Monday, August 27, 2012

Just a Little Extra Money

We're finding out (as if we didn't already know) that in China, money will get you everywhere.

Last Thursday, it got Erik a fast pass through the exit health exam for Scout. For the base fee, he would have had to go back two more times and do all the paperwork himself. For 100Y extra, he only had to go back once and do the paperwork. For 250Y, he only had to go once, they did the paperwork, he got a guide to take him to all the checkpoints (including that cotton pickin' microchip) and they sent the results to us by messenger the next day. Yes, I'll take option 3 for 250Y please Alex. Best 250Y we've ever spent! So that was an unexpectedly easy moment.

This morning, I received the invoice from the cargo company that is handling Scout's excessively early (7:30 am for a 4:25 pm flight??) departure from China. In the place of "airline fee" I saw the number 11,521Y, putting our grand total over 15,000Y once he threw in his cargo processing fee. $2,000+ to ship our dog back to the States? Dude, she's not made of gold!

I've held up pretty well through all of this transition, but this pushed me over the edge because I was sure that all manner of reasoning would not get that fee back down to what it should be. Basically, they were calculating her weight based on the size of the enormous crate we had to buy for her according to airline regulations and decided together they would weigh 101 pounds. Yeah, they weigh 30 pounds. I was prepared for a fight, but when I contested the fee, I got a prompt email that said, "Ok, you can pay 4,937Y."

I'm sorry, where am I again? Is this China? This never happens! Oh wait, it is China because then we saw he added 1,000Y onto HIS fee because he had to, and we quote, "have a profit." Friends, I believe what we have here is a case of someone thinking the "rich" foreigners will never look at the invoice, so why not ask a little extra? But when it turns out that said foreigner who calls (Erik, not me - I hate phone calls) has stellar Chinese and has to pay this fee himself (instead of his company paying), he finds another way to make a little money.

So either we offer it up front or they take it from us. Either way, money moves the world around here.

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