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Yo Ho Ho and My Bottles of Rum

An iconic act of TSA piracy.

by
Hannah Sternberg

Bio

May 21, 2014 - 9:17 am
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Hi PJ gang! I’m back from an adventure-filled trip to St. Croix, where I helped a friend capture and study America’s rarest lizard, and met some interesting characters along the way. You’ll hear those stories another day soon; for now, let’s talk about the TSA.

On my last morning on island, my friend took me to the Cruzan rum factory. While Cruzan was acquired by Jim Beam several years ago, it’s still operated by the same local family that has run it for generations. You can tell locals are very proud of their brand; the other rum factory on the island is Captain Morgan, which has only been operating from St. Croix for two years, and if you walk into nearly any bar, you’ll see rows upon rows of delectable Cruzan rum varieties, and perhaps one or two bottles of Captain Morgan stuck in the corner.

I had just enough time to squeeze in a factory tour before heading to the airport. At the gift shop, I was bummed that I couldn’t pick up any nice large bottles to take back, because I wasn’t checking my bags. The tour guide told me I could buy the 18-bottle variety pack of airplane bottles in different flavors, and then dump them all into my TSA-mandated clear plastic toiletries bag. Sounded clever; other people had done it!

My 18 airplane-sized bottles of rum fit neatly into my plastic bag. I hugged my friend, and prepared for the journey home. However, in the TSA line, I was stopped.

Agents informed me that the scanner told them I was selected for additional screening. My bags were hauled onto a table for examination. The agent assigned to me held up my plastic bag and said, “Too many.”

“I don’t understand,” I said. “Everything fits in my bag. All the bottles are the correct size. I thought I was allowed to take whatever I wanted that would fit.”

The TSA agent told me my bag was too large. That confused me as well; I told her I fly frequently, and I’ve always used that size bag, often full to the brim (I have a beauty regimen, okay!), and I’ve never been stopped or informed it was incorrect.

“You come from the big cities,” she told me. “They’re too busy to stop you, they have too many people. We have plenty of time here, so we enforce all the rules.”

Now came the reckoning. Do I ditch my cosmetics, or the rum?

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
TSA is another reason to loathe Bush the Junior. TSA was unnecessary after 9/11/2001. No one was ever going to hi-jack another plane without a fight from the passengers and crew. But the big government Republican Bush had to create another government bureaucracy and it was another police department. He grew the police state. I quit flying because of it. Now, when I fly, I fly private.
Someday, the terrorists will figure out a more effective and spectacular method of terrorism than hi-jacking airplanes, but the TSA will still be with us, shaking everybody down.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
They would have taken the phone.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
> “Do you have a banana flavor in there?” she asked at one point.

Just in case there was any doubt about what was really going on.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (25)
All Comments   (25)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
There is something I find utterly repulsive about a nominal agent of the law using their power to commit petty theft.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perhaps you should take your TSA approved cutlass with you next time to repel boarders. Arrr!
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Time to start fedexing stuff home.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah. Coming back from St. Croix in January, they dug into my CHECKED bag and found 'too much liquid' unwrapped a bottle of Cruzian Velvet Cinn I had carefully wrapped in dirty clothing and carefully placed it in that same 'garbage bin' ~ two other bottles were left. As I stood waiting for my hubby, to get through the shake down with his CPAP, another agent came up with a paper bag, bent down, bagged the booze, and disappeared into that back room. I think staying tanked the entire shift on pirated passenger booze must be one of the benefits of the TSA job on the island.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Official gov't fascism at work via the Gestapo TSA
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sad to hear. We are headed to St. Croix soon. Last time we were there, they confiscated the handful of shells the kids had gathered and the bananas we packed for a snack. The bananas we supposedly an agricultural quarantine. On the other side of security in the boarding area, the snack stand was selling the very same bananas we got on the island that probably arrived on some ship from a foreign country that also serves the mainland.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very interesting article.

If I am ever forced by circumstance to break my vow to never, ever, get on another plane, I will remember to take along an oversupply of rum.

"Yeah, that almond-flavored stuff is REALLY good!"
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thats a load of crap. Demand to see a supervisor and make a scene. If they still won't let you take your bottles, either drink them right there, or make a point out of opening each one before you pour it in the "hazardous liquid bin" masquerading as an ordinary trash can.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not really an option, Harald. The supervisors are in on the gig, and they WILL make you miss your plane. With only 3 or 4 planes leaving the island each day, they know that you will not complain. The cost of a bottle or two of booze, and the humiliation isn't worth the cost. Plane tickets are expensive, as are hotels, taxis, and messing up your schedule.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
TSA is another reason to loathe Bush the Junior. TSA was unnecessary after 9/11/2001. No one was ever going to hi-jack another plane without a fight from the passengers and crew. But the big government Republican Bush had to create another government bureaucracy and it was another police department. He grew the police state. I quit flying because of it. Now, when I fly, I fly private.
Someday, the terrorists will figure out a more effective and spectacular method of terrorism than hi-jacking airplanes, but the TSA will still be with us, shaking everybody down.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly the DHS was the price Bush 43 paid to get the Dems on board for the war. It would have been more worth while, in retrospect, to just say "heck with it" and let them piss and whine. We'd be where we are today anyway without the surveillance police state on our necks.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
AT least Bush the Junior went to war and killed quite a few of the Muslim monsters so they knew they had a been in a fight. Unlike your man lilly-livered B. Hussein, who has never met a dictator nor a terrorist he didn't love and was willing to sell his country down the river for.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"AT least Bush the Junior went to war and killed quite a few of the Muslim monsters so they knew they had a been in a fight."

Yes, and didn't finish the job.

Tell me, what exactly did Bush II accomplish? What have we got to show for all our blood and treasure?

Nothing. Exactly NOTHING.

Oh, I don't doubt that he meant well. I don't doubt he's a patriot (unlike his father!), but he's not a wise man, he's not a well-educated man, and he got led around by the nose by a bunch of his daddy's advisors (Rumsfeld & Cheney, for example).

20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama is not "my man". Just because I'm not a fan of Bush doesn't mean I prefer Obama. I hold the Bushites largely responsible for Obama getting elected. Think about it. How does a loathsome old geezer, without the requisite sex appeal to garner women voters, John McCain, get the GOP nomination, without help from the Bush camp? The Bushes had no interest in the GOP winning in 2008, that would make it very difficult for Jeb in 2016.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
If I was a terrorist I would go after the long lines at the airport gates. Seems like a no-brainer target.

I would also consider a friday night high school football game in Iowa (or some other podunk place where security is a lone rent-a-cop). Hitting the football game would not just kill a bunch of people, it would also scare the beejesus out of everyone in small town America. When it comes down to it, the people in "flyover land" could care less that a few New Yorkers got wasted in the towers. (yeah, thats an unpopular thing to say, but its still the truth) And for terror to be really effective it needs to scare everyone, not just people who work in tall buildings or fly on airplanes.

But that won't happen. Not because the terrorists can't do it, but because they aren't stoopid. They got enough pushback with 9/11; if they hit small town America even the feds won't be able to stop the backlash.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's a good chance that there would be a dozen or more concealed carry in the crowd, as well as several rifles in trucks in the parking lot. The rent-a-cop is also likely actually a policeman, with a few colleagues in the crowd, with all of them being hunters. So, not quite as easy at it sounds.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Backpack bomb, not an armed assault. It's like the old maxim, "You can't stop an assassin that is willing to die to commit the crime"
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
> “Do you have a banana flavor in there?” she asked at one point.

Just in case there was any doubt about what was really going on.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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