Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Score: Homeland Security, 1; Organic Herbs, 0

A friend of my daughter’s was planning to visit her at college over Thanksgiving weekend, and we took advantage of this to courier a large book. While we were at it, and since my daughter was planning to cook a big holiday meal, my wife prepared a bottle of dried organic basil, rosemary, and oregano from our garden.

And then it hit me: the student is from Venezuela. TSA or Homeland Security might think it was drugs, and my daughter’s friend could be arrested or even deported. Ummm, let’s not send the herbs. And then, in a fit of paranoia, I decided that even though we’re 50 and Caucasian, maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring the other bottle of herbs to my brother-in-law in Minnesota. After all, we also have to go through airport security!

I notice a few changes in my behavior. If I’m reading a magazine like Mother Jones (progressive politics), I’ll actually fold it open so the cover is not visible. And I very consciously don’t wear political t-shirts on airplanes. This is not paranoia; I’ve heard of a lot of cases of people stopped for wearing a shirt that had a harmless phrase in Arabic, or a peace message. If I’m going to be on the no-fly list, I want it to be for my writing and speaking, and not for my taste in fashion.

And TSA is consistently bizzare and inconsistent anyway. Once, my son was stopped because he had a set of tiny screwdrivers (about two or three inches long each) to adjust his oboe–like the sort of screwdrivers opticians use to tighten a pair of glasses. TSA said we couldn’t bring the set, but we could bring one of them. I asked if we could each take one, since there were four of us, and four screwdrivers. No, we had to throw the other three away. But somehow, I once discovered a week into my vacation that there was an actual knife in my carry-on bag (a remnant from a potluck where I’d brought a loaf of fresh bread), and that went through security, no problem.

Oh yes, TSA also once made me eat my leftover broccoli and rice noodles that I was planning to have for lunch hours later–at 5:30 a.m.–because I happened to put it in a cottage cheese container! I managed to choke down a few mouthfuls, but it really wasn’t my idea of breakfast–and then I had to buy lunch later. Grrrr!

So, you can rest safe and secure in the knowledge that no terrorists in either Minnesota or Ohio will be smoking our rosemary. doesn’t that make you feel much better?


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