Saturday, 30 January 2010

Free spending, not freewheeling

Been at the show in Tucson for a few days now and have nearly finished buying. One more day should see me spent up. Ticked off most of the list, but won't be able to get it all.

The container with my shipping crates has been held in US customs for ages and has still not reached the hotel. The container has been x-rayed, unpacked, and inspected by customs, at their leisure. Not only has this taken up a great deal of time, preventing a number of dealers setting up their selling rooms, but the customs folk charge for each stage of this procedure to add insult to injury. Department of Agriculture were also called into have a look, adding to the delay. They didn't know why. At the moment, everything should be ready to go, but it's now the weekend, meaning nothing more will happen until Monday morning. It's looking like the stuff will finally get here on Tuesday, a week after it was supposed to arrive, and six full selling days lost. Very bad. All it means for me is that I can't load my crates, but for the sellers involved it's a lot of lost trade. A great deal of money gets taken in the first few days of the show, and by the time their stock arrives, many of their customers will have left for home.

See comment for an update.


Matt Dale said...

To further the story - repacking was halted on friday afternoon at knocking off time. Nothing was done over the weekend. We had been told repacking would be finished on Monday morning, and then the shipment sent on.

All going well on Monday morning until we learned that 'bugs' had been found and the Dept Agriculture called back in. A bug has been bagged and sent away for identification. We think that if the criminal bug is an American, the container can be released. If it proves to be a scary foreigner, fumigation is required. For which there may or may not be a queue. Who knows? The container has supposedly been lying unpacked for a number of days. Find me a warehouse with no bugs in it.

Similar things have happened to a number of dealers. A German friend had his shipment pulled, inspected, examined by Dept Agr. and then finally released. He had a hefty bill. On arrival, he found all his original seals intact. Hmm. Some Moroccans were charged over $6000 for their inspections. Something very fishy about all this.

Anyway. The show has been a financial disaster for a number of people - lost trade, inability to buy stock, and the considerable customs charges to boot. For me, all it means is I have no shipping crates to pack my stuff into. They may or may not arrive before I leave. If not, a friend will have to pack it for me. Inconvenient, but not the end of the world.

Matt Dale said...

Just had word from the shippers that we have the all-clear. Still to be repacked, but should set off from L.A. later today, meaning arrival tomorrow. I might get a chance to pack the crates myself yet.

Unless they find some suspicious vegetables.