I knew getting my stuff to Atlanta for Dragon*Con would be difficult. I had no idea it would be the rutting problem it has become!
Short version- my crate of stuff was supposed to be at Freeman's warehouse yesterday. Today we discover it hasn't even left Canada! It seems US Customs wants to know a few things about the items inside. Fair enough, we thought, until we heard the questions.
For instance, regarding the knitted jayne hats, they wanted to know where they came from. When we told them a woman knits them here, they wanted to know where the yarn came from. We said, Walmart. They said, "Where did they get it? What is the country of origin?" Um... isn't that Walmart's responsibility to find out? Apparently not. What else did they want to know? Well - My husband spent the day on the phone getting the addresses of fabric manufactures in Hong Kong who make the fabric used in making the flags that I buy and have silk screened. Never mind that I bought the flags from the "US Flag Company" (seriously)- the US Customs people want *us* to track down where THEY got the fabric to make the flags. Also, where the paper parasols came from and the address of the manufacturing plant in Honduras where Hanes makes their T-shirts. Never mind that I bought the T-shirts from Cafe Press which is based in the USA. An entire day. Taken from his real job, to spend on the phone calling overseas for bullshit. My suppliers are responsible for making sure their products came into the country legally, not me. US Customs doesn't seem to see that logic.
We're just a little business trying to survive. The US economy is not going to crumble by us sending $5000.00 worth of merchandise into the States from Canada. Hey, Customs, 95% of my suppliers are in the States. I bought all the supplies from the US and paid all duty and taxes on every last fucking item that I brought across the border from the States. Now, I'm taking the very same items back across the border and I really don't think it should be suspect as illegal or dangerous or contraband simply because it spent a few months in Canada. Guess what else, Customs., I'm bringing it into the States to sell and when I do that I HAVE TO COLLECT AND PAY 8% OF WHATEVER I CHARGE TO GEORGIA IN STATE TAXES. Yes, US, you are officially getting more of the money from any of my potential sales than I myself would be. Let's see, add that to the cost of the supplies that I paid to the US companies where I got the items and then take out the duty and taxes... Hey US, I'm actually PAYING YOU with these items.
That is, if you ever let me take them into the country at all.
Oh, and since the stuff was supposed to be at Freeman's Thursday and is still sitting at the border, Freeman is going to tack on a fee for the crate getting there past the deadline. That is (say it with me) if it ever gets there at all. Set up is Thursday. Even if it ships out Monday it'll only GET there Thursday. It might not be taken to the hotel until Friday. Did I mention Dragon*Con starts Friday?
So where are we at now? Well, Firefly Cargo Bay has a table in the Marriott Marquis International Hall. My sister has some stock with her that doesn't have to cross the border. I have a few items coming in my suitcase. The Bedlam Bards will have their cds and shirts and other items. Geek2Chic has sent 85 shirts down to the hotel for sale at my table. Fangirl from FanDone is bringing lots of shiny items to peddle. So, we'll have stuff, I just don't know how many items at this point. (And don't worry, I won't boost my prices to make up for all these extra fees Customs is causing me-- I know I can't possible break even at this point so I'm not gonna try.)
What will happen now...? Watch this space for updates.
Until next time:
"I'm a businessman, see. Roots in the community"