January 5, 2009

Dog diversion

Danielle and Kish learned a great lesson today. When in doubt, bring a dog to a border crossing. Does this dog look like trouble? With a brief, yet important drive to Plattsburgh, New York today, we decided to take Duke along for the ride. He would rather sit in the car in a parking lot instead of staying home alone anyway. After today, we determined it was a brilliant move. While we admit we brought a few purchased items across the border without declaring them, having Duke in the car as the back window was unrolled at the customs stop was a great diversion. The barking, tail wagging and desire to be noticed by the customs agent made it difficult to communicate. After the routine questions about our visas, the nice dog-loving customs agent must have decided we weren't worth the time. Besides, there were some college boys with New Jersey plates in front of us who must have had more interesting passports. They had their car searched. We were waved right through.

See, we can't purchase anything without paying duties and taxes if we're not in the US long enough. For a day trip we can't bring home anything (legally), for a 24 hour trip we have a $50 exemption, a 48-hour trip a $400 exemption and so on. But hey, a trip to Target adds up. The Canadian government would love to tax us on the Aleve, DS game, Swifter thingys (is that a word?) and other non-essential items we purchased to avoid 14% sales tax and higher prices, but we don't declare those things out of principal. Our principal is, we won't be living here long enough to reap the benefits and we are already paying astonishing income taxes -- not to mention additional tax on a $32 case of beer. Looks like Duke will have more frequent car rides to New York.

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