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Old 11-08-2014, 10:19 AM   #41
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You're assessment agrees with my sister and BIL. They each go across the bridge several times a week (from Canada to the US and back home to Canada). They know every one of the agents, but the agents pretend not to know them, and act thuggish. Weird that you see the same guy twice a week for 20 years, and you're not allowed to say "Hey Bill, how are the wife and kids?"
There must be a secret anti-charm school for border guards!
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:30 AM   #42
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I spent a life leaving the US and coming back, thankfully over now. US Customs is and has been always famous as thuggish. There is strict and there is careful and there is thuggish. They got thuggish covered. I never had an issue, just an attitude of who the hell are you and what do you think you are doing here. Nonetheless I was at Kennedy coming back from six weeks in China. I had my usual light luggage, one small back pack and a computer bag (they have laundries all over China no need to carry your wardrobe). So there I stand a middle age engineer, beat up leather jacket, khaki pants, work shirt, hard hat sunburn, small bag, computer and a book. There is a NYC cop standing there and he says to me so where you coming from, I said six weeks on a job site in China. He looks at me, sticks out his hand and says welcome home grabs my arm takes me to the front of the line tells them, this guy is OK and they say ok and off I go. Sometimes they throw you one.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:36 AM   #43
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There must be a secret anti-charm school for border guards!
Specifically for customs agents, I'm thinking. Because the field border patrol agents here are super polite.
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Old 11-08-2014, 10:57 AM   #44
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Just as a counterpoint to the stories here about US and Canadian border guards, there are plenty of worse places. I promise.

Like the Kazakh border where the guard brought out a Baggie of cocaine and a drug dog, with the implication crystal clear that unless he was given a "gift", the drugs would be planted on our bus. He wound up with a bottle of jäger, a bottle of wine, and some terrible Russian beer. After three cat and mouse hours.

Or the Mongolian border, where they wanted to search every backpack and tent unloaded from the top rack, for nine people. That was a few hours.

Or the Russian border where we sat four hours, as the guard let every other vehicle go in front of us just because he could.

But then there was joyous Kyrgyzstan, where the guards flirted with the single girls, spoke perfect English, and posed for a dozen photos with us. That restored my faith in border guard humanity.

You never know how sketchy you can look until you arrive at a border at 2am, sans showers for a week, with five countries represented in your stack of passports, all on a bright yellow school bus.

Canada was a piece of cake by comparison.


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Old 11-08-2014, 01:37 PM   #45
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Thinking about the life of a border guard...where everyone you meet might be a potential drug smuggler, terrorist, vacationer or lawful citizen (and a whole bunch more options)...and you're supposed to discern which is which. This wouldn't be easy. I might become cranky too.

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Old 11-08-2014, 01:57 PM   #46
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In all fairness, I have to say that I've encountered both surly and friendly guards on both sides of the Canada-USA border.

Occasionally quite friendly, occasionally quite surly, but most of the time it has been a completely neutral encounter.

Limited data set, though. I've probably only crossed that border 50-60 times in my whole life.
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Old 11-08-2014, 03:01 PM   #47
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I've heard that UPS drivers are constantly rotated thru different routes, simply so they cannot get into "cahoots" with the customers, for example.
This may be true now, but back in the late 80's when I was actually shipping boxed software from my garage I got to know the local UPS driver pretty well.

We had a system: if my garage was open a little, she'd stop for a pickup. If not, she didn't need to stop.

No collusion involved ;-)
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Old 11-08-2014, 03:27 PM   #48
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We go back and forth on a fairly regular basis.

Good and bad on both sides of the line. About equal.

Jerks will be jerks and they are not defined by geography or employer!

Overall, they are just fine. Difficult job. Dealing with the public is not fun....especially in that environment. Most are just trying to do their job as best they can. Anyone can have a bad day.
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Old 11-08-2014, 08:51 PM   #49
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...
Like the Kazakh border where the guard brought out a Baggie of cocaine and a drug dog, with the implication crystal clear that unless he was given a "gift", the drugs would be planted on our bus. He wound up with a bottle of jäger, a bottle of wine, and some terrible Russian beer. After three cat and mouse hours.
...
That puts things into perspective.

