Monday, July 26, 2010

Aussie Customs Gives the Green Light

It's three thirty in the morning, and I'm winding down... getting tired from a long night's work. But I wanted to share the notes I received from Australian Customs before climbing into bed for a couple of hours of shut-eye. My day starts in two and a half hours.

As you know, I want to mail my friend Larry the cell phone which I 'terminated' for him. I emailed Customs to make sure it would be acceptable to ship it across their border. What follows is our correspondance. They gave me the green light, and I'll be mailing Larry's cell phone to him when I go to work in a few hours.

It's a happy ending, I suppose. For Larry and me, but not for the cell phone.

And now, I have a new poem to write...

Dear Australian Customs,

My name is Karen Bessey Pease and I live in the United States. I have several good friends in Australia, and one of them has just left me after a month-long visit to my home in Maine. When he arrived in New York, he realized that his Aussie cell phone didn't work here, so he purchased a new one. Upon arriving up here in Maine, he discovered that due to our mountains and the rural nature of western Maine, he almost never had any decent cell phone reception here, either. For the whole of his visit, he was constantly piqued at the fact that he would have to climb a hill or park in a certain area in order to be able to call out or receive messages. I teased him about it unmercifully, and we began to plan the demise of his 'mobile' once he was through with it. It became a big joke and source of amusement for us.

We decided I should shoot it for him (but only AFTER I used the remaining prepaid minutes-- he's so tight he squeaks when he walks!) We discussed what I ought to use and discarded the .22 (too small for satisfaction) and the .44 (a bit of 'over kill'). Finally, I decided to use a World War One Luger, thinking that it was only fitting to have a 100 year old weapon 'get the best' of today's tool of 'modern technology'.

Anyway... I have destroyed my friend's cell phone and I wish to mail it to a souvenir. Before shooting it, I removed the battery so that there would be no hazmat issues. My husband was worried that by mailing it to Larry, I would get on some 'list' due to the fact that the phone has two obvious bullet holes in it, and your agents would see them if the package was opened. Since 9/11, the world has changed, and perfectly innocent things such as this can sometimes take on different connotations. I told him that I would list what was in the package and also include a note to you to read if you opened the parcel, but he asked me to contact you FIRST, before posting it. My own Postmaster said that as long as the battery was removed and I stated honestly what was in the box, that it 'shouldn't be a problem' but my husband is more cautious than I, I suppose. Thus, this email to you.

I will attach photos of the cell phone, which is exactly what will be in the box (along with the aforementioned letter). Oh, there will also (maybe) be a black bra in the package, too. (Another funny story between me and my Aussie). Do you foresee any problems if I mail my friend his punctured cell phone? It is a harmless souvenir of a wonderful visit. I've been sad since he left last Tuesday, knowing that I may never see him again, and I would love it if he could have this reminder of the laughs we shared over his 'f***ing mobile from this third world country" (as he liked to tease). Heh... just writing that made me miss him...

Please let me know if this is acceptable. I suppose I should be cognizant of what I send across your borders. Last year I mailed some potatoes to my friend (Ali g), and you 'confiscated and destroyed' them and sent us a lovely letter explaining why. I never, ever thought of a potato as a 'seed', and felt like an idiot for mailing them to Oz. (This is an apology, 10 months after the fact...) However, that occurence DID cause me to write a poem in jest of the 'affair' and my friends got a good laugh about that-- so something was salvaged from the fiasco. (I'll attach the poem for the heck of it, too. It's kind of cute and was a big hit with Aussies and 'Yanks', alike.)

Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider my request. You may email me, or call me at either of the numbers listed below.

Yours Truly,

Karen Bessey Pease
252 Spruce Pond Road
Lexington Twp., ME 04961
(207) 628-2070 home
(207) 340-0066 cell


Dear Karen

Thank you for the very entertaining email. I'm not aware of any restrictions on importing mobile phones with bullet holes in them but I'll find out for you. I have forwarded your email to another area for comment, and we will contact you again soon.

I don't want to spoil the poem but it would have been AQIS ( Australian Quarantine Inspection Service) who seized the potatoes, not Customs. They are the authority that deals with plant, animal and food products.
Thank you for your email .

Jill P.
Senior Customs and Border Protection Officer | Customs Information and Support Centre | CE&CS Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Customs House, 10 Cooks River Drive, Mascot NSW 2020


Hi Jill!

Wow... that would be really hard to rhyme, wouldn't it??

But... I'm a writer, and now I'll have to give it a shot (no pun intended...)

Thanks for getting back to me. Mr. Pease will be thrilled (and I say that with mild sarcasm... he wasn't very excited to discover I'd already had my hand slapped over potatoes...)

Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, hmmm? I'll have to see what I can do with that...

Thanks again. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours truly,


Hello Kazza

there are no restrictions on importing a phone, whether there are bullet holes in it or not.

If the bullets are still in the phone that will create some problem.

Ian Pearse | Senior Customs and Border Protection Officer |Customs Information and Support Centre | CE&CS
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
Customs House, 10 Cooks River Ave, Mascot NSW 2020


Hey, Ian! Excellent news, and thank you! Nope. The bullets are in a bale of hay, the casings in my coat pocket.

Perfect. I will package the cell up when I go to work this morning and will include a copy of this letter, just in case the parcel is opened once it arrives Down Under.

Thanks again. I know Larry will get a charge out of having the cell returned to him in its present condition.

Big smiles from Maine!


  1. Very funny Kazza
    You may recall that I sent your poem to the Oz customs/quarantine people 10 months ago when I got their tardy letter about confiscating the spuds. I waited with baited breath for a reply from them but they never replied.
    Glad they saw the funny side of it all. just wonderful.

  2. You may have gotten the green light to mail the phone to OZ, but I gaurantee, you ARE going to end up on a list! ;)


  3. Hey, Ali g. Yes, of COURSE I remember that you forwarded that poem! At the time, I felt a strange mixture of admiration for your bravery, and horror that you'd passed along a poem that was so obviously making fun of Aussie Customs.

    It's good to know they have a sense of humor. But, DC... if I'm on any list, it no doubt started with the spud-smuggling incident.

    Since that time, I'm sure I've had my name added to several lists. "Best dressed" probably isn't one of them, though. Your hat would need to be added to my ensemble for that to happen.


  4. cleavage list has gotta be one of them

    hey guess what...the word verification that just came up when sending was 'titillate'


  5. She hides her list in her cleavageJuly 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    Hahahaha! Are you SERIOUS????

    That's too funny... heheheee.



  6. Titillate? Well, I s'pose late is beter than never!