Explosive Turning Point Clickers

Disclaimer: this is not a rant about the TSA. The TSA representative who searched my bag today was very professional, very courteous, and not a jerk in any way. I think he would also agree that I was totally composed, totally calm, and did not make a single snarky remark. But still …

Today while traveling to Traverse City I attempted to to avoid the hassle of checked baggage since I’m only gone for two nights, and since Delta/Northwest is developing a bad habit of sending my baggage to alternate destinations. I’m heading to an ETOM event and it seemed like a perfect time to bring a small carry-on in addition to my laptop backpack and just breeze through the airports without a care. Wrong.

I will be using the Turning Point clickers during my keynote address about Web 2.0 tomorrow at the Higgins Lake Retreat. I needed about 60 of them for this smallish event, which is mainly hands-on except for the keynote. I couldn’t bring the padded case for them since then I would have 3 carry-ons. So, I put about 10 of them in my backpack and placed the rest of them in two ziplock plastic bags in my other carry-on. Sure enough, those little devices looked like a problem to the bag scanner and my bag was pulled out of the line for a strip search.

After I explained to the TSA agent what they were used for, he determined that they needed to be swiped, much like they will sometimes swipe a laptop with a little white cloth disc that does something (or at least they want you to believe that it does). He determined that they needed to be swiped – INDIVIDUALLY. So, I had the pleasure of standing there while he rubbed the cloth over each and every one of the fifty potential explosives. Oftentimes I travel with anywhere from 250 to 400 of those little plastic pieces of nothing. Better arrive at the airport extra early for that next trip.

Of course, this makes about as much sense as the whole ziplock bags for your carry-on liquid containers. You can’t have a container larger than 3.4 ounces (or thereabouts – it seems to change from time to time). So, you can’t bring a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo on board, but you can bring four of those little 3-ounce bottles of the same shampoo as long as they’re inside the ziplock. BECAUSE THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.