As is your custom

12 Strange Things I’ve Learned About How International Customs Work

I’ve reached the bit where I need to actually give some serious thought to customs and tax. God help me.

As a Kickstarter creator, I’m aiming to send copies of my indie comic all over the world. Unfortunately, this means having to think about a lot of grown up, complicated looking, and exceedingly dry international customs tables.

International customs regulations table
Notice the scrollbar on the right, and how much of this page is left to read. They’re not kidding around. Source: Universal Postal Union

Most of it is fairly useless information to me, since sending comic books overseas is probably one of the least contraband adjacent things you could hope to post. But I like to be thorough so I gave the list a read anyway, and I couldn’t help but find some entertainment in the wilder entries.

That said, before I go on, I should point out that this article should be considered a tongue-in-cheek look at international customs and not a practical guide to navigating them yourself.

So first thing’s first, I’d like to take a look at…

1) Australia really does not want any of your food

They do not want anything edible. They will get their own food thank you very much.

They are so adamant about this that they have made an exhaustive and extremely specific list of all of the food items they do not want anywhere near their shores.

2) New Zealand completely prohibits any zinc powder whatsoever 

This presumably means that they’re living that one PSA from The Simpsons lampooning It’s a Wonderful Life.

3) New Zealand also completely prohibits umbrellas 

One time Batman’s The Penguin came to visit and ever since they’ve decided it’s just not worth it.

4) New Zealand prohibits “toxic”

Which sounds fair, but also I was under the impression that word was an adjective, not a noun.

5) The United States does not allow ‘Human foods’

In a total inversion of Australia being ridiculously specific about what foods they do and do not allow, the United States simply has several entries regarding ‘human foods’. Which sort of lends credence to that conspiracy theory that the Whitehouse is run by lizard people, disturbingly enough.

6) Canada specifically prohibits you sending them herpes

Which… fair enough. But I feel like there’s a juicy story behind that one.

7) Canada’s arch nemesis: Crochet

Canada seems to dislike people sending them clothes of any kind, but they have a specific category of restrictions against sending them anything crochet. Okay.

Later on in the list, they have a category that specifically restricts crochet fabrics, as opposed to crocheted clothes. Canucks are not fans of knitting, man.

8) Canada also completely prohibits “Krypton”

They don’t need no truth, justice, and the American way. They’ll get their OWN Superman: with blackjack, and hookers.

But who will defend The Great White North from the scourge of knitting now? Source:

9) Canada also doesn’t want… um… I’m afraid to ask

In addition to Canada’s hardcore crochet embargo, they also do not want any impregnated fabrics. I do not know what this is. I do not want to know.

10) Canada places restrictions on “edible offal” which you’re allowed to send them

You do you Canada, but imo there’s no such thing as edible offal.

11) Canada also has restrictions on sending them maple and syrup products

You might think this odd, but the truth is that their syrup is better than yours. They don’t need any of the stuff you’re planning on sending them.

12) where even is ireland?

I legitimately can’t tell if I haven’t been able to find The Republic of Ireland on this website because A) they could be referred to in a number of ways that make them hard to find in an alphabetical list, B) they’ve been lumped in with the UK (which would be extremely weird and unlikely) or C) they’re just so cavalier about their customs laws they haven’t bothered to submit any information on them. Somehow I think it’s probably the first one.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of countries in the world you guys. Like a lot. Some of them may secretly be ruled by lizards in lab coats. Some will never host a Britney Spears gig, and some are repulsed by the idea of Superman in a crochet cape. It’s a good thing I’m only selling comics really.

Kickstarter prelaunch page, showing a button allowing you to be notified on the launch of Zip Issue One, a Grungy Superhuman Comic

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Zip is self-published by Mike Scrase, Bristol UK. © Mike Scrase 2023. ISSN 2976-8721 (print) 2976-8721 (online). No similarity between the names, characters and institutions depicted in Zip with any real life names, persons, or institutions is intended. Any such similarities are purely coincidental. Printed in the UK by Stuart Lloyd Gould.