Getting back to travel, I’m just wondering how many of you shop ’til you drop when you vacay? I bet many of you are taken in by useless tchotchkes, shoes that you just have to walk away with, jewelry that matches the sparkle in your eye and clothes that will reside on your elliptical for years to come. I eschew touristy souvenirs, I have absolutely no use for them. I do have a weakness for clothing and accessories though. Plus, I’m a generous hearted Leo who likes to buy useless, yet thoughtful gifts, for family and friends that make the cut. This translates into sometimes going over our paltry $800 limit (remember I’m Canadian).
It used to be even worse, and cross border shopping meant pulling tags off, donning about 6 layers of clothes, throwing out old shoes so I could wear new ones and looking like the Michelin Man as I got questioned by Canadian Customs. Not being a natural liar, I usually stuttered through the answers or mumbled into one of the 5 sweaters that I was wearing (in the heat of the summer) that I spent about $50. LIAR LIAR pants (3 pairs to be exact) on fire, I knew that Officer Bob was thinking to himself as he sighed and let us pass through.
There were times that I couldn’t lie or layer my clothes in such an overt way because I made the mistake of going to the US with someone that had been black listed. Declaring pained me, so I’d sneak a sweater or blouse into my over-sized purse and hope that my friend didn’t discover my little peccadillo. Then, I started going with one of my dearest friends who could lose her job if she was caught lying at the border and a condition of cross border travel meant…shudders…being completely honest. At first, I resented it, but as more time went by, and I was waved through without paying duty, even when I overspent, I started appreciating the weird freedom that honesty brought. I no longer was tongue tied when I spoke to Customs. I also looked better – 3 pairs of pants and 5 sweaters is just FUGLY.
The last two trips that I took, I was declared positively everything to the dime, and guess what? I got brownie points. One nice Agents of the Shield gave me a discount because I was honest so I paid a measly $30 – think of it – you lie to save $30? Not worth it in my humble opinion. Last night, when I got back from New Orleans, I was over by $50 – but declared it anyway – I have to be honest because I have Nexxus Card. Once again, I was rewarded for being a do-gooder and paid absolutely zip.
So what does this all add up to? Do you really want to stammer haltingly through a border crossing or sweat through your new clothes to avoid a few dollars at the border? I no longer do, and I do declare, it’s freeing. Enjoy your travels.