TSA Donates Potentially Explosive Liquids To "A Local Homeless Shelter"

A reader wrote into BoingBoing with the following:

A couple weeks ago my family came to New York, where I live, from my hometown near Salt Lake City. Before leaving, my mother had purchased a small tube of lotion and put it in her purse. When she got to the security checkpoint at the airport, she realized she still had the lotion. She handed it over to the TSA worker who told her that it would be donated to a local homeless shelter. Could it be that the FAA ban on liquids is really a plot to rid the country of homeless people, through the use of explosive liquids?

We imagine that TSA agent has fun sitting around thinking of various things to tell people when they ask what will be done with whatever gooey menace is being confiscated. Hey, at least they didn’t sell her lotion on eBay. —MEGHANN MARCO

TSA donates potentially explosive liquids to homeless [BoingBoing]
(Photo:Joel Franusic)


Edit Your Comment

  1. chrisgoh says:

    If they are concerned enough about the safety of these things such that I can’t take them on the plane, shouldn’t they be destroyed. Or are they testing each of these products to make sure they are actually what they are listed as being prior to donating them.

    TSA to homeless person – “Yeah, um that bottle of water we donated to the shelter and you drank,…um, sorry, but it turned out that it was not actually water, but as long as you don’t combine it with that bottle of soda we gave you, everything should be fine. Oh, you drank that too…umm, wait here…TSA agents begin running away.”

  2. davere says:

    They also shouldn’t be throwing them all together in a big bin. It’s just pointless security theater.

  3. Indecision says:

    @davere: I don’t think “security theater” is even an appropriate term. It suggests that there’s some appearance of security, but all I see is pointless posturing.

    If this is what passes for “theater,” they should probably replace the TSA agents with high school drama students. They’ll probably do a better job of acting.

  4. Youthier says:

    Obviously they don’t really think this stuff is a security risk.

    My question is why do people continue to insist on attempting to bring this stuff through security? Yes, it’s a stupid rule but it’s the way things are. All you are doing is holding up the line for yourself and everyone else.

  5. seawall says:

    so what are your favorite “dangerous” items you’ve seen in the bin???

    Kraft salad dressing
    a honey bear
    nitroglycerine (oh wait, that’s dangerous, you probably would get in trouble for having that)

    why would someone have two bottles of kraft catalina in her purse?? so funny…

  6. CaptainRoin says:

    @missbrooke06: I’m thinking most people forget. While the majority of people flying are probably business type peoples that fly every week, the rest are just going on vacation and don’t have the 3 1.5oz. whatever limits memorized.

  7. s00p3rm4n says:

    That’s strange; “Gooey Menace” is my porn name!

  8. @seawall: Don’t people take nitroglycerine for heart problems?

    why would someone have two bottles of kraft catalina in her purse??

    I hear that airline food isn’t very good. Maybe she was going to cover up the taste of whatever was getting served.

  9. Hoss says:

    Which reply is best

    1) we send them to the landfill closest to Al Gore’s place;
    2) we bring them to Walmart, claiming they are returns
    3) we give them to women’s shelters where dozen’s of inocent babies get a soft behind

  10. phrygian says:

    @chrisgoh: I totally agree. If these liquids aren’t safe enough to fly with, they shouldn’t be considered safe enough to give to anyone else.

    I have a feeling that the TSA agent might have been trying to make the lady feel better by telling her that the (perfectly good) products wouldn’t be just thrown away. I can’t imagine any homeless shelter accepting and distributing already opened/partially used goods.

  11. magic8ball says:

    I am all for donating useful, usable items to the homeless. However, if I wanted to dontate my toiletries to the homeless shelter, I would do it myself. This story is as good as admitting that there is NO POINT in banning/confiscating all this stuff. LET ME TAKE MY DAMN WATER BOTTLE ON THE PLANE.

    Sorry about the shouty. This really bugs me.

  12. Youthier says:

    @CaptainRoin: Yeah but they watch the news. I guess I’m a little OCD but before I began flying regularly, I always checked guidelines as far as suitcase weight and number of carry-ons. With all the news stories and the signs plastered from the check-in counters and on the websites, I don’t have much sympathy for people who block it all out.

  13. CavemanJim says:

    Over this past weekend I went to Seattle. My wife and I bought some fish at Pike Place Market and the fish was packaged with ice in a styrofoam container, taped shut, and then the container was sealed into a carrying box and taped shut. I attempted to carry the fish through security, and the scanning technician alerted other agents to the presence of potential “gel packs” in my fish container. The agents confiscated my ice packs, requiring me to obtain new ice from the coffee vendor 100 ft from the screening area exit.

    I needed to buy some “secure” ice because my ice could have been an explosive? Why was my solid confiscated as a liquid? This was the most ridiculous TSA action I have experienced.

  14. lonelymaytagguy says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: Yes, many people carry nitroglycerin tablets for heart disease. Mythbusters did an episode recently about rumours of patients blowing up when defibrillator paddles were put on nitroglycerin patches on their chests. The myth was busted. I’ve hit the tablets with a hammer and nothing happened, either.