Border Crossings is a visual arts periodical, it's cool, check it out but be warned it has nothing to do with this post.
On June 30th we decided to go down to the states to look for/pick up some essential items suspiciously missing from our packing list. Passports in hand we drive down to Grand Forks with no problems in spite of the fact we are unemployed and were asked what we did for a living..."Just doing some shopping for a year long trip we are going on". No problem, granted access to the land of the free and the home of the brave. After limited success in Grand Forks we set forth to Fargo (No, Joel and Ethan Cohen did not make this place up it really does exist). More stuff purchased and after 24 hours we are headed back to Canada, on Canada day.
Assumption is a dangerous thing...#1 we are allowed to bring back $200 worth of goods FALSE: After only 24 hours there is a $50 limit. #2 We are allowed duty free alcohol. FALSE: After only 24 hours no duty free is allowed. (FYI, currently you need to stay a minimum of 48 hours and then our assumptions would have been correct*) #3 If a Canadian border guard lets you back in to the US to return your bottles you are O.K. to do so FALSE: You are not really supposed to be in the US he just did you a little favour so you could get your money back. #4 When the dude at the duty free tells you it O.K. to walk back 2 miles to get the actual refund (apparently he can only issue a credit) that it is really O.K. to do so. FALSE: Apparently you have just entered the US illegally even tho' you did not know this, and you get picked up the by US border patrol.
Thinking about it for more than a moment of course I entered the US without going through customs (D'oh!). After explaining myself to the Border guards and maybe a half hour wait the very understanding North Dakotans let me off with a warning (However, I did feel monumentally stupid). Lessons learned: the whole ASS out of U and ME thing that's true...Also don't criss cross willy nilly international borders...not a good idea...ever.
*please do not take my word for this and always check what you are and are not allowed to bring back...
Posted by jason at 10:18 AM