Saturday, July 30, 2005

Canadians are just as bad at Math as Americans

Setting -- July 8, 2005, 11:27am, Customs, Pearson International Airport, Toronto

Aaron walks hurriedly away, suitcase on rollers in tow, from the standard customs booth. When he goes to hand his customs form to the man at the exit of customs, the agent signals that he must go to the customs special section. Aaron walks the short distance, with a slightly annoyed, slightly confused look on his face, until he reaches the line. He waits briefly before a customs agent signals that she is ready. He walks over to her station and hands her his customs form.

Customs Agent (looking at customs sheet): My, that's a lot of beer you have.
Aaron: Yes, I'm bringing it for a party.
CA: How many people are going to be there?
A: 50 to 60.
CA: Is everyone bringing this much beer?
A: Something like this much. Do you need to search my bag?
CA: That won't be necessary.
A: Ok, I'm kind of in a hurry to catch my next flight.
CA: When is it?
A: It's the flight to Montreal that leaves at noon.
CA (glances at the screen behind her): You won't make it, but don't worry, they fly every hour.
A (represses fume)
CA (keeps punching things into her computer, slowly)
CA: How much did you pay for the beer?
A: I don't know, I got it at different times. And they're different sizes.
CA: Can you estimate?
A: Figure there are 13 bottles, 5 are 750 milliliters, the rest at 12 ounces each. Let's see (does estimates in his head), about $50-60 US dollars.
CA: I'll just say it's $50.
A: Is there a problem with the beer I brought in?
CA: No, you just owe duty for it.
A: But I'm allowed to bring in 24 12-ounce bottles, or their equivalent.
CA: Yes, but you're bringing in more than a two-four.
A: No I'm not. I'm only bringing in 5-and-a-half litres, the limit is 8.5 litres. Look at the back of the form.
CA turns the card over, reads it.
CA: Ok.
A: So I can go?
CA: Yes.
A (repressing urge to scream at her): Thank you.

A hurries away in a vain attempt to catch his flight. Ultimately he got to the gate just after they had closed the doors, and he was indeed put on the next flight.

3 comments:

Debbie said...

too funny, must be all the screw ups with converting imperial to metric!!

Todd said...

I was thinking the same thing about my 2 American friends while waiting patiently at the Montreal Airport and one shows up an hour late and the other forgot his checked luggage in Toronto... ;)

Anonymous said...

I hate to admit that Canadian customs officers and the system in general SUCKS.

So please don't pity us for our bad math skills, the problem is localized in our border officers.

Please read the following anecdote.

I was rooming with three guys in University (in the apartment from Hell - long story not to be included here).
One of which had fallen in love online with a married woman from Texas. She decides to leave her husband + kids and come live with this guy. So she hops a flight to Pearson International Airport in Toronto hoping to catch a connecting flight to Ottawa (where her boyfriend to be lives) When she arrives in Toronto she tells the customs guys that she plans to stay and live with her new boyfriend. They say NO go home! She calls me and cries over the phone that they won't let her in. I call a friend in customs who tells me that there is nothing that can be done. So off she goes headed south to New Jersey to catch a connector to Texas. When the flight reaches New Jersey they tell her she has missed her connection, and so they will give her a later flight or a ticket to wherever they fly. Having grown a few brain cells since her last airport stop, she says "I'll take a ticket to Ottawa Canada." At this point you are going to say "this is not going to work." Never underestimate the stupidity of Canada customs. She hit Ottawa International air port tells them she is here for a three week vacation and she is let in, and hasn't left since (that was five or Six years ago)

Customs agents in Canada are genetically stupid, we breed them that way.