Saturday, September 10, 2005

To Suck Ass

To: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov
Subject: Shoe off, shoe on, shoe up.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I wonder if you are aware of how poorly your administration’s policies are applied by its employees at airports across the United States (and territories). In the past year, I have been witness to violations of your “TSA Shoe Screening Policy” in the following airports: New York LaGuardia & JFK, San Juan P.R, San Francisco CA, and Raleigh N.C. The shoe policy has not changed over the past year, yet it is so consistently violated in such far-flung airports that I wonder if even management discreetly encourages its infringement.

To be clear, no one has merely “recommended” that I remove my shoes. In each of the airports I’ve cited, TSA employees have required that I remove my shoes regardless of their shape and lack of metallic content. In the early afternoon on Monday, September 5 at RDU I listened as a television video recommended that I remove my shoes — for what reason it recommended this I can not imagine. I prefer shoes, so I declined and passed through the metal detector without setting of its alarm. Nevertheless, the gentleman on the far side ordered me to go to back up and send my shoes through the x-ray, saying that it did not matter “if my shoes set off the alarm or not.” I later passed this information on to the overseeing TSA supervisor, who admitted the employee was in violation of the policy and said he would “speak with him.”

How is it possible that this employee and the half-dozen other violators I’ve encountered in the past year fail to understand a very simple policy? It says clearly on your website “You are not required to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector.” Is it some kind of joke to them? Is it some kind of joke to you? I’m sick and tired of fighting with your employees, who must be frighteningly daft or are sadistically pleased in forcing everyone to march around barefoot. Either way, these are not people I want to be responsible for my protection, nor are their sloppy and permissive managers.

Each time I fly, I hope that the situation has resolved itself in some obvious way. Each time I am gravely disappointed. You have two options: 1) change the policy to suit the whims of your daft or sadistic employees, or, 2) get your employees in line! By failing to adapt to a simple procedural change in the course of over a year, you’ve proven your entire organization to be incompetent.

Please let me know when it’s safe to expect TSA employees to follow TSA policy.

Doctor Barnett