I wanted to share a couple of lolita/customs horror stories that have recently affected me as both a seller and a buyer on the egl_comm_sales. These aren't monetary horror stories. Getting a massive customs bill sucks, but getting a package that customs has downright destroyed is far more devastating. I was wondering if anyone else has any similar experiences to share, and I was also hoping that these tales may be somewhat cautionary, especially to sellers. Adding a few extra layers of protective wrapping than you normally do can really go a long way, as it turns out.
I'll tell my seller horror story first.
I recently sold a dress to someone overseas. Because of the high customs charges in the buyer's country, I was asked to under declare the package. I sympathize, and I often ask for the same courtesy from sellers for the same reason. I wrapped the dress up adequately, in a tight, secure layer of plastic/padded wrapping and a sturdy cardboard box. I then proceeded to FedEx it.
What happened next was that US customs, since all FedEx packages travel through Memphis TN, decided to open the package for inspection -- by slashing the darned thing up with a heavy duty boxcutter. This was completely unnecessary, I should point out, because FedEx boxes have a very simple pull-to-open tab.
The buyer opened her package to discover that the boxcutter not only cut through the box, but also the wrap AND her dress. It left a devastating gash right in the front of the dress near the waist bow. Nothing could be done to recuperate the loss, unfortunately, because the item had been marked down. Would customs have treated the package any differently if it had been marked higher? We can only speculate about such what-ifs, but I'm not 100% convinced that it would have saved the dress from irreparable damage. Customs seems to handle packages violently more often than I thought, which brings me to my next horror story. This one has a happy ending, thanks to a quick-witted and proactive seller.
I traded my Milky Planet OP for a JSK this month, and when I received my package in the mail, I noticed that it had been inspected by customs. To my horror, it had a MASSIVE slice and rip in the outer layer of the packaging. It looked like they forcefully took a boxcutter to the middle, and ripped open the package with their two hands like Hulk Hogan would his shirt. I thought for sure that my item inside was completely destroyed.
When I opened it, I saw that the boxcutter did indeed slice though the package, and into its contents. The seller was a complete Godsend in this instance, however. She had wrapped the dress in a sturdy plastic garment bag, and although the garment bag was practically destroyed, the dress inside was 100% safe.
If there's a moral to anything that I'm sharing, it's that we need to be very careful as both sellers and buyers. We need to go the extra mile when we package our items for sale. As buyers, I think we need also to be proactive and ask our sellers to pack everything in several layers, as securely and safely as possible. Personally, I'd pay extra for more packaging after what almost happened to me today. I wish I could turn back time and add several more layers of wrapping in my past buyer's package, as I feel terrible about what happened to her dress because of customs. I know that personally, when I sell dresses from now on I'm using 3 or 4 layers of bubble/plastic wrapping on the garment. I'm going to make everything into Fort Knox, because there's no way I'm chancing the heartbreaking situation that my buyer had to go through because of customs.
Has anyone else has their lolita packages, either bought or sold, damaged or destroyed by customs in the past?