Didn’t Plan For That In The Pipeline

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2019

(Our European company is producing and servicing pipe inspection equipment. While most of our customers are from Europe, we also have some from overseas. With these, the prevalent way of servicing is to ship the faulty equipment to us for repairs, but some customers prefer repairs on-site. For these cases, our technicians prepare everything that they may need – tools, spare parts, cables, electronic components, various measuring devices, and assorted gadgets — all packed in a big plastic trunk. Such pieces of luggage may look very suspicious in a post-9/11 situation, so when our colleague is traveling to South America via New York for on-site repair, we are joking that the trunk will surely cause bomb alert. But the colleague, a bit prankster himself, shrugs it off with a smile as a “bad joke.” He is wrong, because the trunk is really flagged as suspicious and, instead of preparing for subsequent flight, he finds himself standing impatiently in a separate room with TSA agents around the trunk. The agents, pouncing on the equipment inside with enthusiasm of small boys in a toyshop, are especially interested in camera heads; these devices don’t look like pieces of ordinary electronics, but more like solid chunks of aluminum and stainless steel, designed to withstand harsh conditions. After a while, one of the agents, holding the camera heads in his hands, asks my colleague about them.)

TSA Agent: “What are these devices?”

Colleague: “Camera heads for pipe inspection.”

TSA Agent: “Pipe inspection? What kind of pipes? Gas pipes? Oil pipes?”

Colleague: *grinning* “Sewage pipes.”

TSA Agent: “Yuck!”

(My colleague watched as the agents put everything back and scurried away, probably to wash their hands with a hand sanitizer. He never bothered to tell them that all the spare parts, camera heads included, were just fresh from manufacturing and they had never been in a real sewer. He was just glad that he was able to catch the next flight.)

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It Takes A Surgeon To Get You Through Border Control These Days 

, , , , , , | Working | December 2, 2019

(I am going to a concert with my parents, and my mother is recovering from surgery on a broken hand during which she had numerous pins placed to stabilize the bones. Her hand is also encased in a cast. We go through the metal detectors, and naturally, my mother’s hand sets off the detector. The security guard pulls out the wand to spot-check my mom, and asks her if she has any metal that she hasn’t removed.)

Mother: “Yes, I have six pins in my hand to set the break.”

Security Guard: “You need to remove them.”

Mother: “They’re implanted into my hand and covered with a solid cast. I can’t remove them.”

Security Guard: “You can’t go in with metal. You need to remove the metal and go through the scanner again.”

Mother: “Are you a surgeon?”

Security Guard: “No.”

Mother: “These are surgical pins that have been placed into my bones by a surgeon. They’re not coming out.”

Security Guard: “You still need to remove the metal.”

Mother: *ready to wallop the guard with the cast* “Unless you are willing to pay any medical bills from pulling these pins, they are not coming out.”

(Finally, a manager came over, realized the extent of my mom’s injury, told the guard he was an idiot, and let us through.)

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Some Security Staff Are Not The Sharpest

, , , , , , | Working | November 2, 2019

I am traveling via plane to Seattle one morning for an appointment and coming back later the same day. All I’m carrying with me is a computer shoulder bag. As I go through the TSA checkpoint, I put my pocket clutter into the basket, thinking nothing of the tiny Swiss Army “gentleman’s knife.” The woman behind the counter informs me she’s confiscating it. I protest that’s it’s in guidelines as a less-than-2.3-inch blade. She says I can leave it or stay with it, my choice.

The trip goes quickly; I get my business done and come back, passing through SeaTac TSA with no problems.

A few weeks later, I’m cleaning out that computer bag and in a bottom pocket, I discover a four-inch Leatherman SuperTool multi-tool I’d forgotten about. It went through TSA detectors twice. That’s 4.5 inches long and weighs over nine ounces, and is clearly forbidden, while they confiscated my tiny knife…

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The Hardest Event Tonight Is The Waiting Game

, , , , , , , | Working | October 19, 2019

(My brother has the opportunity to be on a TV competition about physical strength and agility. The show films at night so we all have to stay up to watch. The coordinator tells us that he will be on at 11:00 pm with the other competitors in his group. Not bad at all! It is supposed to be a warmer night, so we only bring sweaters to keep us warm. While my brother stays with the other competitors, the rest of us walk toward the seating area. A security guard stops us.)

Guard #1: “Can I help you?”

Mother: “My son is competing tonight and—”

Guard #1: “And you’ll be called when he goes on.”

Mother: “Oh. We just thought we would watch the other people.”

Guard #1: “That’s not allowed. Go wait outside until it’s your son’s turn.”

Mother: “We can’t watch? Do we have to buy tickets or something?”

