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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TSA: Stickler For The Rules?

I'm currently 26 years old, and on paper possess many adult-like qualities such as having a steady job, a car, a house, a retirement account, and a pet. In fact, the only thing that that really separates me from being a true member of the adult world is my lack of a life partner. (JD doesn't count...) But luckily for the Peter Pan in me, I am in zero hurry (i.e. have no prospects) to change that fact and am perfectly content to keep living the life of a young and immature frat guy (hi JoeCav!). But that's just me, and this past weekend I had the pleasure of going to NYC to celebrate the marriage of my friend Billy to his high-school sweetheart. It was a great (short) ceremony, and the party afterwards was awesome. And then the next morning, my "adult" friend Billy woke up early to head off to some Carribean Island with his wife, while I woke up late with a terrible headache, a lost cellphone, a dim memory of a girl in a blue dress, and a half-eaten pack of Starbursts in my pocket. Looks like I have some more time before I'm ready to transition from being an adult "on-paper" to being an adult in the real world...

But anyway, the point of the post (i.e. my weak segue as to how I'll be relating this to hot sauce) was that the weekend was also the birthday of my best friend JC. Despite a childhood devoid of spicy foods, he (I'm going to toot my own horn here and take a lot of credit for this) has really embraced hot sauce and now can take down 20k+ with ease. So for his birthday, I decided to buy him a bottle of my new favorite sauce (check out my really boring post from two weeks ago for more details).

As you can see on the label, the bottle is 5oz.

The TSA has their old 3-1-1 rule (which actually should be the 3.4-1-1 rule since you are allowed to have up to 3.4oz) which I knew would be a potential issue... But I felt there was a chance it could get through the X-Ray machine unnoticed, and at worst I was confident in my abilities to charm any agent and skate on through unscathed. Sadly, Eagle-Eyes on the security machine noticed the bottle, and a big guy was waved over and told to search my bag. He found the unopened bottle of hot sauce, identified the writing on the bottle where it disclosed the 5oz volume, cross-checked said volume against his 3-1-1 rule, and came to the determination that 5>3.4, and so the bottle needed to be destroyed. Tact One: Charm. I made a joke about the hot sauce's name (Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally), but was met with a blank stare, so I decided that charm was out of the question. Tact Two: Misinformation. I then proceeded to tell him to look at the ingredient list (Tomato Paste, Pepper Extract, Vinegar, Molasses, Soy Sauce, Salt) and that he would see that this was not in fact a liquid or a gel, but really was a vegetable in a bottle. He was about to go for it, but then a rogue neuron randomly fired in his little brain and he said "soy sauce.... that's a liquid". Tact Three: Simple Math At this point I was getting a bit perturbed and closing in on boarding time, so I decided to concede defeat and admitted that it was possible he was right. I then told him I would dump out half of the bottle, and then proceed on my merry way. At this point, the cretin looked at me blankly and said "the bottle still needs to be destroyed". I told him politely that the rule he was so gallantly enforcing was for liquids more than 3.4 oz. And if you dump out half of something that is 5 ounces, the remaining liquid is only 2.5oz. He still didn't understand why this was relevant, so I told him that "last time I checked, 2.5 was less than 3.4". At that point the same rogue neuron fired again, and he realized what I was suggesting, and also realized how stupid he was. But sadly for the Birthday Boy, Mr. TSA decided at this point that he would rely on the age old defense of "you are right but it doesn't matter", and that he was going to destroy the bottle anyway even if it only had 2.5 ounces.

Nothing like being a stickler for the rules as long as it suits you, and then throwing the same rulebook out the window a minute later when it no longer suits you. But hey, at least he is keeping everyone at Denver Airport safe from dangerous airborne scoville units!

1 comment:

  1. It really is sounding more and more like you're back in the house man's room. Sorry about the sauce loss.