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Customs Humour

Site of the former Rhodesian/Zimbabwe/Federal Customs & Excise Departments

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TO SMUGGLE GOODS (Submitted by Aussie Austin, Feb 2009)
The story goes that an alpine peasant used to cross the border from
Switzerland to Italy twice a day on foot pushing a wheelbarrow full of
straw. The Italian Customs Officer searched the wheelbarrow contents
rigorously on every occasion, but never finding any contraband. This
went on for many years until both the peasant and the Italian Customs
Officer had retired.
Then one day they met in a Swiss pub and, over a tankard of glowein
the Customs Officer asked the peasant if he was indeed smuggling 
anything during those twice daily border crossings. "Oh yes", said the
peasant "I most certainly was". Well, the Customs Officer just had to
know what the contraband was and begged the peasant to tell him.
"Wheelbarrows", he replied.

no one is above suspicion customs humour

 COMPLAINTS - ARE WE WINNING?   -   by Harry T Bowler
Every year, usually during the off-season of acrimonious political letters
to the newspaper, the open season of complaints about the Customs and Excise
department commences. We are all familiar with the subject matter of these
letters and many of us have written long reports unravelling the facts of
some minor incidents, whilst at the same time denying wartime service with
the Gestapo or continued membership of the Ku Klux Klan. Racial
discrimination, upsetting old ladies, fishy business at Chirundu - all raise
the ire of the newspaper reading public. The game can continue : mention on
the radio - pretty good : a question in the House - very good. The latter I
think can only be beaten by an appeal to the Privy Council.
Complaints about Customs know neither territorial nor time barriers. The
following letter of complaint was written in Victorian England by an irate
traveller and is extracted from the book "SMUGGLERS AHOY", written by Ben
Herrington OBE, an ex-preventive officer.
"FOLKESTONE, September"
"My Lords and Gentlemen,
I beg most earnestly to call Your Lordships' attention to the character,
cast of disposition, and deportment of the men engaged here by Customs as
tide-waiters, rummagers, and boatmen; the latter are blackguardly, insolent,
and abusive, and the former appear to be the very refuse of God's Creation,
uncultivated, unclean, and obscene, both in their conduct, address, and
manner; indeed, they are the very scum of the community, a perfect disgrace
to your Lordships' Service.
These men assume and take upon themselves more than they are either
authorised or entitled to do in their capacity as underlings, and to this
there appears to be neither bounds nor check, as they continue in the daily
practice of heaping abuse and calumny on all those whose lot or business
calls them to travel between this country and the Continent; they are also
meddling, offensive, and atrociously wicked, and are each and every one of
them addicted to the vile practice of smoking.
Your Lordships' Most Obedient Servant
"A Traveller and Sojourner in Her Majesty's Service" "
The author sums up by saying "I suspect that this disgruntled traveller was
annoyed because he had been subjected to the normal procedure from which he
considered himself exempt". Mr Herrington was obviously a very experienced
(by HTB - May 1965)
HEAD OFFICE - 18 May 1965
                                        Submitted by Aussie Austin

A very distinguished lady was on a plane arriving from Switzerland.
She found herself seated next to a nice priest whom she asked:
"Excuse me Father, could I ask a favour?"
"Of course my child, what can I do for you?"
"Here is the problem, I bought myself a new sophisticated hair remover
 for which I paid an enormous sum of money. I have really gone over
the declaration limits and I am worried that they will confiscate it at
Do you think you could hide it under your cassock?"
"Of course I could, my child, but you must realize that I can not lie."
"You have such an honest face Father, I am sure they will not ask you any questions",
and she gave him the 'hair remover'.
The aircraft arrived at its destination. When the priest presented himself to customs 
he was asked,
"Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head to my sash, I have nothing to declare, my son", he replied.
Finding this reply strange, the customs officer asked,
"And from the sash down, what do you have?"
The priest replied, "I have there a marvellous little instrument destined for use by 
women, but which has never been used."
Breaking out in laughter, the customs officer said,
"Go ahead Father. Next!"


Submitted by Aussie Austin (August 2006)

The Examining Officer's lament

Entries all the bloody day,
Check your bloody life away,
All bloody work and no bloody pay.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Agents get your bloody goat,
Can't read what they bloody wrote,
That's their bloody duplicating joke.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

VOCs all the bloody week,
Enough to make you bloody shriek,
Tariff's up the bloody creek.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Public say were bloody fools,
Why don't they read their bloody rules,
Choppers are not bloody tools.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Never mind the bloody guide,
Their guess is always bloody wide,
And they say they bloody tried.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Descriptions always bloody wrong,
No IPCs from bloody Hong Kong,
Detain it; there's a bloody song.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

All want their papers bloody quick,
Expect a bloody magic trick,
Makes us all so bloody sick.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Phone rings all the bloody day,
Bloody papers gone astray,
There in my bloody pending tray.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Queries all the bloody day,
What does the Controller bloody say,
Notice of Motion coming my bloody way.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.

Now we've reached the bloody end,
Nearly round the bloody bend,
That's the usual bloody trend.
Bloody, bloody, bloody.