A few months ago my family kindly shipped some books to me from the United States. Instead of the books, I got a gray form telling me that I have to go to the Zollamt-Nord (Customs Office North) to explain what’s in the boxes.
I, of course, live in South of the city, but nobody thought to send the boxes to the Customs Office South, even though they obviously know where I live. The reason? There is no Customs Office South. There’s only Customs Office North, which raises the question why they would call it the Customs Office North when there’s only one of them in the whole city.
I’m sure everyone who lives in the West, East, and South of the city whips open their phone book upon receiving a notice from Customs Office North to try to find out whether they can persuade the customs goons to transfer the package to Customs Office West, East, or South. Only to be cruelly disappointed. Meanwhile, people who live in the North of the city get the notice and think: Kick-ass! Those friendly, efficient bureaucrats brought the package to the customs office just around the corner! Of course, they are deluding themselves, but really, aren’t we all?
But I digress. After a 1-hour streetcar ride I finally arrive at the Only Goddamn Customs Office in the Entire City to pick up my package. The young guy behind the counter didn’t look like what you might expect a customs official to look like. For one thing, he has a ponytail. For another thing, he wore a black hooded sweatshirt that says "In Satan We Trust — Do What Has to be Done" and was covered with these totally Goth, wikkid-cool occult symbols (see left).
Right next to the counter was a postcard taped to the wall that featured a strange-looking man eating an ugly sandwich on a linoleum table in front of some horribly outdated lemon-motif wallpaper. The motto was "Yes, I admit it, perhaps I look a bit outdated." Just to the right, a customs official had added: "But if love toward our clients is outdated, so be it!"
I’m happy to say that the Satan-worshipping customs official allowed me to take away my boxes of books without charging me anything. Let’s just say he did what has to be done.