Monday, December 18, 2006

why I ask people not to send me packages

I always-- always-- have trouble with Korean Customs when people try to send me packages from the States. My parents recently sent over a care package and, true to form, FedEx called to tell me that the package had arrived, but that there was a problem: the package contains beef jerky (cue tympani and fright-wig chorus), which won't make it through Customs. I have several options:

1. I can wait a few days, during which time Customs will remove the jerky and then allow the remainder of the package to be delivered.

2. I can wait a few days and pay a W30,000 fee, which will allow the entire package to be delivered.

3. I can go to the FedEx office myself and collect the package; it's unclear whether I would still have to pay a fee to keep the jerky.

Something doesn't quite make sense, actually. The way the lady explained it over the phone, I wouldn't have to pay any money if I came to the office and "separated" the jerky myself. But, why not? If the issue is whether or not to allow the jerky into the country, then it would seem I would have to pay a fee no matter who does the separation. And what separation are we talking about, really? I think the lady might be saying that I should take the jerky out of the package myself at the FedEx office, and then let the rest of the package through Customs, i.e., illegally appropriate the jerky before my package is inspected. That, or she's saying I can simply collect the package myself and bypass Customs, but that can't be right. What the fuck is going on here? I don't think the problem in this case is my stunted Korean skills; I think there's a logical problem that's being glossed over by the FedEx lady in the interest of expediency over quality service.

I'm taking the bus out to Incheon Airport tomorrow to see what's up. More on this clusterfuck later.


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