detained for excessive cheese

cheeseWe only live an hour and a half from the US border and we often make a day trip across to Buffalo, New York. Not for any particular reason, just to get away and go somewhere different.

We’ve even gotten to know a few people at our favourite stores – Andy at the Oakley store and Jennifer and Gayle at the Jarod’s jewellery store (where we have spent a little too much money in the past).

We don’t go down to spend lots of money like we (Canadians) used to do years ago when we could get such great deals – everything was so much cheaper there. But that was when our dollar was worth a whole lot more than it is now. Cheaper prices don’t wind up cheaper anymore when you factor in a 32% exchange rate.

Except for the cheese!

The cheese in Buffalo is so cheap!

I love cheese but not near as much as my BF. He is a cheese fanatic! If I’m cooking something with shredded cheese, I have to shred twice as much as I need because half of it will be gone before I get to the “sprinkle with cheese” part of the recipe. So when we can get cheese in Buffalo for half the price than we pay here, we stock up – big time!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Buffalo although my BF has gone a couple times this summer (yes, he is happy to go by himself) so, when I got a chance to take the day off, I suggested our favourite day trip.

I needed to get away from the house, work and my computer. I really needed to “check out” for the day. And besides . . . we were out of cheese.

So off we went.

It was a great day, just the two of us. Lunch at the Bob Evans, groceries at Wegmans, a walk around the mall (we stopped in to see Andy); and we even went to a movie.

The day got even better when we got to the border crossing to come home and there was no line up. This was our lucky day!

We had no idea how lucky we were about to be.

The border guard asked the usual questions;


Where do you live?

How long have you been here?

Where did you go?

Anything to declare?

My BF answered;

we spent about $200 total on groceries.

So the guard asks to see the receipt. We’ve never been asked to show our groceries receipt before but, no big deal, we had it. As my BF is handing it over, he says with a chuckle;

We come mostly for the cheese

The border guard freezes for just a second and asks us soberly;

Do you know that you are only allowed bring back 20 Canadian dollars of dairy products per person?

We laugh. Wait a minute, he’s not laughing. He is just staring at us. That’s not good. Shocked, we ask;

are you serious!?

Yes. Yes he was.

Oh Crap. As the border guard is reviewing our receipt, I’m going over it in my head: 2 big cheddar blocks, cheese slices (2 types), individually wrapped cheese, 2 smaller pre-sliced blocks of Colby and a 5 pound bag of shredded cheese. Oh Crap!

I ask with a catch in my throat;

are we over?

He doesn’t even look up but says;

oh, you’re way over

crap, crap, crap. Detained for excessive cheese. No one will believe us.

He finishes reviewing the receipt and hands it back to my BF. He lets us sweat for just a minute and then says;

The limit on dairy products is there to protect the Canadian Dairy Farmers and the duty on dairy products over the limit is 300% . . . Remember that next time.

He let us go! I couldn’t believe it! He let us go with nearly four times the amount of cheese that we are allowed. Of course, I felt like a pre-schooler that just got caught with my hand in the cookie jar (or the cheese jar) but he let us go.

FYI, we had 60 American dollars worth of cheese – equal to about 80 Canadian dollars. Multiply that overage by 300% and that would have been nearly $120 in duty charges.

It was our lucky day indeed.

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Image courtesy of Mister GC at

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