Friday, May 1, 2009

"This bag is a disaster", comments from a TSA agent

I am not the neatest person ever. I am very organized but in my own sort of demented way.

Back in March I even posted my 100 mile packing list to the dismay of a friend who was running the 50 mile at Umstead (I would never suggest my 100 mile list is appropriate for a 50 miler because I could probably jettison 2 or 3 items from my 50+ item list!!!!).

Well, on my way to Denver my carry on bag was identically packed with electronic gadgets, more power cords then the average Home Depot and lots of stuff that I really have no idea when or where I might need it but I am too lazy to jettison it.

In fact other then knowing the items in my bag do not include sharp objects or liquids (and all items were placed in the bag by me), I would be pretty hard pressed to know exactly what is in my bag. What is even worse is that it is a triathlon back pack with about 7 side pockets, pockets within pockets, dry pockets and did I mention I have two gallon ziploc bags filled with electronics items including power cords (hey when you take as many pictures as I do you need multiple docking stations for different camera's, of course for running I need my Garmins, a spare alarm clock is good, several powercords are essential so I can challenge the circuit breakers in hotels by plugging all my electronics in, etc.)

My carry on bag may be the bane of TSA personnel's existance. In fact many times my bag gets X-rayed several times from several different angles. This is fine by me because many time it has food so hopefully it is irradiating any potential e-coli or samonella! But usually the TSA agent just send it back through somewhat discretely.

Well this time the TSA agent loudly exclaims "THIS BAG IS A DISASTER!" Now it is obvious to all around me it is my bag for several reasons.

1) the guy in front of my got snagged for wearing a belt and he and his stuff got taken to the closer scrutiny section.
2) the guy behind me got snagged for carrying keys and change in his pocket so had to head back through the person scanner
3) my bag is mostly pink with a little black so clearly belonged to a female.

My bag takes it's next spin around the Xray and the lady continues maligning my poor bag. It's not my bags fault I really stink at packing. She again exclaims, "This bag is a disaster". And my bag takes one more spin through the Xray. Finally it makes it through and no contraband is identified and we are reunited.

As this is going down, I recall last summer when my husband and I had gone through TSA together with the same bag and same issues. Sadly my bag headed back to the Xray for a second time, and in that case the polite TSA screener asked if he could just look through. I said this was fine with me. After about 5 minutes (and only about halfway through the various pockets), Tristan speculates I broke this poor guys spirit and the TSA agent suggested he did not see anything. So I was free to move on with my stuff.

A few months later at BWI they have started playing a little movie about how to pack and seamlessly get through security. Tristan suggested this movie was made for my benefit. It uses as a counterexample a person with a bag that is bursting at the seams and is in dissarray. In my defense since I broke the guy's spirit last summer, I have ziploc'd most of my stuff in my backpack so they can easily grab the clear plastic bag and take a glance at all the stuff inside about 6 times and by the end have only a few items and extra pockets to search.

I wish in my position I could blurt out, "This is a disaster", when someone did something poorly. But in my position we are clearly instructed that we must be diplomatic.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! You own the only terrorist bag that had to be put on the "Do Not Fly" list.

Careful - next time they're gonna waterboard your bag!

Runner Tammy said...

My bag is a triathlon bag... thus, it won't be deterred by waterboarding.

Well, perhaps it will be deterred considering it does not have the floaties my camera has.... (

Jimbo said...

Hi ya Tammy - as scary as your 100 mile list was when I first saw it, I have since copied and pasted it into a word document and saved it on my laptop. Maybe everything is not needed everytime, but it is certainly a really good check list that I plan to use in my future endeavors - so thank you for posting it!

I travel a fair amount for work, and it became easier getting through the TSA check points for some reason when I started packing all my electronic gizmos, power chords, and chargers etc in a seperate "man-purse" within my backpack.

A Plain Observer said...

that wouldn't be considered motivational speaking, would it? I keep a wine cork remover in my purse, hey a girl gotta be prepared and the sharp object has never been stopped, go figure