Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The unofficial (unregulated!) import-export business


If you live abroad away from your family you can probably relate to this post. A few weeks before you are due to fly home for a holiday, you will receive an email/text/call from your family/friends at home pleading/begging/bribing you to buy a couple of things for them. They always try to rationalise and show some understanding for your precious 20kg luggage allowance - "it's very small/light/cheap".

I think we have all been guilty of this at some point. I know I have. I used to order pretty much everything under the sun bar the kitchen sink whenever my parents visit London. The essentials (food) - Milo, instant noodle, fried onions, sambal, mooncake, gula melaka to the WTF (I blame my ignorant naive teenage self) - stationary, toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton buds - yup guilty!

Now 14 years abroad I have wised up and do less import but the export  has definately been on the rise. Things I buy for my family and friends tend to fall into 3 categories:

1) It is cheaper in London (e.g. designer handbags, dry shampoo)
2) You can't get it back home (e.g. Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli Crisps, Copella Apple and Elderflower juice)
3) Better quality product (e.g. Panadol, dark chocolate, mustard)

I try not to judge because I have been there myself (but Scott did looked bemused when I came home with the good! *shakes head*). This trip  home (flying tomorrow!) my luggage is 1\3 my stuff, 2/3 export goods. Fingers cross I don't get spot-check at custom...I don't plan to declare 3 new Longchamp bags!

So tell me, what have you exported recently? What outrageous things you requested from home?

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