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Chasing The American Dream

March 30, 2006

BUCKING THE SYSTEM

I was in no mood to remove my shoes. I mean, they DID say “recommend” removing your shoes, but they didn’t say it was a requirement. I watched all the people in line before me and with only one exception, everyone took of their shoes. I noticed an airline pilot didn’t. That was good enough for me. His shoes made it through and they were black dress shoes. I had on sneakers and a bad attitude from leaving Andy.

After the TSA agent once again announced the ‘recommended’ shoe removal, I told the guy in front of me that I was bucking the system and wasn’t taking off my shoes. Yeah, you know where this story is headed.

The TSA agent waved me up to the metal detector area and stopped me. “Let me see the sides of your shoes,” she said. I showed her. She told me to remove them so I asked her why. “The soles are too thick. It will require a manual search.” Well, of course that steamed me. I asked her, “Why recommend shoe removal? Why not just require it?”

I angrily put the sneakers on the conveyer belt and passed through the metal detector. No problem. I went over to get my shoes, laptop, and bag. I got the shoes and the laptop but no bag. Then I saw a TSA agent holding a black bag that looked like mine. He was asking another passenger about it. The passenger seemed befuddled and with good reason. It was my bag. I told the agent so. He told me the bag required further review and told me not to touch anything. This is what’s called getting even for the shoe incident.

Now get this. This is the fourth time the bag has gone through TSA security in the past two weeks with all my back-and-forth trips to Phoenix. It had never been searched and I told the agent about it. He basically ignored me and asked me if I was aware of any sharp objects that were in the bag. Without even thinking, I naturally said no. So he searched each compartment, showing the entire airport my worldly possessions. iPod, cell phone, sweet n lo packets, ear plugs, nasal spray, Eggo cereal, Werther’s candy, bottle of water. All the essentials.

To me, I was thinking they had already x-rayed the bag so the agent must know where the trouble was. Yet he kept up the dramatic show until he finally whipped out my key chain. Uh-oh. My short-term memory forgot about the mini Swiss Army pocket knife tool. Busted. The agent told me he had to confiscate the illegal carry-on item unless I knew someone at the terminal who could have taken it or unless I mailed it to myself for $2 while filling out a mountain of paperwork.

Then another agent showed up. I complained to both of them that I thought the rules had changed and that the little pocket knives were now acceptable. The new lady agent sternly told me that the rules HAD changed, but the knife was still prohibited. My disposition got worse. “Take it,” I said. “Take the biiiig imposing weapon!” Goodbye pocket knife. Yep, I asked for it and I got it. It just goes to show you, you still can’t fight city hall.

6 Comments:

  • I guess my attitude is totally different. The TSA people don't write the policies, they just have the unfortunate job of enforcing them.

    I take off my shoes to speed up the process. I don't carry knives of any size. (And yes, I've lost some really nice nail-care items though security.)

    I'm sorry that leaving Andy is so heart-wrenching. I can't imagine how hard that would be.

    Hope your next flight is better!

    By Anonymous ~K, at 1:48 AM, March 31, 2006  

  • I'm not a big fan of airport security either, but being contrary with them will get you nothing but a body cavity search.

    By Blogger Lyss, at 1:13 PM, March 31, 2006  

  • Everytime I land or pass in the Usa I ALWAYS have troubles... last time, for example, I spent 1 h at the custom to explain why I was in the States because the found strange that I ve been in the Us for 4 times in 12 months...I lost my connection flight and I had to take the first one the day after (5.30 A.M.) and after the x-ray a policeman stopped me and told me "Miss you have been selected from United airline for an inspection"... an old policeman started to open all my luggages while a policewoman was inspecting me (like in the movies)and the other passengers where looking at me like a criminal...

    Ciao:-)

    By Anonymous Elisa, at 2:00 PM, April 01, 2006  

  • I've learned that you can buck the system, but there's almost always a consequence so it's best to choose your battles with care.

    Best wishes.

    By Blogger ropedncr, at 11:26 AM, April 03, 2006  

  • I have a friend who travels quite frequently. Her idea of bucking the system is to wear the nastiest smelling shoes she can possibly find. It may just be a little thing, but its something.

    There was a recent report that came out (I don't know the stats) that stated a lot of things are still getting passed through airport security, including guns. But it's good to know they are getting all those lil' Swiss Army pocket knives ;)

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 3:08 PM, April 03, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 10:36 PM, April 10, 2006  

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