I’ve got big boobs. Not massive. I’m not talking an H cup, or anything, but I’m a solid D. It makes getting bras tricky. Local chains don’t often carry much (or anything) bigger than a C, and the independent places with good selections are all at least an hour drive away. Bra shopping being what it is – boring, frustrating, and expensive – I’m not often interested in making a long trek to try on every single thing in a shop in the hopes of finding something that both fits and looks nice, followed by another long trek home.
Except that time I went to Vegas.
Correction. That time Kerry and I went to Vegas.
We’d been planning the trip for months, and I was in desperate need of some new bras. I decided to save up and go shopping somewhere that I didn’t have access to at home. (Bear in mind, online shopping was in its infancy at the time this story takes place.)
We ended up in a Frederick’s of Hollywood, where Kerry essentially locked me in a change room for an hour-and-a-half while she and the staff ranged throughout the store grabbing anything they could find in the style I’d declared comfortable. I’d walked into the store wearing the one and only bra I had left, which was on its last legs (straps?), and I only had three pair of panties to my name. $500 later, I walked out with 7 bras (the old one having been gleefully thrown in the garbage), and 19 pair of underwear. I got so much, I didn’t even have a chance to wear each of them even once before heading for home. (That detail will be important later on.)
I was quite chuffed about my successful shopping spree until it came time to fill out the customs forms on the journey home. I’d thought my limit to bring back into Canada without paying extra duty would be $750. Turned out, I hadn’t been out of the country long enough to qualify for that amount. No, all I could claim was $250. And since I hadn’t even worn most of my new purchases, or even removed the price tags from them, I couldn’t lie and brazen things out if I got flagged for a detailed search at customs. Plus, that’s just not my style. I’m more of a Rules Is Rules kinda person. So with a sigh, I resigned myself to paying a little bit more and wrote $650 into the box for my total amount of goods being brought into Canada.
The fun began when we landed. Kerry and I had gotten all of four hours sleep in the past two days and then taken a red-eye home. So we were giddy. And giggly. Very, very giggly.
At Customs, I approached the desk first, while Kerry waited her turn behind the red line. I handed my form and passport to the agent. He glanced at them, then asked, “What on earth are you bringing back for $650?”
Kerry called out something from her place in line. I didn’t dare acknowledge her for fear another fit of giggles would be the result. When she gets overtired her voice gets a little squeaky, and I think the way she yips is adorably hilarious. So overcompensating while trying to appear ‘normal,’ I gave the agent a big (possibly manic) smile and said, “A whole lotta underwear!”
He seemed taken aback. In the pause that followed, Kerry yipped again. Again, I studiously ignored her.
Looking back at my paperwork, the agent asked what kind of alcohol I was bringing back. And I had to answer, “A bottle of Star Trek Romulan Ale.”
There was another pause, then, “What is that, exactly? I mean, is it beer? Whisky? Vodka?”
Yip from behind the red line.
“I assume it’s beer. I mean, it’s in a beer type bottle, and they call it ale. … But it’s blue.”
“Ooookay. Big Star Trek fan, are you?”
“I like it well enough, but the friend I’m bringing it home for is a huge fan.”
Yip! Yip yip yip!
The agent grinned and said, “That’s right. Blame the friend.”
“She’s lying! There is no friend! It’s for her!”
Yeah, I couldn’t ignore that one. I turned to Kerry and said, “Of all the things you could say about me as I go through customs, you had to pick she’s lying?”
It was at this point I realized Kerry had no idea she’d been saying anything out loud, that she thought she’d been using her inside voice the entire time. It was the wide eyes followed by the intense study of her feet that gave it away.
Turning back to the Customs agent, it was clear he was having a hard time keeping a straight face. He stamped my form, handed it to me, and welcomed me back to Canada. I waited behind the desk while he checked Kerry in. I’ve never seen anyone go through Customs faster.
I asked Kerry if she knew where I had to go to pay the extra duty. She didn’t, but as there was only one direction to go, we took it. I figured that when we got to the door, where another Customs agent was collecting forms, he’d direct me to the teller.
I handed him my form. He took it, said thank you, then reached for Kerry’s. Another thank you and we were through the door and in a hallway, clearly out of the Customs area. I still hadn’t paid anything. I felt like I was getting away with something, and it didn’t sit right. I remember telling Kerry to walk casual. And also to save herself when they released the hounds.
Then a voice came bellowing down the hallway after us and I thought, “Ah, here we go. They’ve realized their mistake.”
The voice belonged to the agent at the door. I looked back over my shoulder as he yelled, “$650! Man, did you get lucky!”
Apparently it pays to entertain a Customs agent. I sometimes wonder how many others heard about my underwear that day.