Customs Adventure, Part 2

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Well after getting up at 8 am and out the door with out breakfast or coffee, my friend Pablo and I, made our way to customs. It was a short subway trip to the bus terminal, and an extremely long trip on the bus. Once we reached the end of the line, we were fortunate enough to have a nice bus driver who told us the way to customs. It is on an industrial outstretch of the airport, adjacent to a big highway we had to cross with out street light. Always exciting!

Once there we had a short walk around the urine smelling building to the hidden entrance along the side. Luckily because we left early there wasn't any lines and the employees were still in a good mood. Having my friend Pablo translate for me, we explained the package was a gift from my mother. It was sent to me for my birthday and all the contents were for personal use. We were promptly informed that "There are no gifts as far as customs is involved." Apparently a company motto as they all repeated it often.

Fortuity the nice woman who had taken our claim was quite helpful. She asked permission to look in the box then stepped out of the room a few short moments. When she returned she informed us that the fee was waved and we could pick the box up for the 4 euro surcharge and be on our way. She also explained to us the reason it was stopped is because it contained food items.

If you plan to ship food to a person in another country, be prepared for some hassle. The crack down on meat, fresh produce, and chemical contents is at a high. Even items containing animal products will be stopped. The care pack from my mother had only a few sweet treats and none of them contained chemicals on the no ship list.

We were then free to walk way and make the whole lovely trip in reverse. This time with a large and heavy box to add some entertainment. In all our trip came from 8:45 am when we left the house, until almost 1pm in the afternoon when we returned home. All to speak for under five minutes with a customs agent and pay a 4 euro surcharge.

We where happy that the 100 to 6,000 euro charge wasn't applied to us. (On the notice we received from customs it said we would be charge between those amounts, even if for personal use.) I still don't understand, if nothing was wrong with the box and no one did anything illegal, why we had to pay anything at all. I'm not going to dwell on that though, it worked out and thats all that matters.

If your ever wondering why customs is so bad, I have found the truth. Across from the postal and customs building was this.

Yes, it all makes sense now!