TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington recently had his new boat seized by the US Government for failing to sign false documentation. That’s right, the US Government wanted him to sign paperwork that was filled-out incorrectly, and for not breaking the law, he lost his boat. So what went wrong and how the heck can this happen in 2013? Let’s start with a picture of the kick-ass boat Michael is getting (I’m not sure if this is the right model but I know it’s made by Coastal Craft.
Cool boat right? It’s not an insane mega yacht but Michael Arrington is not known for being an incredibly flashy guy so this is about all he’s splurged for after selling TechCrunch. The boat is made in Canada so Michael had to head up the coast from Seattle to get it.
When trying to bring the boat through customs he notices an error on the form. The invoice price had been copied onto the form, but moved to USD from CAD. At the bottom was one of those government signature boxes that pretty much says, “if you sign this and anything on this form isn’t correct, then you’re in big trouble.” I don’t know about you but I definitely wouldn’t sign it, small errors like these are a big deal to the government…or so I thought.
Apparently when Arrington went to point out the error to the customer officer she told him to sign it anyway, even though the document had an error on it. What happened next makes absolutely no sense to me, they seized the boat. That’s right, because Arrington wouldn’t break the law the US Government took his boat. In his description of the event Arrington says:
“What struck me the most about the situation is how excited she got about seizing the boat. Like she was just itching for something like this to happen. This was a very happy day for her.” (THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY STOLE MY BOAT TODAY)
Sorry but this just sucks. As Arrington says in his post about the event, it will be worked out, but what a stupid hassle to go through when you’re actually just trying to be a good citizen.
What can we all learn from this? Sometimes people are unhappy in their own lives, so they take it out on other people, this can happen anywhere from the government to innovative companies like Apple. You can’t control how someone’s life turned-out, or how they handle their own disappointment with life. I try to stay far away from unhappy people, life is too short and there are too many passionate inspired people that I want to be around!