Finding that tipping point in bribery is not my strong point, especially with a language barrier. I'd avoid all borders if it meant having to do that every time!
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #50
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........ Because the field border patrol agents here are super polite.
Until you get on the wrong side of them and they put you into one of those refrigerated holding cells.

http://www.ibtimes.com/child-migrant...enters-1646428
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:34 PM   #51
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I've never had anything but cheerful, polite courtesy from the border agents (USCIS, formerly INS). The occasional joke, levity, or small talk have all been somewhat common.

But it's a little unnerving because you know their chatter and curiosity is partly to trip you up and give away info that you're not really who you claim to be or that you're doing something you're not supposed to.
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Old 11-09-2014, 03:21 AM   #52
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I'm sure it is what they are trained (ordered?) to do.

The minute you start building relationships/friendships....that's when you set yourself up for possible collusion, etc.

This can be very problematic, depending on the type of work.

I've heard that UPS drivers are constantly rotated thru different routes, simply so they cannot get into "cahoots" with the customers, for example.

omni
Similarly, when I lived in the BC Gulf Islands I was told that the local RCMP detachment was rotated every couple years or so.....same reasons given.
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:36 PM   #53
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We have entered Canada several times over the years, and never had problems. It's absolutely no-no to bring firearms into Canada. And because booze is more expensive in Canada due to higher taxes, they tend to ask about that, ......
Be sure you only bring a 40oz bottle per person, if you bring a 1.75 L bottle be prepared to pay a $25 fee on it. (still cheaper than the $60 cdn in the liquor stores).

Also, besides guns, make sure nobody brings "other weapons" , as Canada is very restrictive on many weapons that are easily bought in the US without a permit. Examples are: “nunchaku” , blowguns, brass knuckles.
Penalties include up to 5 yrs prison.
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Old 11-09-2014, 04:42 PM   #54
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I have found most Canada/US border guards nice, just doing their job. I find the US ones are a bit more "inspective".
But I have run into the odd one that has been a real Jerk, it was the Canadian one, who proceeded to tell me he knew how the US was as he had a timeshare condo in FL.
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:21 PM   #55
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Last night on the way into the US at Buffalo to see the Penguins pummel the Sabres, the US Customs guy was quite nice and there was no wait at all which is quite unusual. On the way back after the game, the Canadian gal was very nice too and we probably shouldn't have laughed when she asked us if we had been in contact with anyone with Ebola!
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Old 11-09-2014, 07:23 PM   #56
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I once responded to a Canadian agent who asked if I had firearms: " no, do we need them up here?" Both he and my wife gave me looks of strong disapproval...never again.
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Old 11-09-2014, 07:32 PM   #57
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I once responded to a Canadian agent who asked if I had firearms: " no, do we need them up here?" Both he and my wife gave me looks of strong disapproval...never again.
When I was in high school, one of my friends decided to go to Canada to joy ride on his motorcycle. When they asked him why he wanted entry, he honestly said he wanted to see what the US was like in the 1950's. Entry denied.
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Old 11-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #58
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They probably figured that anyone that stupid riding a bike was bound to get into trouble!
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Old 11-10-2014, 12:48 PM   #59
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When I was in high school, one of my friends decided to go to Canada to joy ride on his motorcycle. When they asked him why he wanted entry, he honestly said he wanted to see what the US was like in the 1950's. Entry denied.
I lived in Toronto in the 1950s. We had bread carts and milk carts drawn by horses, making home deliveries.

I remember seeing the ice man (with a truck!) making deliveries in the neighborhood.

We also had occasional 'brownouts' (I'd notice the lights dimming) until they finally switched from 50 cycle to 60 cycle electric power.

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Old 11-10-2014, 12:51 PM   #60
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They probably figured that anyone that stupid riding a bike was bound to get into trouble!
I suspect that his shoulder length hair didn't help, either.
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