At 10:48 AM this morning of June 12th, one of our European representatives and the Managing Editor for Bitcoin Magazine, Mihai Alisie, arrived at the post office to claim 3 large and lately arrived shipments of the Bitcoin Magazine from customs.
Entering the offices and presenting his claim form, a middle-aged Customs Officer began to collect and sort the packages. Both nervous of the condition of the magazines and any taxes or restrictions on the shipment, our Mihai waited patiently as the customs officer sorted through his papers. One box was sealed in a thick plastic bagging indicating some damage. It was this box that the officer chose for Mihai to open.
Handing him a knife, he was instructed to cut the bag open. Clearing the plastic out of the way the officer then cut the box open himself to reveal the contents. Mihai grew more nervous, knowing that the front of the magazine would not only be the face of a guy fawkes mask, but of him behind the mask as well. As he cut the box open, sure enough, the officer noticed the notorious imagery and began a dialogue that will now go down in the history of Bitcoin Magazine.
“What is this?”, the Customs Officer asked.
“Magazines. They’re collectible.” Mihai responded, pointing to the QR code on the cover.
The officer began to cut the other boxes open as well. Upon cutting open all three boxes, the officer returned to the first box where he took out a magazine and started to look inside. Another younger Customs Officer having seen the cover, approached the first officer as he inquired, “What will you do with these? Are you planning on selling them?”.
“No, just sending them to people”. Mihai began to grow a bit nervous. Would his long awaited shipment be confiscated by customs for some technicality? Would he put on a terrorist watchlist in the country of Romania? Would he have to pay an insane amount of taxes just to keep the shipments to our loyal readers going? Mihai’s mind raced as he pondered the numerous possibilities, but he could never have been prepared for what came next.
“Can I have one?”.
The second officer began to look through the magazine, as the first officer excitedly told him “Look at this.”.
To Mihai he then explained, “I’ve been watching the news about ACTA. What’s going on with that?”. After a brief exchange the second officer asked “Can I have one too?”.
Both of the men having received their own copy of the Bitcoin Magazine, Mihai headed off with his partially damaged boxes to his office to begin the long process of expedited delivery across the EU. He’ll never forget this experience, and neither will we.
Vladimir Marchenko, the Executive Editor for Bitcoin Magazine consoled Mihai on his experience with customs, assuring him that people in power who are uninformed have done much sillier things in the past.
“While on an extended assignment for Coca-Cola, I was once detained by the Russian Police in Novosibirsk, Russia at the most expensive and prestigious hotel in the city at the time, the “Hotel Siberia” for ‘connecting computer to a phone line in a hotel’”, he said. “They made a full sweep of the hotel room without a search warrant to indeed confirm that I had used the phone line. I had used 2 clean (not isolated) copper wires to connect to the phone socket. At one point some Police Colonel told me: ‘We here are not stupid, we’ve seen all those Hollywood movies, you must be robbing a bank or something. You should have better set up a brothel there, it would be easier for us to figure out.’”.
It’s not clear just how well known Bitcoin Magazine will get in Romania just yet, or what other surprises await us at customs (in Russia!) but it is clear that when Issue #2 rolls around to Romania customs again, Mihai will make Customs pay for it.
-Matthew N. Wright
Editor in Chief