Arts Desk

Deleted Scenes’ Merch Seized at Canadian Border

Blame Canada: Deleted Scenes got screwed at the border.

Monday afternoon, D.C. band Deleted Scenes was on its way from Harrisburg, Pa., to play a gig in Montreal. But, like generations of indie groups before them, the band ran into major problems at the Canadian border.

Officials seized 47 records, 88 CDs, and about 50 t-shirts, amounting to roughly $1600 in merchandise. The band posted a plea on Facebook: "This is devastating," the post said, and asked fans to kindly buy Deleted Scenes merch online. "Help us get back to zero." The band is in the process of appealing, but they don't expect to get anything back—border officials said the merchandise would be destroyed.

What happened? Well, frontman Dan Scheuerman, 29, says it was all a big miscommunication. A border official asked, "Do you have any commercial goods that you're bringing to sell in Canada?" The answer was no—the band had commercial goods, but its members did not intend to sell any of it in Canada. (Paying taxes on the total amount of merchandise was too expensive; Deleted Scenes had only booked one show in Canada, and selling all the records that night was unlikely.) Had the official simply asked if the group had merchandise at all, Scheuerman says they would have answered "yes."

But that's not what happened. Later, officials searched the vehicle and found records in plain sight. One official—a young guy Scheuerman says seemed a little "power-drunk"—accused the band of lying about having merchandise. "He saw the opening, and basically went the whole way," says Scheuerman.  He seized all of the merch, and said they'd have to pay $650 (a quarter of its $2600 retail value) to get it all back. The band couldn't afford that, so members paid what they could—around $250 to recover 50 12-inch EPs, nine CDs, and about 20 t-shirts. (They opted to take just the small and medium sizes.) Total losses: About $1800, including the $250 they paid to recoup some of the stuff.

"The real sad part was when we were going through the records and choosing which ones were gonna be destroyed," says Scheuerman, "because they were all handmade and it was a really depressing ritual to go through." But the show in Montreal was sort of cathartic. "After a pretty rough day... tensions were really high," he says. But later that night, "We played a really kick-ass set so everyone was feeling really good after that. The show kind of cleansed us of that experience, in a way."

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Pingback: Afternoon Showers: David vs. Goliath, Maple Leafs vs. Flyers, Your Ears vs. This Heat « Pinna Storm

  • James D

    This is sort of obvious stuff if you're crossing the border. You mail it to someone in Canada and pick it up when you get there.

  • DAR

    They were obviously planning to sell some of it in they lied and got caught. They took a chance and it didn't pay off.....quit your bitching guys. Next time, (1) don't lie, (2) don't cry about it when you get caught, and (3) they really should have known to look up what's required for international travel prior to going. Consider this an expensive lesson for items 1 & 3.

  • Sara

    James -

    No one can think of everything. Maybe it's obvious to you, but it's not obvious to everyone. I think you should go buy some Deleted Scenes merch just for suggesting the do something ILLEGAL to sell their stuff in Canada.

    Let me help you:

    All the best,

  • PTRQ

    It's pretty cynical to claim they were lying. They were on tour, so they had merch with them to sell. They were playing one date in Canada, and the easiest/cheapest solution was to just not sell anything at that show. They didn't have anywhere to store their merch so they left in the van. A border guard insisted they were planning to sell it, even though they were planning to leave it in the van. Sure, it was a mistake to try to bring it over the border, I'm sure they'd admit that, but it was the best option at the time.

  • DAR

    "..selling all the records that night was unlikely." So they weren't planning on selling ALL of them....but obviously they were going to try to sell SOME of them. And really...they go to a show and won't break out any of their merchnadise to try to sell? I find that very hard to believe. If they planed on selling 10% of their items, they could have claimed that....but they didn't do that. Did they? No. They lied and expected the border guard to just take their word for it. Don't get caught and cry about it.

  • Lee

    Canadian border patrol is notoriously bad about this sort of thing. Power hungry? Yes, absolutely. I've experienced the same thing myself every single time I've crossed to play shows. Same thing with friends in other bands. Even when you're completely honest, have completed your mandatory paperwork, paid your fees, etc. I think the worst time out of the several times I crossed is when the agents accused us of carrying drugs (which I can assure you we were not). We provided them with 5 hours of entertainment that day as they brought out their drug dogs, interrogated us individually, and threw all of our stuff in the van onto the asphalt. They never did find these "drugs." I'd be happy to completely bypass Canada on all my future tours. Nice people, terrible border patrol.