Guard #1: “No, only seat fillers and people with the current competitor can be in there.”

Mother: “But there’s barely anyone watching. How do we become seat fillers?”

Guard #1: “Seat fillers can’t be family. Move along.”

(So, away we go to wait our turn. Small groups file in and out for a few hours. Eleven comes and goes and my brother still hasn’t had his chance. We go to another guard.)

Mother: “Excuse me? My son was supposed to run with the 11:00 group and—”

Guard #2: “You’ll be called when his turn comes.”

Mother: “Is there a coordinator or supervisor or someone I can talk to? It’s almost 1:00 am.”

Guard #2: “No.” *turns and walks away*

(It is getting colder and we are getting tired and impatient. Another hour passes with no word. My brother isn’t allowed to have his phone on him, so we can’t even ask if he knows anything. Some of us decide to nap until it is my brother’s turn. I am too excited to sleep, so I stay up as long as I could. Eventually, though, I nod off. My mother shakes me awake and tells me to get up. I open my eyes to see sunlight peeking over some of the buildings. I check my watch and see that it is nearly 6:00 am. Seven hours have passed since my brother was supposed to compete and FINALLY, his group is going. We go back to the entrance and [Guard #1] escorts us to a section by the end of the competition. Half of our group sits down and he ushers the other half to another section. It is far colder than any of us anticipated, so we are all shivering.)

Mother: “Excuse me. Why can’t we all sit together?”

Guard #1: “Gotta fill the spaces. A few small empty spots look better than one big empty spot.”

Mother: “You wouldn’t have empty spots if you’d let people watch.”

Guard #1: *glares* “Okay. Cheer loud, be proud, and don’t shiver!”

Sister: “We’re cold!”

Guard #1: “You should have thought of that!”

Mother: “We would have if someone had said we’d be here all night!”

Guard #1: “Not my problem, lady.” *walks away*

(My brother has his turn and the next person comes up. We all get up to leave but [Guard #1] steps in our way.)

Guard #1: “Where are you going?”

Mother: “We’re leaving.”

Guard #1: “There are more runners in the group. Go sit down.”

Mother: “And we would have stayed to watch had we not been here all night waiting.”

Guard #1: “What?”

Mother: “[Son] was supposed to run at 11:00 pm. That was seven hours ago. I would have sat here all night and watched everyone compete, but you said we couldn’t be here.”

Guard #1: “Well, I—”

Mother: *holds up her hand* “I understand that you’re just doing your job. But I hope you understand why I’m not willing to sit here anymore.”

(My mother pushes past the man, who stands there in stunned silence as we leave. When we are just beyond the exit, the guard decides he wants the last word.)

Guard #1: “Hey! Thanks for being true fans of [Competition]! Great team spirit!”

(The next season, my brother was contacted and asked to compete again. He declined.)

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These Online Filters Have Seeped Through To Real Life!

, , , , , , | Working | October 2, 2019

(I work at a company that requires you to use an ID badge to get through the front doors. However, rather than having an automatic reader you scan, there is instead a manual, hand-held scanner that the person behind the reception desk will use to scan the ID. If they get the green light, they’ll then hit a button behind the desk to open the doors. On this particular day, I get to the desk while I am still trying to pull my ID out of my pocket. The lady behind the desk is someone who I’ve never seen before.)

Receptionist: “You need to present your ID.”

Me: *cheerfully* “Yep, sorry. It got stuck in my pocket.”

Receptionist: *rolls her eyes* “If you don’t have an ID, you aren’t getting in.”

(At that moment, I manage to pull it free of the fold it was stuck on, and hold it out.)

Me: “Right, sorry. There you go.”

Receptionist: *not even looking at my card* “You need a card to get in.”

Me: *slowly wiggling it back and forth* “Yes, it’s right here.”

Receptionist: *turns away and starts fiddling with her computer* “I can’t just let you in without an ID.”

Me: *frustrated at this point* “I know, which is why I have my ID right here.”

(She doesn’t respond, leaving me standing there with my ID out. After a moment, one of the security officers for the building comes over.)

Officer: “Is there a problem?”

Receptionist: *wheeling around* “He’s trying to get in without an ID.”

(The officer looked between the card in my hand and the receptionist, before reaching over and picking up the hand scanner. He didn’t say a word as he scanned my card, the light flashed green, and he then reached around and hit the door-open button behind the desk. Throughout all this, the receptionist kept looking at him, continuing to not even acknowledge that my card existed. I left at that point, and I haven’t seen that woman at the desk since then. I’m still not sure if this was some sort of weird power play on her part, or if her brain really was filtering out the existence of my ID card.)

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