The Eukanuba Affair!
Ever heard of Eukanuba? The only time I would come across Eukanuba was in Australia at the vet’s. There would be little sample bags of Science Diet and Eukanuba for my dog to test out. It was ridiculously expensive, and nobody I know would ever buy the Eukanuba food. Science diet was a little more affordable, but still way out of my reach!
Anyway, I had been living in the USA for a while, and regularly flew home to Canberra. So often in fact that I would often just fill up my luggage with random stuff because I had a generous luggage allowance with my airline status. This meant my luggage would look more like a shopping bag then a travel bag.
Leaving the USA I would carry lots of goodies that were relatively cheap in the USA and good to give to friends, mostly confectionary and chocolates. Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo Cookies,…
On my way back from Australia I would stock up on weetbix, ‘Safe’ toilet paper (wrapped in brown paper and made from unbleached recycled materials they did not go down well in the USA), Tim Tams,…
One trip back to the USA I landed in LA, collected the wrong suitcase from the belt, went through customs, and checked the suitcase on my next flight to DC. Arriving at midnight in DC I picked up this same wrong suitcase again. Katherine had come to pick me up and told me that was not mine! I checked the label and sure enough it said Doctor Xyz from Sydney!
I immediately called the Sydney number, and a lady answered the phone (it was mid-morning there). Yes, her husband's luggage did get lost! I immediately went to the airline desk and got it shipped back to Doctor Xyz, Room 123, Beverly Hills Hilton, Hollywood! The Doctor was on a medical convention for a few days... I wonder who found my suitcase full of toilet paper and weatbix! My suitcase was delivered to my door within 24 hours! Very impressive.
This particular time my brother had bought a new puppy for the family. It was a labradoodle pup called Kimba, and Kimba was very cute. Much cuter then my doggy friends in the USA who were old dogs!
Flying with an empty suitcase just seemed so wrong, but I was not inspired nor had any requests to bring anything back. After the DC – LA flight I suddenly decided to buy a large bag of Eukanuba as a pressie for Kimba. I checked with the Qantas counter staff if dried dog-food would be allowed through Australian quarantine. They said that since it was dried meat, not fresh, and in a sealed bag it should be no problem. Eukanuba is a lot cheaper in the USA, so this seemed like a novel plan to fill my empty bags!
The airport staff told me Petco was on the main drag into the airport, not far at all, but I would need a taxi there. I called the store and got a price. Outside the LA airport I tried to get a quote from a few taxi drivers to drive me to there and back. They could/would not give me an indication short of ‘not much’. I was not impressed with the cabby’s pathetic attitudes, but eventually got into one.
The cabby was not knowledgeable, and was a pain to deal with. He got me to the right shopping centre, but I had to get out and ask for the pet-shop. There was no way the cabby could not have known where the Petco was unless he had just arrived in town like myself. Petco is a huge nationwide pet-store chain. Acres and acres of pet products, complete with a grooming corner.
I got my bag for $25 and raced back to the other side of the mall to where the cabby stood. He drove me back to the airport and told me it was $25 on the meter. He then told me he could not accept a credit card – despite the fact it had the stickers on the window. I told him I only had $20 cash, and basically got away with it. I used to drive cabs and normally would tip drivers, but this dude was a pain in the old proverbial and deserved a slap in the face!
When I flew into Australia I had to declare the dog food on my customs/quarantine form, and was directed to the red-lane. There I was politely told that it was contraband and would have to be destroyed. No pet-food allowed in any form! The other option was to keep it for me to take back to the USA. So I filled out the form and paid the $20 to keep it for the maximum of a few weeks.
As it happened I staid in Australia a little longer, and called up to see if they would keep it a little longer for me. They would.
Eventually I came back through the airport and collected my bag of prized Eukanuba to take it back to the USA. I had to pay a little extra for the extended storage time. And so I came back to the USA with my dog food.
My girlfriend Katherine picked me up from the airport and ridiculed me on the whole plan, and has not stopped teasing me about it years later! We drove to the nearest Petco store near where we lived and swapped the battered and well travelled bag of dog biscuits for a bag with the senior-food we normally get for our dog friends at home…
Well, there you go, the Eukanuba Affair
Brother Frank with Kimba and family!