As I attempt to bring some product over from China for my business, I have had the pleasure to encounter a few women today who provided some degree of help. The vocations of 2 of the 3 are known. Since the vocation of the last is unknown, I have taken the liberty to assign her a role that I found as humorous….
- The Broker: Last night (Tuesday), the company representative from a Chinese company provided me a piece of paperwork referred to as an ISF (Importer Security Filing). After approximately 10 emails went back and forth last night (morning time for China), I realized even though our emails appeared to both be written in English, we were not communicating. (Before I ordered this product, I really tried to sort all of this out so this problem would not occur. Either I was unable to properly express this concern OR the Chinese salesperson just wanted the sale and was not concerned about any hiccups that might effect me on this side of the Pacific pond.) With my inadequate understanding of Chinglish, I was left with only one option–I needed to call the company in Los Angeles that was receiving the container from China that carried my stuff. As I spoke to Alexa this morning, I turned on my charm OR my absolute cluelessness could not be disguised. She gave me two options to resolve my problem:
- You can go down to your local customs office and file the ISF
with them (they will walk you through it) just make sure to take all your
documents with you. Since I did not know what paperwork and I did not have much time before the cost of my importing went up (I believe I have 48 hours after the boat casts off in China to get the paperwork filed.), I did not see this as a viable option.
- We can file the ISF for you, but you will have to wire transfer
$200.00 and fill out a POA with our Customs Broker. I didn’t like the cost, but I believed the cost was a fair trade when balanced against the potentially higher cost of failing to file the paperwork in a timely manner. As part of this option, I needed to get a piece of paperwork notarized at the bank.
- You can go down to your local customs office and file the ISF
- The Banker: I have worked with the banker quite a few times. She is always glad to give me a helping hand. Although I don’t recall, she claims I often have an entertaining story or two. Today, I can only recall my elevated stress level. I needed to get a deposit and a wire transfer done. Fortunately, these were quite easy. The challenge was the Power of Attorney document. It needed to be witnessed by someone other than a bank employee. So, being a resourceful person, I asked if any of the clients in the bank lobby were available for this task. Once permission was granted, I turned on my charm, or more appropriately, made a beeline for the only person in the lobby.
- The Candlestick Maker: I have no idea what this person does. I didn’t need to know. All I needed was a signature confirming her as a “witness” who saw me attach my signature to the Power Of Attorney document. I needed nothing more from her. I didn’t need to tell her what I was ordering from China. I didn’t need to try and sell her on the legitimacy of what I was buying. Frankly, I did not even need her real name. I only needed to have a signature of someone or something as a “Witness”. If I were to choose someone to sign my document I would not have chosen a mousey woman like her to do it. My standards were thrown out the window when “eenie-meenie-minee-mo” was not an option. After I practically coerced her to sign, I did feel a bit badly. Those feelings were easily ignored in light of the pressing need to get the paperwork done. Conscious clear–Keep moving on!
As I continued to talk with the banker as I worked my may through the task, I did find out my tactics on “Mouse Woman” may have been solely responsible for removing the lobby as a potential recruiting ground for “witnesses”. Should I ever need a witness again (unlikely I would ever have such a tight time table, but certainly possible), I have my strategy planned. I will comb the bank parking lot or the health club nearby. I will bribe a person (or buy them Subway across the street) to have them volunteer as an associate or friend or fellow cabalists. Whatever the contrived story, it will keep the machine of business moving forward and the sweat shops of China active.
- The Model: As I was taking my walk along a long strip of sidewalk running parallel to a railroad track, I saw an object growing in size as approached the crest. As I continued to get nearer, I noticed a young lady in a one piece bathing suit on the railroad tracks. There was a gentlemen guiding her movements while he had camera in hand. He had her do a sitting pose one way and then the other as he tried to make the most of the mid-afternoon sun. Once I realized the photography session, I falsely assumed it was a girl getting senior pictures taken (or something like that) Although they may still have been senior pictures, my closer proximity revealed the coloring I attributed to being shadows were actually tattoos covering about 1/3 of the areas her bathing suit did not cover. I did not stare as I past. I looked down at the camera bag that originally grabbed my attention. I just said a little prayer hoping my daughters don’t decide to get tattooed in the same way.
- The Phone Jockey: When coming home from my walk, Tru Green had placed their service paperwork in our front door. I usually don’t look at it, but this active brain of mind seemed to be demanding it be fed something. As I looked at the bill, it appears we only had 1 sq foot of our yard treated. Since I already prepaid for this years treatment, I will admit to feeling pretty ripped off. I called the customer service number and finally talked to someone (a she someone so she qualifies for being included) after being told a few times of the high call volumes and how I was insane not to leave a message. She checked old service orders, and seemed to confirm the recent order was probably a typo. She offered to have the technician call me, but when the “retreatment” option was offered, I did what any loyal customer would do – I said, “Yes, thank you!” Since this was just yesterday, I am anticipating seeing another work order again soon with more realistic numbers.