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Amparo Bertram

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07:15 am: Deskwork days
Last week at work I started my Cargo Desk training. The job of the person in charge of the Cargo Desk involves answering phones, reading faxes, and assigning duties to the other inspectors. The latter two aren't so bad, but sometimes the phone is ringing off the hook with people who want to know what paperwork they need to bring Item X from Country Y, asking if we've received the documents they sent, and demanding that we release the hold on their shipments RIGHT NOW. Honestly, I empathize with people who took the day off work to drive all the way to the airport to pick up a shipment only to find that it hasn't been inspected yet, but if we don't have the manpower to do the inspection, we can't release it. For the people calling, it's their one and only shipment and they are emotionally invested in it, but for us, it's just one of a loooong list.

The problem is, one never knows which shipment might contain contraband, so we can't really just say, "We'll take your word for it, here you go." Even if a person isn't intentionally smuggling (and there are people who do), the shipment may contain an item that the owner never dreamed was prohibited. This is particularly true when it comes to things like chicken extract, where people often don't even read the ingredients closely enough to know that their food contains it. Sometimes the shipper puts items into the package (as packing material, for example) that the recipient didn't know were coming. Some items would be okay with the proper paperwork, but are prohibited without it.

Anyway, I was on the desk from Wednesday through Friday, which is the usual training schedule, and then again on Monday. I was told that I got an extra day because I was so good at it, they wanted my help longer. The way I look at it, working the desk keeps me off the road. I may not enjoy answering the phone, but at least I can't crash and die doing it.

My cargo training module ends on Friday. I'll be going back to passenger baggage on Sunday.

In my free time, I started looking up what house prices are in my area, out of curiosity. It seems that the asking prices for houses in my neighborhood start at a million dollars and go up from there. Yeesh.

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[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:July 28th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
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Yeesh is right.

I just don't see how folks buy housing there.

Bob thinks prices will come down there, yet.
[User Picture]
From:wrenwyn
Date:July 28th, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
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Holy crap, Amparo!! What the hell? A million? That's awful! I thought 256,000. was bad.

Can we at least assume that you live a in a great neighborhood?

Thank you for all your work reports, btw. I've enjoyed reading about your adventures! :)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:July 29th, 2009 12:21 pm (UTC)
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Can we at least assume that you live a in a great neighborhood?

It is a lovely neighborhood, with all the necessary conveniences (groceries, banks, post office, restaurants) within easy walking distance. All of the yards are carefully tended, with flowers blooming everywhere.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:July 28th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
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Housing prices are the one and only reason I'm glad I was forced to leave the Bay Area. (The rest of the time, I miss it like crazy.)

Most people I know who live around Berkeley or LA rent for life. It's not so bad in some ways.

I second wrenwyn -- I really enjoy your work reports!

(BTW, I was terrified of highway driving for at least the first two years I lived in CT. Then somehow I got used to it, and now I speed like a maniac just like everyone else around here. ^_^;;)
[User Picture]
From:manga_crow
Date:July 28th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
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Yay for driving a desk rather than an SUV^^ Overall, it sounds like you preferred passenger baggage over cargo?

At the housing prices; %$&^%, that's a lot >< I agree with your dad though, the CA housing prices are likely to take a tumble real soon, in spite of all the artificial propping up that's been done to them.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:July 29th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
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You know, I used to think that (that housing prices in the Bay Area were surely too inflated to last), but they've only gone up from there, in spite of the housing crash. (And we're talking since the early 1990's, here.) I think the sad truth is that there are just too many (well-paid) people who want to live in paradise by the bay. :-( Prices may take a dent now and then, but like someone said, they're not making any new land.
[User Picture]
From:manga_crow
Date:July 29th, 2009 05:12 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I didn't think of that, really. I tend to forget that there are places like that, there sure aren't very many in MI :p
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:July 29th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
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Heh, check out lakefront property prices sometime. Depending on the lake, they could be as bad as LA or the Bay Area.
[User Picture]
From:manga_crow
Date:July 29th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Point taken^^
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