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how to politely ask the TSA to change gloves after searching other people's shoes?

how to politely ask the TSA to change gloves after searching other people's shoes?

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Old Feb 7, 04, 10:59 am
  #1  
barkingcat
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how to politely ask the TSA to change gloves after searching other people's shoes?

I was going throught securiyt for a flight to LA last Thursday. The people in front of me were asked to take there shoes off and the shoes were CAREFULLY examined by the TSA agent with latex gloves. Oh man, those shoes were really stinky. Even people at the end of the 15-person long line were muttering something about those stinky shoes.

Unfortunately, I was the next one to be searched. Thanks to the portable projector and laptop in my carry-on. Also in the carry-on were my clean underware and shirts. Using the SAME pair of latex gloves, the agent went through my stuff...

I didn't say anything because I was really late for my flight and didn't want to cause a scene... To put it politely, my stuff now smell like those people's stinky shoes...

What shoudl I do next time this happens? How can I politely request the TSA agents to put on new gloves before going through my stuff?

Thanks!
 
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Old Feb 7, 04, 11:42 am
  #2  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by barkingcat:


I didn't say anything because I was really late for my flight and didn't want to cause a scene... To put it politely, my stuff now smell like those people's stinky shoes...

What shoudl I do next time this happens? How can I politely request the TSA agents to put on new gloves before going through my stuff?

Thanks!
</font>
Yuck.

Insist they put on new gloves. Be polite at first of course, but I would refuse to let them anywhere near my stuff with out fresh gloves.
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Old Feb 7, 04, 11:58 am
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Potentially, you have no recourse. Ask, even politely, and you could be in for harrassment. Such harrassment would be impossible to prove because they have qualified immunity to lawsuits.

I would use clear plastic bags to isolate sensitive items like panties or underwear. One might also rinse them later. For the most part, body odor is yucky, not harmful.
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Old Feb 7, 04, 12:10 pm
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"I'm going to need you to change your gloves." in a polite, firm voice always works.

Make sure that your tone of voice indicates that it is a statement and not a request. Be prepared for childish reprecussions such as a delay or a more thourough search, but do not take no for an answer, even if they have to go and find a box of clean gloves.

They should not even be going through your belongings unless there is something that cannot be identified on the x-ray. Going through your stuff with filthy gloves is completely unacceptable.

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Old Feb 7, 04, 12:37 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Spiff:
"I'm going to need you to change your gloves." in a polite, firm voice always works.

Make sure that your tone of voice indicates that it is a statement and not a request. Be prepared for childish reprecussions such as a delay or a more thourough search, but do not take no for an answer,
</font>
TSA people are sometimes terse, sometimes friendly. What is your order (not request) has the following response:

TSA: Step back, sir.
TSA: You have the right to refuse inspection. However, such refusal will result in denial of access to the gate area.
Passenger: (again) I'm going to need you to change your gloves.
TSA: Step back, sir. If you disobey, you will be resisting an order from a federal officer. You may be subject to arrest.
TSA: Please follow me to the rectal inspection room. We will complete this search in about 30 mintues. (The TSA agent does change her gloves for the rectal exam).
TSA: Oops, I dropped your laptop. You can file a claim and see what happens.

They don't owe you an explanation. However, they may later say that the gloves are intended to protect the TSA agent, not the passenger's things.

My advice is to choose your battles carefully and try to protect yourself by packing with clear bags as someone suggested.

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Old Feb 7, 04, 12:41 pm
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If the shoes were that stinky, I might plead a change of gloves.

"Oh, those shoes were so stinky"
"Would you change your gloves so my things won't be stinky. It would also prevent the smell from getting on yourself, too."

After that, I'd still be prepared for being treated like a concentration camp prisoner like I mentioned above.
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Old Feb 7, 04, 12:48 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Human Unit 763246B:
TSA people are sometimes terse, sometimes friendly. What is your order (not request) has the following response:

TSA: Step back, sir.
TSA: You have the right to refuse inspection. However, such refusal will result in denial of access to the gate area.
Passenger: (again) I'm going to need you to change your gloves.
TSA: Step back, sir. If you disobey, you will be resisting an order from a federal officer. You may be subject to arrest.
TSA: Please follow me to the rectal inspection room. We will complete this search in about 30 mintues. (The TSA agent does change her gloves for the rectal exam).
TSA: Oops, I dropped your laptop. You can file a claim and see what happens.

They don't owe you an explanation. However, they may later say that the gloves are intended to protect the TSA agent, not the passenger's things.

My advice is to choose your battles carefully and try to protect yourself by packing with clear bags as someone suggested.

