Welcome To France

A couple weeks ago, someone sent me a thoughtful gift from the US.

A few days later, I get a bill from the delivery company; 42 euros for taxes (the gift was valued at 80 euros, making the tax about 55%.)

So I head to the office of the delivery company, where they show me the official rules for gifts sent and received in France:

“If someone sends you a gift, they must write on the paperwork ‘Unsolicited Gift'”, they explain.

I reply, “So next time I receive a gift I should refuse it if it doesn’t say ‘Unsolicited Gift’ on the paperwork?”

No, by then it’s too late. If someone’s going to send you an unsolicited gift, you need to tell them to write ‘Unsolicited Gift’ on the paperwork.”


I stand there for a moment, looking at them to see if they perhaps detect any bit of irony there.

And do they?

I reach for my checkbook.

Welcome to France.

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  • September 20, 2005 10:27pm

    Darn, that sense of humor could add up!

    Your post is duly noted as good advice for those of us who like to do food exchanges.

  • September 21, 2005 12:11am

    That happened to some friends of mine in Scotland. Apparently the package containing a sweater and a card was randomly chosen to be “taxed” around 40 pounds… even though the sweater itself was only worth about 20.

  • September 21, 2005 3:45am

    Umm, this just happened to me as well. Thanks a lot, UPS. I essentially paid for my own birthday gift, or at least a large part of it.

  • September 21, 2005 4:31am

    man, that’s awful… luckily so far my parcels from malaysia have never been taxed (and i hope i never will be)!

  • September 21, 2005 7:56am

    Oh man, this is a long ongoing battle of mine. Even when my family DOES write unsolicited gift nine times out of ten I get hit with the bill. I have begged and pleaded with my mother to put a nice low value on the items she sends me and what does she do? She goes into the post office and tells the postal worker “My daughter told me to lie on this form. What do you think I should do?” Ma’am, it’s a FEDERAL OFFENSE to lie on a customs form…!

  • September 21, 2005 11:26am

    I don’t mind paying taxes (er, well…) but 55% is insane.
    Isn’t my blogging about Paris enough support for la Belle France?

  • Alisa
    September 21, 2005 12:43pm

    It is moments like these that the inner scream begins in my head. After a few instances, I began to question my own sense of logic; irrational thoughts entered my head, and I started to think “maybe it is me, maybe I am just not thinking clearly”. Then I snaped out of it.