Public Relations

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I’m sitting here in Vancouver airport waiting for my plane back to Sydney. I’ve just taken a three hour bus trip back from Whistler, picked up my bags out of storage, almost lost my wallet, and traipsed from one end of Vancouver airport to the other with a trolley full of bags (and my $175 box) looking for the right check-in to catch my plane back home.

I eventually found the desks for International check-in, only to be told that I had to backtrack over to the check-in for the United States departures because the flight goes via Hawaii. I pointed out to them that Sydney, Australia was not part of the United States and that perhaps it was not very clear, but they just shrugged and went back to what they were doing.

So, I made my way through US customs, and you’ll be pleased to know that the approach to customer relations from the US Border Protection people has been extremely consistent. They are just as humourless and abrupt here in Vancouver as they have been at every other US border crossing I’ve been through. Come on guys, lighten up! We’re not all terrorists, and as the front line face of the United States to international visitors, the public relations damage you guys do to American tourism is just outrageous. It wouldn’t hurt to smile, to say hello, to act like a human being occasionally. I’m pretty sure you can be just as effective at protecting your border and keeping the terrorists out of the country, even if you do occasionally smile. Keep up the great work you’re doing keeping your country secure, just learn to treat your visitors like the valuable people that they are instead of making us all feel like we’re trespassing on your precious American soil.

After a quick snack and a rather delicious fruit smoothie thing from Starbucks, I finally arrived at the departure gate where I plugged my Mac in for a final burst of charge before boarding the long flight back to Australia.

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