Y’know, I get that TSA has to check bags regularly and randomly as part of their work keeping the skies safe from terrorists. I get it. Really, I do. But right now, they are one of my least favorite organizations.
After I left full time comic work, I rarely flew. From about 2000 until 2010, I could probably count the number of times I flew on one hand. When I started work at Full Sail in 2011, I flew very regularly until 2013 when the family joined me in Orlando. I probably averaged flying every third week for that year and a half. Not once…not ONE single time did I ever receive a notice that my bags had been examined.
When I went to The Geek Gathering in The Shoals area of Alabama recently, I arrived there to find a note that my bag had been examined. Not a big deal, it was mostly full of the work I’d written so that I could have it available at the show. I noticed, however, that the plastic sign that I normally put my name on, or sometimes put a comic in it, and display on my table had a chip and a crack. While it upset me a little, the sign is over ten years old and had probably seen it’s better years.
So I sighed and went on…and didn’t think another thing about it.
Until I returned home…and opened my suitcase to find another note from TSA that they’d pilfered through my bags on the return trip, too. In their repacking of this sudden invasion of my “stuff,” they failed to repack it the way I had it, causing a different plastic display to break and lose part of the back that holds it up: it won’t stand up—it won’t “display” anymore. And this one is a brand spanking new display—it had been used all of ONCE!
Now, here’s the problem I have. I still don’t really have a problem with them looking. I’ve got nothing to hide and so I really don’t care. However, I take a LOT of time packing my breakables very carefully, surrounding those things with my table cloth and with socks and tee-shirts. I take meticulous care because I know the airline doesn’t handle my bags with the same care that I do. I get it. It’s part of flying.
But when you open my dang bag and pilfer through it as part of your job, take the time, care and consideration to pack it back the way you found it. I’m not asking you to add padding, just put it back like it was. If you can’t do that, then keep your hands out of the bag and go find a real bomb or something more dangerous than the comics and novels I write.
The item is worth about $45 bucks, which, granted, is not a lot of money in the overall scheme of things. But it’s my $45 bucks, and it’s a big deal to me. I’ve either got to find a way to fix it (without using duct tape, the Southern answer to everything broken, because of how that would look) or go buy another one.