Businessmen nabbed smuggling iPhones into Europe
Earlier this week I witnessed the most amazing event at Frankfurt airport. For the first time in twenty-plus years traveling to Germany on business, I saw customs officials stopping and searching businessmen (that's right, middle-aged white men with neckties) at the 'Nothing to Declare' exit to baggage claim.
Even more amusing, in every standard-issue, black, scuffed carry-on bag, the custom officials were finding one or two beautiful unopen black boxes containing brand new iPhones. The businessmen were looking on in horror as these little treasures were being confiscated (iPhones cost Euro 999 in Germany versus $399 in the US). Slowly, the businessmen were being led to the mysterious backroom, normally reserved for the distinctly foreign, for punishment.
Luckily, one hapless traveller was smuggling an unopened Bluetooth earphone. This particular type of electronic contraband confused one group of customs officials who left for the mysterious backroom to consult the tariff experts.
Using this opening, an enterprising Delta pilot asked the remaining official if the rest of us could proceed. With the slightest nick of approval, a maelstrom of travelers hurried through the 'Nothing to Declare' exit.
Once I reached the safety of the terminal, I subconsciously touched the two unopened iPhones bulging out of in my khaki Hartmann garment bag. I took out my personal iPhone (I was one of the suckers who paid $599 for the iPhone) and sent an email via our company's Open-Xchange server to my contacts, "the presents have landed, bring cash, no credit cards accepted").
Postscript: The irony continued when the buyers discovered that evil Apple had locked down the software with a new release of anti-hacking code. Now they need to wait for the open source community to figure out a new hack and unlock the SIMM card.
Tags: IPhone , Frankfurt , Euro , Test
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