I recently returned from Stalingrad.
Not really, it was San Francisco; but, except for the climate, telling the difference often isn't easy.
I was there for a Ford event introducing the C-Max Plug-in Hybrid. Where better than Stalingrad on the Bay to launch that?
First let me say that the TSA people at the San Francisco airport are consistently the nastiest, least helpful, laziest representatives of an organization often celebrated for its nasty, unhelpful, lazy troops that I have encountered.
Since TSA unionized, it can only get better, right? I'm sure the word from union leadership that it's all about serving the public and making flying safer just hasn't trickled down to the rank and file in San Francisco.
I flew out of San Francisco four or five times this year and each experience in security was as bad or worse than the previous one. My single worst experience this year -- so far -- was in Newark, but San Francisco is bad trip after trip after trip.
On this most recent trip I made it through the person who looks at your ID, looks at your boarding pass and then scribbles on it only to get up to the long table ahead of the x-ray conveyor just as the last gray bin disappeared from my station.
After about 15 or 20 seconds of nothing coming through the machine, the guy glued to the monitor looked around and noticed the bin shortage. He interrupted an agent chatting up yet another agent -- neither seemed to be doing anything beyond discussing last night's big game -- and pointed out the problem. This guy saunters out, grabs the empty bin cart and ever so slowly rolls it back into the secure area.
I can see him very methodically -- politically correct for "slowly" -- stacking up some bins that he places on the cart in bunches of three or four. Meanwhile TICK EFFING TOCK!!!
Where do they find these people? Apparently TSA headhunters combed the list of San Francisco DMV workers on disability to put together this crack team.
After assembling two stacks of about 10 bins each on his cart, Mr. I-Love-My-Job begins sauntering back toward the non-secure area where people are beginning to really stack up behind me. Suddenly I see him pause and start chatting up yet another agent with nothing to do. I'm standing there watching as they yuk it up for several seconds before he resumes heading my way.
As this is happening the agent with the taxing job of repeating over and over again what needs to come out of our pockets and bags, and go into the bins, finally realizes my line has no bins. Does he transfer some bins from the stack 2 feet from him to our line? Hell, no. To the end of his next spiel he simply adds, "unless you don't have any bins, then I guess you'll just have to wait for some."
Thanks, Shecky. Har har.
And wait I did. It probably took Flash two minutes from the time he grabbed the empty cart until he returned with 20 bins.
Our tax dollars at work.