When I arrived in Toronto from Boston today, the customs process was a bit odd. Only gone for three days, I had no checked luggage and nothing to declare, and I filled out the customs form as usual: checked “business” as the purpose of my trip, the “no” to all the questions about if I were bringing back this or that. The customs agent looked at it, went wild with a red marker, circling several of my responses, then asked if I was bringing anything back. Uh, no, that’s what I put on the form. Any business materials (which usually means things like marketing materials)? Nope. Did I have a laptop? Yes… Off she went with the red marker again, and when I walked off with my form, I noticed that she had changed one of my “no” responses to “yes”, that being the one asking if I was bringing any business goods into the country, whether or not for resale, and wrote “laptop” below.
I’m not a customs expert, but I thought that “goods” meant things that I was importing into the country, not the laptop that I left with three days ago. And if that constitutes “goods”, what about my Blackberry? My camera? The pack of mints in my purse? As far as I’m concerned, these are all my personal belongings that I carry with me everywhere, no different than my wallet and a paper notebook.
I didn’t, of course, question her; even if she was wrong, there’s never anything good that’s going to come out of arguing with a border guard.