Seriously Customs?

I call shenanigans on this one. Utterly.

A package arrived today via UPS from an overseas friend that was scheduled to arrive on Monday, except not. The reason for the delay was because the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in Louisville, Kentucky decided the box was suspicious. What precisely was so jarring about a medium sized box with The Protein Works on the side of it?

The Scary Box

They opened it and discovered, you ready for this? POT NOODLES.

OOOOOOOOH NOOOOOOOOO! Not Pot Noodles! For those who haven’t tried them in the U.S., they’re basically like Ramen Noodles in a plastic pot that you can snack on. They’re great and quite a treat for someone who grew up on Ramen Noodles and consumed them throughout college fairly regularly. Then again who hasn’t, right? The taste is a little different from Maruchan noodles, which is why I’m sorely disappointed Customs decided to shoink them from me.

But wait, there’s more!

That’s not all the customs department decided to pilfer from my beloved 7 kg package. For those who weren’t raised on the metric system, it’s about 15.4 lbs. Plenty of nomable things were missing. How do I know? Because I asked the sender!

Alex confirmed which items were taken and asked for a scan of the “Emergency Action Notification” letter they sent along with the box they miraculously didn’t destroy.

Removed from the box for “cattle: extract”, “bird/poultry/avian: extract”, and “swine: extract” were two vegetarian suitable Pot Noodles, an entire multi-pack (6 packages) of Hula Hoops which are also vegetarian suitable crisps (think potato chips), and a container of popcorn. I shouldn’t have to say those were probably vegetarian suitable either, should I? You get the drift.

Not only were these items removed from the package, but I was charged a brokerage fee for them having to open it, sift through suspicious looking noodle contents, bars of chocolate (oh, how scary), Hobnobs, biscuits, and other goodies so they could lay claim to prohibited items being inside the box. The items were removed and promptly destroyed (or were they, you fiends?) before being unceremoniously repackaged and released for transit once again. The package went through customs TWICE prior to finally arriving at my door with a shivering UPS guy who obviously didn’t want to tell me I’d have to pay $21.25 if I wanted my package. He went on to tell me he didn’t know why they were hitting me with a brokerage fee as he’s never run into that before and that he could only accept a money order or personal check. No cash.

Do you have any idea how ridiculous that is for someone in 2014 with on-line banking only? Of course I don’t have checks! Are you mad? I wasn’t given any notification I’d incur a fee for something sent to me from overseas as a gift! It’s not as if I ordered a box of delightful goodies to be sent to me, though maybe I should have. Maybe I will, just to give Customs another review should they again take my vegetarian friendly items!

The guy was sorely put out that I was cross about the whole thing and rightly so. It’s not really his fault, and I did offer an apology, but that was quite crazy to have a knock at the door from the delivery guy. Open it, then realize if I didn’t want my package commandeered again by UPS, I’d better find a way to pay him, and fast. I worked out a deal with someone else in the house and managed to confer upon him what he wanted, a gloriously antiquated form of monetary payment, and had my package.


Did I mention this entire thing was absolutely ridiculous?

Within the box was a package of Shepherd’s Pie mix. I kid you not they left that there and removed everything else listed above for “cattle: extract”, “bird/poultry/avian: extract”, and “swine: extract”.

Despite it all, I’m pretty thankful the package arrived at all. My friend sent some of the yummiest looking things. A few are my favorites, like the PomBears, with plenty of new things to try out, like the tea, Hobnobs, and Hazelnut KRAVE cereal. Seriously, customs, give a girl a break? Alex was totally awesome about all this, working with me to determine what was taken, reimbursing me for the charge when I explicitly said she didn’t have to, and being a great friend by not saying “I’M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN”. Honestly wouldn’t blame her, but I’m glad she’s not going to quit sharing her nomable cultural foods. I’d probably die if I could never get Dolly Mixtures again from her.

And in case it wasn’t evident in the lavishing dialog above, THANK YOU ALEX FOR THE BOX! x


2 comments for “Seriously Customs?

  1. Susan Lee
    January 30, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Wow. I would have been livid if someone opened a package I sent or received. I don’t even get the problem with the reasons they took those items (despite the whole vegetarian thing). What’s the big deal with things that contain animal extracts? But at least you got it, I suppose…

  2. Elle
    January 29, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I’m sad. I wish your box hasn’t been so horribly vandalized.

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