</font>
No, I am not going to do that - the TSA should not be going though my stuff in the first place. I will call over a supervior if my request is ignored. There will be no rummaging of my items with dirty gloves. Period.

I have a legitimate concern for my health.

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Old Feb 7, 04, 1:11 pm
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I wonder if you could sue the person individually in small claims court for intentional destruction of property press charges of assault (if he threatens you)?
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Old Feb 7, 04, 1:26 pm
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That is a hard one. I would request it and even call a Supervisor if necessary, but you are looking at a possible delay because they will not take it too lightly. My wife is a F/A and a lot of the times they harass the crews worse than they do passengers. Will call a bag check before the bag even passes the x-ray machine. Go figure!
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Old Feb 7, 04, 4:10 pm
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While I don't normally agree w/ Spiff on TSA stuff (and don't on whether they have the right to search - not gonna win that argument w/ him or them & not going to hijack this thread :P) in this instance, I do agree w/ his comment re: firm statement & one other person's above re: reason for it (ie, smelly).

I think a polite firm request (or statement)for clean gloves because of the stinky shoes is a legitimate way to do it, and unless you're belligerent they'll probably comply. Of course you will be delayed a bit more, but worth it not to have stinky stuff.

I've done that w/ the shoe thing. I don't take my shoes off before going through the x-ray. I tell them I'm willing to go through secondary. Most of the time because I don't set off the machine, no secondary. Ocassionally, yes. Then when they ask me to take my shoes off & do the wanding thing, I politely tell them I'm willing to stand if they can find something clean (paper towel, whatever) for me to stand on, but that I'm not going to stand on a dirty floor (I'm ALWAYS polite btw). I let them know I'm not trying to make their job harder (well, maybe a bit ), but that it's a health issue for me & not a non-compliance thing. They either find something clean for me to stand on, or I get to sit on the chair (feet up a bit off floor) until my shoes have gone through, & then put them one/we do the wanding thing. It doesn't happen that often, & I'm willing to do it if it does - and being polite has always resulted in them being courteous as well.

I think if you're polite, mention your reason for asking, and let them know you're not trying to argue w/ their authority, they'll be polite back & it's not a hassle - especially in your case - hey, you poor thing - having to touch those smelly shoes even w/ gloves - would you be kind enough to get a new pair so that my clothes (fill in the blank) don't smell like it. Thanks.

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[This message has been edited by SkiAdcock (edited Feb 07, 2004).]
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Old Feb 7, 04, 5:11 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by sowalsky:
I wonder if you could sue the person individually in small claims court for intentional destruction of property press charges of assault (if he threatens you)?</font>
The TSA will have immunity for this. You will have to file it in federal court (US District Court). My guess is that the filing fee is $150. The government will file for summary judgement on behalf of the individual for qualified immunity. The case will be thrown out by the federal judge.

If you sue under a state small claims court, the judge will throw out the case based on improper jurisdiction and/or qualified immunity.

Ask a lawyer. They will probably say something along the lines of the above. Any lawyers?
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Old Feb 7, 04, 9:01 pm
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I have found the TSA folks to be very polite. On the rare occasion that I or any of my belongings have been searched by them, they have been courteous and professional. I think a simple request along the lines of,

"You know, that last guy's shoes really stunk; would you mind changing gloves"

would be more than sufficient. And if you happened upon an uncooperative TSA agent, I would politely ask that s/he call over a supervisor (but I would be surprised if it came to that).
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Old Feb 7, 04, 9:40 pm
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Back in the days when people were pulled randomly out of line at the jetway door to be searched, I carried several pairs or clean latex gloves and politely asked security folks to either put on fresh gloves and if they said they didnt have any, I gave them a pair from my bag. I got a few odd looks from them, once a supervisor was called over, but in the end I was never refused. I don't need anybody touching my underwear!
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Old Feb 8, 04, 10:27 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by PhxFlyGuy:
Back in the days when people were pulled randomly out of line at the jetway door to be searched, I carried several pairs or clean latex gloves and politely asked security folks to either put on fresh gloves and if they said they didnt have any, I gave them a pair from my bag. I got a few odd looks from them, once a supervisor was called over, but in the end I was never refused. I don't need anybody touching my underwear!</font>
I didn't have my own, but the other alternative I have offered is that the screener and I go to the bathroom and both wash up. They have managed to find clean gloves every time. Perhaps they are hydrophobic?

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Old Feb 8, 04, 10:30 am
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Thank god those days are over. I had to do that to people and absolutely hated it. Not only were they irate to go through it again, but then they thought that you were discriminating against them in some way. Being a Supervisor I had to show up on many occasions to talk to irate people who refused to go through the screening at the gate. Thank god no more of that.
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