How the Customs Agent Stole Christmas

The US Customs agents apparently take their marching orders from The Grinch:

Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos’ feast! He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast! He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash. Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!

Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee. “And NOW!” grinned the Grinch, “I will stuff up the tree!”

My Italian in-laws sent my parents a selection of fine Italian foods for Christmas: cheeses, prosciutto, a few bottles of wine, some balsamic vinegar, and a few other things, all store bought and shrink wrapped. Customs apparently “destroyed” the lot, thus valiantly defending the United States from the horrors of foreign food and drink. Complicit in the grinching are:

  • Mailboxes etc, who said the goods to be shipped were fine, and now are doing their best to avoid refunding the 100 euro + cost of the goods, and 100 euro + cost of the shipment itself.

  • UPS, who notified no one that there was a problem. At the very least, they could have sent the shipment back to Italy in order to at least avoid its “destruction” (or did it become a tasty Christmas package for some dishonest customs agent? You have to wonder).

I can just imagine their Grinchy glee:

Three thousand feet up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit, He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it! “Pooh-Pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming. “They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!”

I am very dubious about the regulations keeping food out from places like Italy, which places a very high value on quality food – much more so than the US, I might add. Ilenia and I also sent a package to my parents which arrived just fine. It also contained some real Parmesan cheese and Speck, which presumably fall under the same regulations. If it were really a grave threat (like, say, something dangerous like a bomb), you’d think they’d be a lot more active in trying to keep it out. As it stands, it’s just a mockery of a rule that serves no real purpose.

Luckily, just like the Whos of Whoville, we all still had a nice Christmas, but here’s hoping that the hearts and brains of the politicians who come up with these inane rules, and their lackeys in Customs, will “grow three sizes” at some point in the future.

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