It's simply not the kind of thing you stock up on, unless you're an eccentric billionaire or a doomsday prepper who can't live without a good paella.
Spice Smuggling Is A Thriving, Dangerous Practice
If you hear "spice merchant" and your mind jumps to naval battles and Mongol hordes, you'll be happy to learn there's still an illicit side to the trade. Even having a few poppy seeds on you can mean a four-year jail sentence in the United Arab Emirates, since they equate them with opium usage.
You don't want to get stopped at the border with this kind of haul.
Meanwhile, other spices have become so expensive that India, a top producer, has a huge smuggling problem. For example, smuggled Iranian saffron is far cheaper than the legal stuff, so the Indian mafia runs a Saffron ring so expansive that police arrest three smugglers a day, on average. Mules cross the border any way they can, and because the return on investment is so high, they're about as expendable as a stormtrooper wearing a red shirt. So in a way, the dumb jokes that kicked off this article weren't entirely wrong. People do still die for spices.
Evan V. Symon is a personal experience team member and interview-finder guy at Cracked. Have an awesome experience you want to share with us? Hit up the tip lines at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more insider perspectives, check out 7 Adventures Of The World's Biggest Pot Smuggler and 5 Disgusting Truths About Every Restaurant (From A Chef).
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 6 Jobs It's Shockingly Fun To Watch People Be Awesome At, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also, follow us on Facebook, and we'll follow you everywhere.
Every year we're inundated with movies that are based on true stories. We're about to get a Deepwater Horizon movie where Mark Wahlberg will plug an oil spill with his muscles, and a Sully Sullenberger movie where Tom Hanks will land a plane on the Hudson with acting. But we think Hollywood could do better than this. That's why Jack O'Brien, the Cracked staff and comedians Lindsay Adams, Sunah Bilsted, Eli Olsberg, and Steven Wilber will pitch their ideas of incredible true stories that should be made into movies. Get your tickets for this LIVE podcast here!