Used book brick border boondoggle

Customs officials' suspicions understandably aroused

I have a bunch of books I haven’t yet read. I’m reminded of them because I can see them in a box in my closet I’ve been neglecting to unpack. The books are new and old, and I plan to read them all — eventually.

The problem is every time I’m travelling someplace and pass a used book store of some type I go in to check it out. And though I have every intention of not buying anything — of abstaining from starting another box of books to read — as soon as I begin perusing the selection of books I start finding the book gems. When looking through shelves of old books there are always the regular classics, they can be found anywhere you look. But then there are those books that are harder to find, ones that have disintegrated into the depths of time and become a rarity. Despite having great amounts of wisdom to pass on, the books themselves have been tossed out or forgotten to find there way to the old bookstores. Finding these books is another thing, but the possibility is there in those used book shops.

Of course it could be worse. The nice thing about shopping for used books in small book shops is that they are usually on the low end of the spending spectrum, so though I may need an ever bigger bookshelf, there’s not much worry on the financial side of things.

The truth is though I enjoy perusing the stacks of used books, much like sifting through boxes of forgotten vinyl because you don’t know what you may find there.

My friend went another route. Rather than the slow, periodic collecting that I seem to take part in, he elected for a more direct and quick way of amassing a collection. He went online and found every classic book he could from used booksellers in the States. He spent a couple hundred dollars for somewhere around a hundred books and then waited for a big box full of books to arrive at the shipping outpost across the border. When he couldn’t make it down there I agreed to go pick them up.

At the shipping outpost, I asked if they had received the box full of books.

“No box,” they said, “but we’ve received quite a few individual packages.”

In fact, the books had come individually shipped one or two to a plain white plastic package. Luckily they elected to charge a pick up price for the whole pile of books and not the regular per package fee, which would have easily added a $100 to my friend’s online book buying endeavour.

I opened a few of the packages to make sure they were in fact books and not something else and loaded them up in the trunk of my car and headed north.

At the border, I gave customs the list of the books piled in the trunk. The officer looked skeptical and told me to pull in for a search of the vehicle.

Imagine her surprise when she lifts up the trunk to see it piled to the brim with individually-wrapped brick shaped white packages. Her eyes went wide and she called another officer over. It must have looked as though this was going to be a historic drug bust. She cut open one of the packages, revealing the tattered pages of a literary masterpiece, then another, again only musty paper filled with the words of writers past.

Finally, the officers resigned that the packages were in fact filled with literature and not illicit drugs. We all had a laugh about the case of the mistaken cargo and they let me on my way.

My friend spent a good amount of time removing the books from their packages and trying to figure out if it was all the books he ordered. Some had disappeared somewhere along the way or maybe were never mailed. But most likely those books are sitting and waiting on the shelves of a used book store somewhere.

Arne Petryshen is a reporter with the Cranbrook Daily Townsman

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The patio at the HeidOut and other Cranbrook restaurant patios will still be open for business during the circuit breaker restriction period. Corey Bullock photo
Indoor dining restrictions likely to be extended: Industry group

Restrictions to in-person restaurant dining that were implemented as part of a… Continue reading

1914
It happened this week in 1914

April 11 - 17: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising 5 years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison hopes for economic recovery plan in upcoming federal budget

Kootenay-Columbia Conservative looking for post-pandemic recovery plan in next week’s Liberal budget

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

The music video for “Green and Blue” featured a Willington Care Centre in Burnaby as well as some of the volunteers and employees. (Screenshot/Todd Richard)
‘Green and Blue’: B.C. country musician releases tribute song for front-line workers

Richard’s new single has been viewed more than 3,000 times on his YouTube channel

An unidentified B.C. man said, in a human rights complaint, that he was refused a contract job after refusing to wear a mask when asked to by an on-site manager. (Unsplash)
Religious B.C. man lodges human rights complaint after fired for refusing to wear a mask

Worker’s claim that ‘to cover up our face infringes on our God-given ability to breathe’ dismissed by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read