February 29, 2024 at 7:48 am

Government Customs Insisted The “Contents” Of An Empty Package Needed To Be Declared, So Employee Sent Them A Hilarious Response

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Reddit/AITA/Shutterstock

There are certain things that are lost in translation. When you’re dealing with another country, culture, and language, confusion is bound to crop up.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t take patience to sort it out, though.

OP regularly ships empty boxes internationally, for items to be returned in them with the shipping paid.

I work in IT, and we were sending out empty boxes for people leaving the company to send their laptops back in.

It was a good process.

South African customs insisted he declare the contents of the box.

We didn’t have any issues until the first time I tried it in South Africa.

They just couldn’t accept the idea the box was empty, and kept asking me for the contents.

Over and over again.

So he thought about it, and complied.

It came to a point where I’d had enough. You know that bit in The Martian where Mark Watney’s been told not to swear on worldwide live TV? That was my reaction to being told it was simply not possible to ship an empty box.

One quick google later to double check I was right, I listed the contents as follows:

78% nitrogen (N₂)

21% oxygen (O₂)

0.93% argon (Ar)

Trace amounts of other gases including methane (CH₄), carbon dioxide (CO₂) and neon (Ne), among others.

I included the chemical compositions just to be extra petty to be honest.

It’s satisfying to think they got the joke.

I only received two more emails on the subject – one to say that my box had been released from customs, and another confirming delivery.

Oddly, I never had any issues after that.

The top comment says customs could have come back with more questions.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This person has a different idea, too.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Consider yourselves warned.

Source: Reddit/AITA

Of course, you can’t count on it.

Source: Reddit/AITA

And this person has some actual good advice.

Source: Reddit/AITA

This is insanely clever.

I hope I would have been smart enough to think of it, too.

If you liked that story, check out this one about a Costco customer who got their cart stolen… so she hatched a plan to get it back!