mom, they won't make you pay anything!"

It was our lucky day, there wasn't just the one officer standing outside the booth awaiting us, but another sitting inside the booth. They were both quite attractive young men but very serious and intimidating.

The officer outside the booth asked how long we'd been away.

"15 minutes", Crystal said.

The officer asked, "What is the value of goods you are bringing into the Country?"

Crystal replied, "$77.00 dollars".

"What are the goods?", the officer asked.

"Panties", Crystal said.

The officer looked at the other officer, then back at us and said, "Okay".

We drove away, with Crystal smirking at me. "What????, I asked.

"Panties", she said. "The word panties flusters men, Mom".


Tricia's Musings said...

Heather those are nice panties. LOL I can picture the two of you talking to the customs officers.

As you know we live near the border too and although I don't cross the border often I always get a bit nervous going over. I guess it's just because they're so darn serious!

Charlie said...

"Men don't know how to handle the word panties, Mom".

maybe Crystal needs to hang around a different kind of man...

Mo said...

Ha - that's a great story!
You should have gotten a picture of the custom-dude's face when you said "panties"!

The BenSpark said...

I've met you both. I can picture this conversation. And now my mind has gone blank. It just went into Jackie Gleason "Hamana, hamana, hamana" mode. I think you broke my mind. And you put a photo of the panties. Are you trying to kill me.

Lisa said...

LOL! I'll have to remember that next time we go shopping...note to self: tell border guard we bought panties!
We go down to Birch Bay all the time and they NEVER pull us over!