4 October 2007

Custom of the Country

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 2:28 pm

So our stuff finally arrived from France the other day. There isn’t much — we got rid of pretty much all our furniture a couple moves ago, leaving us mostly with books, china and crystal, keepsakes, clothes, and other small items. Still, it took up something like 80 boxes. When the moving men opened the wooden crate containing our boxes, we could see that it had been a rough trip. Most of the boxes were squashed and some of them had split at the seams as they were tossed between the teamsters and the dockworkers and the restless sea. But the most aggressive violators were the U.S. Customs people. They ripped open boxes, threw our stuff all over the place, broke some of it, either lost or stole some of it, then slapped their labels on the boxes proudly acknowledging their responsibility. Two boxes were missing altogether, one containing cookbooks, the other my daughter’s violin and my oboe. Hey, it’s a small price to pay for homeland security.



  1. I feel guilty now, I used the B word. :-| My apologies. To you not the customs people.


    Comment by Erica — 4 October 2007 @ 6:58 pm

  2. Yah, those customs people can be bastards. Did you have some sort of insurance? When my fiance sent me my birthday present he didn’t put any insurance on it and mysteriously the ear rings that were in it disappeared. I sat on the phone to the US postal service for quite a long time for them to tell me there was nothing they could do. Evil government workers.


    Comment by Erica — 4 October 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  3. No, no insurance. We were trying to keep the costs down.


    Comment by ktismatics — 4 October 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  4. I’m saddened for you. My memories of American officialdom are all of people that were sincere about doing their jobs and with a conscientiousness that was quite touching for anyone who came from a different culture to experience.

    I guess times, and people, have changed.


    Comment by samlcarr — 5 October 2007 @ 4:51 am

  5. I think U.S. Customs has become more forceful since 9/11 — though their professionalism sounds about comparable with Blackwater’s Iraqi security work. BlueVicar received a harsh greeting from airport security upon her arrival back in the States from a trip to Europe — read it here.

    Between the Army and the private security firms and the various homeland security agencies, antiterrorism has become a big public-sector employer in America.


    Comment by ktismatics — 5 October 2007 @ 5:45 am

  6. John did you read Niaomi Wolfs piece recently on homeland security?



    Comment by Ivan — 5 October 2007 @ 6:17 pm

  7. No I haven’t. Somebody else mentioned her book The Shock Doctrine — is there an article someplace?


    Comment by ktismatics — 5 October 2007 @ 6:54 pm

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