Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Rubber Glove Treatment

Not quite but almost!

When the ferry docked and we pulled up to the customs booth I noticed we had a female inspector. Sorry but..... they seem to take their job more seriously than the men. Just say'n.

She asked when we left Canada? November 9. What is the value of goods purchased? $1620, and we have a detailed list with receipts. How much alcohol? I know we are over the limit but they are all partial bottles, some almost empty and some fuller. There are four bottles of wine, nothing else is sealed. How many milliliters in total? I have no idea. How many bottles? Maybe ten, all partially empty. Pull over to the side there and wait for an inspection. Oh Oh!

They sent us over to the side of the parking lot and four inspectors went into the motorhome. Fifteen minutes later one of them came out and tried the car door. It was locked so he came for the key. He opened all the doors and the trunk. He then pulled a cart over and emptied the trunk onto it.

After 40 minutes two of them approached us. "Here's the deal" one of them said. "You told us you had ten partial bottles of liquor. Actually you have eighteen bottles and four of them have broken seals but are effectively full. On top of the four bottles of wine you declared, you have a five liter box of wine beside the bed". I told him the box of wine had sat in the sun for a week and was probably spoiled. Norma had told me to throw it out but I didn't because I wanted to test it first and had simply forgotten about it. Sorry, but I will dump it out now. This made him laugh. I knew we were OK.

"I had to ask myself" he said, "Are these two professional smugglers or are they just lazy? I decided you were just lazy. Too lazy to actually check how much booze you had. Real smugglers would not put it all in one place in plain sight, they would hide it under the mattress and in the laundry. You did not do that so we are going to let you off. Just remember next time. We don't really care about part bottles but a part bottle is maybe half full, not 99% full. For instance, that 1.5 liter bottle of vodka you have with the $15 price tag on it is worth over $55 in Canada. The difference is taxes and that is what we could charge you. Same goes for everything else. We are not going to worry about it this time but next time, be careful, you might not be so lucky".

Wow! I thought for sure that after tying them up for three man hours of searching we were going to get nailed. The one guy who dealt with us had a bit of a sense of humor, the other three had a more serious look. I told him it was a rotating liquor cabinet. When we ran low on something we replaced it and I guess it just built up on us. We shook hands all around and drove out, complete with the five liter box of wine, which I have yet to test.

We live a charmed life.

On the downside, the place was left a mess! They went through all the food, clothes, shower, outside bins, overhead, everything. All the pottery from Mexico was left unwrapped and everything they could not get back into the trunk, they piled on the front seat. Norma is not happy. I am just happy I am at LindaLee's and not in jail.

20 comments:

  1. I live in a border town with Mexico and in my experience women inspectors are the worst! If I can...I change lanes but sometimes one does not have a choice.

    Glad that the one male inspector had a sense of humor and that you did not have to pay additional fees or fines...and of course that you got to keep your wine :)

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    1. I always hate yo say it, but female inspectors are the worst. It is not sexist, it is just the way it is!

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  2. Glad you got thru customs and not in jail. We always find telling the truth to these guys does pay off.

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    1. I would hate to be in jail! I agree, truth is always better and we actually do think that box of wine is probably bad.

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  3. I'm glad that's over with for this year! Shouldn't be that way but is. They should be going after the big guys.

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    1. Tons of drugs, cash and guns cross the border every day and they worry about a couple of old age pensioners and a few liters of booze! Makes you wonder.

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  4. You did catch a break! Honesty is the best policy, for sure...but it is also easy to understand how once could forget an item or two (liquor too)when you've been on the road for five/six months.

    I hope that boxed wine is still good!

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    1. We consider it our second home. It is not like people who pack a suitcase in the trunk of their car and cross the border for a week or two. "Stuff" accumulates.

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  5. We had RV friends from Vancouver Island who had their RV searched at that same place for alcohol two years ago. The inspector actually measured the amount left in each of the opened bottles and added it all up and they had to pay a fine and are now marked for being checked each time they cross back into Canada.

    You lead more than a charmed life my friend.

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    1. "You lead more than a charmed life my friend."

      Says the woman who may have stretched the rules a little going into Mexico.....

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  6. Glad your home and not in jail seeing bailout money, Croft. I wonder if it's because you were returning from Mexico and not just the USA that you got the 3rd degree treatment? We were lucky as we were not searched at all and were on our way after only 1 minute. Then again, we weren't hiding liters of wine and bottles of liquor under our bed either!!!!!

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    1. We have been lucky like you so many times in the past that I guess I just became a little complacent. As soon as she wanted the number of ml I knew we were in for it. I mean, who really knows the answer to that question? It would have taken me a minute to even make a guess.

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  7. Welcome home, Norma and Croft !! Sorry about the border crossing, but it all worked out in the end.

    We had an easy peasy border crossing, and with a FEMALE border guard ... lol.

    She looked like she meant business, but had us on our way in only a few minutes.

    Enjoy your summer in the most beautiful location of all Canada ... Vancouver Island.

    Take care ... TnT

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  8. I bet that wine has turned into awesome vinegar! Try it mixed with a little olive oil over lettuce before throwing it out.

    Thanks for the reminder to update my inventory list. I would say I can list the contents of my rig to about 95% accuracy, but knowing CDN customs, it's that 5% I'm iffy on that they'll ask about!

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  9. I hate reading about these border situations (Don't stop reporting though). Being a libertarian you might imagine how it irks my sense of fair play. All you can do is grin and bear it or...you could grin and bare it as you pass by ;-)

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  10. Ditto on the women inspectors. They do not have a sense of humor!

    I'll be in the Maritime Provinces in about a month and will be there a couple of months. Any suggestions on internet accessibility would be appreciated? Maybe a "Rocket Stick" or mifi-type device that can be purchased without a contract (prepaid or month-to-month would be good).

    Glad you made it back OK.

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  11. Hey there, Dave's mom here. You folks were lucky. Let's hope they didn't flag you for your trip next year. We met folks at Soap Lake who had the same situation as you. But they weren't so lucky. I think they got a big fine and a flag. Now every time they go through they are pulled over and searched. We saw that happen the same day we went through into Canada. We were in one line and they were in another. They pulled up and weren't there very long before he was turning right into the parking lot and walking back over to go inside the building. We have decided not to bring much alcohol back. I don't drink anyhow and hubby is mostly a beer drinker. Touch wood we've been lucky so far with our drives through customs. But maybe it's because we're so likeable, lol. We got home April 6th.

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. I guess we will have to keep the quantity down next year to test them. But really, there are bigger fish than us out there.

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