Originally Posted by chemist5lime
Wow, did you ship expedited?
I used the default for Digi-Key which is FedEx international priority. The projected delivery date of this morning has been updated to indicate that both packages have arrived but are held up in customs. So the FedEx tracking page was hopelessly optimistic since it would have been impossible for either package to clear customs and reach me this morning. I'm glad I didn't bother waiting at home for it.
Instead, after a morning call, I set out on the mission to get the customs clearance for the other package...
Whilst generally correct, details of the instructions FedEx gave me for getting the customs clearance were also subtly wrong.
I started out badly anyway by making my own error of going to the east end of the street looking for the customs building rather than the west end (I think the root cause was that I used autocomplete in google maps and the only option was for the wrong end and I didn't notice the error) but even when I finally worked out my mistake and got to the west end of the street, the address from FedEx turned out to be for a tower block with many companies but no customs service. It took a while to discover that the customs service was technically in the same building but that the entrance was at the back from a different street with a different street name and a different building number.
By the time I found the right place (by asking around the security guards) the customs building had shut for their 1 1/2 hour lunch break so I had to miss my own lunch and wait until they reopened.
Eventually, with the help of another foreigner with the same customs clearance issue and much better Chinese than me, I discovered that the person behind the counter wasn't sure whether or not I would have to pay import duty (the reason given was that it was "the first time" but I didn't understand) but in any case, and despite being a personal purchase, I had to fill in a form which would need the company stamp of my employer.
This form is available online but wasn't one of the documents I'd been instructed to prepare by FedEx. I was also supposed to bring photocopies of some other docs in addition to the originals that FedEx had told me to bring.
The real killer though was the requirement for the form to be stamped with my company's seal. Since my employer is a multinational this meant I had to return with the form and submit a ticket to HR to get them to process the request and instruct the one person who's job it is to look after the company seal to stamp my form.
HR sent a reply indicating that, if the request turned out to be too complex for L1 support they would escalate to a subject matter expert and I should get a response within 24 hours.
So the arrival of my TECs will be delayed behind HR, customs, a further courier operation to get customs cover back to FedEx and then finally FedEx processing and delivery.
None of this will result in a significant delay to the project schedule though: Forever is a long long time