On a recent trip I was at the airport, where a skinny runt with a comical “border force” badge found a pop can, unopened, in my bag, and made me chuck it away. Five minutes later I was through customs and declared safe and in WHSmith, where I bought the same pop can. Safety my arse. They just want me to spend money. Want more proof of that? Go read about the health and safety rules that say the airline doesn’t want its handlers carrying too much weight, then ask why these guys’ backs are suddenly at less risk if you past the excess baggage fee. And i’m not sure two extra kilos was gonna do much harm to the bunch of guys I saw lobbing bags ten feet onto the conveyor belt.
Anyway, border force runt was the final stage of the scrutiny, of course. Where they check your belt and shoes and hats because although you’ve passed signs telling you what to dispose of and have followed these instructions accordingly, there had been no box marked “hidden explosives”, and we might not have thought to dispose of them. Put that on the signs, you airports, it might just work!
So I’d gotten all the way to the final stage and by thus point had fatigued arms. That was from all the shrugging my backpack off and on my shoulder at various points along the mile long switchback queue accordioned into sixty square feet. At the first dumping station there should have been a big bin marked with all the items I was forbidden to carry into the area where I could buy them all anyway. But that would have been a recycling headache for the airport staff. So they get us to do the recycling like some little game to enjoy as we walk. First flight for me, so I didn’t realise what was coming. It seemed like every ten steps there was another sign telling me what kind of item to discard next. I felt like a blackmail victim who’d paid up but was being asked for more. The airport had only asked for my liquids at first, but it had seen how easily I caved in, so now it was asking for my metal items. I counted another eight blackmail signs along the switchback queue, and was quite certain I was going to eventually step off the plane in Malaga naked and toothless.
Even magnets! Forbidden! But virtually everything electronic has a magnet these days. But I didn’t worry about that because the magnet pictured was one of those big horseshoe affairs with the red painted ends.
Obviously, Wile E. Coyote was the one they were worried about.