Have you ever spoken with the TSA agent working the line? Ever asked them a question, 'what's the holdup?' or 'Hey while you are staring at the x-ray screen can you send the other bag down, the one that passes? Yes, that one, so I can put my shoes on?'
Asking a TSA agent to do something for you will get you a blank stare, at best, and a curt and surly growl more often than not. I've decided to engage them when I can to find out if the grouchiness is universal. I'll ask you, dear readers, to engage them as well. Here is what I found out.
There is no 'customer service' training at the TSA. There is: Revolutionary new intel and threat-based training and new uniforms have been rolled out in every airport in a concerted effort to increase security. New Uniforms -- Wow! Peer Review Program implemented for the TSO workforce which will allow TSOs to have workforce issues and selected actions reviewed by a panel of their peers. Peer review: just like lawyers have! TSO pay for performance awards, totaling $87M in pay raises and bonuses for 99% of TSA Agents. You know who else earned a government bonus?
Yes, there are all those things, but no customer service training, as I found out last month... more on that later
TSA Agents bypass security. Did you know that? They are not screened, they walk right through security with duffle bags, lunchboxes and jackets. That's right, the captain of the plane you are flying on -- who needs no weapon to hijack the plane -- he passes through security screen, but TSA agents just bypass the checkpoint.
If any agent wanted to, he or she could bring in a dozen handguns. A half-dozen hand grenades. A thousand rounds of ammo. Three working together, well I don't want to think about it. These are the same self righteous smug smart-ass agents that, well some are just plain rude. How long before one of 'em goes postal?
Last month, as I am putting my shoes back on, one of them tripped and fell into my back. I didn't see him coming, he slammed into me and it surprised the Hell out of me, So, I'm like 'whoa what's happening?', and he's like checking his uniform to see if it wrinkled or something, and I'm like 'are you chasing a bad guy or something?' and he's like 'uh... I tripped on the seam in this fake wall' and I'm looking at the seam in the fake wall and wondering how anyone can trip on that and he says he's sorry but in that insincere way, as if I ought to be more careful about where I put on my shoes. So, I retort, as in 'you ought to slow down a bit around here'. He didn't like that so he had more words for me such as 'take a chill pill' and then turned his back on me.
I hate it when people turn throw off an insult then turn their back on you, and Officer Sourpuss can't treat me like that, no matter how much I deserve it.
I went and had a little chat with the supervisor. Turns out these clowns get zero training on working with the public. None. Nada zip. According to the supervisor, they "don't need customer service training because they are not providing customer service." WHOA. TIME OUT. What do you call security service you perform for me, the paying public? I shelled out $2.50 -- each way mind you -- for that service.
So, he wants to know if Officer Crabby did it on purpose. No, I don't think Officer Friendly meant to trip-slip and fall into me on purpose, he perhaps was aiming for the X-ray machine and a six-week-long-workman's-comp-sponsored-relaxation-by-the-pool, except I broke his fall. Maybe that's why he has a sad attitude. The super's response was essentially that Officer Slipnfall doesn't need to be polite when he nearly takes out my coccyx.
I find that a little hard to believe, so, I rooted around on the TSA website. Here is what the TSA says about customer service:
Among other things, TSA's pay-for-performance system: Reinforces organizational values: technical proficiency, customer service, communication, teamwork, integrity, ongoing education, continuous improvement, dependability, professionalism, and strong leadership competencies. They also say "Most importantly, you are an essential part of what we do. We strive to balance security with the necessity to treat each of you as if you were our only customer."
Huh? As if you were our only customer? As if?
Then there is a 'service commitment'
Our culture provides passengers a secure and pleasant travel experience. We achieve this through highly-competent and dedicated customer service teamwork and respect. We strive to earn the respect and trust of all airline passengers.So, it seems there is plenty of talk about customer service, but the TSA supervisor at Denver... well, I guess he didn't read the memo...
These same smug public servants, some of them have a serious attitude problem, 99% get the 'performance incentive' and they get a free pass to bring in any contraband they want into the secure area.
And that is just wrong.
Special note to Officer Crabpuss: I hope you enjoy the apple juice you just confiscated from that old lady. Just don't trip and fall into her, she's a lot more delicate than I am, and you are liable to end up on the wrong end of a lawyer with her.
And to think about it, with me, next time. If I only had a brain instead of a conscience. ('Oh! My BACK').
P.S. If any TSA agents want to respond, I welcome the response. I just need for you to pass through our security check first. On the serious note, these men and women work hard, it isn't their fault no one ever actually teaches them treat us as if we were their only customer, the people that pay their salaries.