“A criminal is a person with predatory instincts without sufficient capital to form a corporation.”
In a new departure for ‘The Imperceptible Immigrant’, today sees the first post by a guest writer – in this case none other than the Kickass Canada Girl herself! Her recent passage back to Canada did not go as smoothly as she might have hoped. Read on…
“Arrested for a roast beef sandwich…!”
Well – okay, not quite, but I did have to account to Canada Customs in Calgary – and they take their ‘beef’ seriously in Cowtown.
I had the misfortune of having the very LAST bag to come off the plane from London, and had as a result already missed my connecting flight to Victoria. Whilst waiting for the offending item to appear the Canada Customs food sniffer dog (yes – really!) – which was operating in the baggage hall – sniffed out, in my hand luggage, the one lone leftover sandwich that I had, in all honesty, forgotten about. My boarding pass and passport were confiscated and – once Customs had located my missing case – I joined a few ‘serious’ criminals and foreigners flaunting lots of loot from abroad in the ‘special area’. Unlike the guy from Africa I wasn’t put up against the wall and bodily searched, though my bags were (well – not put up against the wall, of course…). They were presumably looking for further contraband food and other items… because once you have f***ed with Canada Customs they take their job seriously!
I was asked for receipts for various items that I had purchased in the UK. Fortunately I had pocketed the one for the necklace that I had bought for my niece. The Customs dude was well impressed that I had accumulated the £120 worth of Tesco vouchers that I had used for this purchase – or maybe he was just incredulous at my 3 for 1 offer explanation.
He then went away for several minutes with my passport and when he returned commented suspiciously that I ‘travel quite a lot’. Believing that too much explaining usually indicates lying, I kept my justification short. I wanted to leave the ‘special area’ as soon as possible – and not in the direction of Guantanamo!
Customs man then commented that I had a lot of paper and stuff. My explanation that I always pack this way clearly impressed him further – or perhaps just left him incredulous again. Something in the tone of his voice…
He filled out an extensive document called an ‘abandonment’ form (basically a receipt for my beef sandwich – that’s what the form says – ‘beef sandwich’ – really!). I was bricking it as there is a $800 fine for not declaring MEAT on your customs form, and trying to sneak through a roast beef sandwich can, apparently, single-handedly cause a nationwide outbreak of mad cow disease… or so I was told – with a very serious face and tone. I was informed that I am now in their system in case they have any further trouble with me. I asked if this would ‘flag’ me for all time and was told ‘no’ – but if I do it again then they would have a real ‘beef’ with me! (Okay – sadly, I made that last bit up – Canada Customs have absolutely NO SENSE OF HUMOUR!).
When I was finally released I had to rebook with Air Canada and then sat alone in Departures eating a crap chicken burger (without the bun) waiting for my 19:40 flight and hoping to be home in Saanich by 21:00 BC time. It had been a long day… Sigh!
Oh – and they kept the tupperware container… Apparently it had been ‘infected’ with the foreign beef! This makes me wonder about all those other ‘law breakers’ out there who get away with it – because they didn’t forget to eat their food.
I didn’t get a receipt for the container either…