Monday, April 12, 2010

Intelligence vs. Conditioning

The TSA Screener said that I'm a "smart traveller" today.  I told him that I just do it all of the time.  Which got me thinking.  Is it really intelligence, or just conditioning?

I certainly like to think I'm a smart person, but some may think I'm just a smart-a$$.  So I have to think when it comes to navigating the airport security checkpoint, conditioning is more relevant than intelligence.

Honestly, once you get past understanding what can and cannot be brought on to an aircraft, it's really just behavior modification due to simple rewards and penalties.  You know, the whole Pavlov's dog thing.

I travel a lot, so my incentive is to pass through security as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Recently the screeners have been pulling my quart-sized bag of fluids out of the bin and asking me about it.  I tell them that it IS quart-sized and then they tell me they'll let it pass.  Since the bag is oriented horizonally and came with my luggage, rather than a food-storage zipper bag that is oriented vertically it did not meet their expectations of what a quart-sized zipper bag looks like.

I realize a picture to show these two bags together would be beneficial here, but you'll just have to trust me and let it pass.

I'm not sure why this has been a recent occurance.  I've been using the same zipper bag for more than two years with out any issue or questions.  So this morning, right before I left for the airport, I decided to move my fluids to a quart-sized food storage zipper bag.  Then ta-da.... suddenly I'm a smart traveller.

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