Friday, October 2, 2009

Fighting the Last War

I went into Home Depot today for 2 things: a can of turpentine (for thinning my oil paints, and cleaning my brushes), and a package of single-edge razor blades (for a variety of purposes, but right now, for helping to remove the labels from some empty wine bottles—I like to save the pretty ones).

I found a clerk on the floor, and asked him where I could find razor blades. He pointed me to a corner of the section, and told me he would me meet me over there in a minute. Confident that I could find them without additional assistance, I headed off towards the corner to find what I needed, only to discover the real reason why the clerk told me he would meet me there; the razor blades and related supplied were locked in a cage.

I can't imagine they were locked up for theft-prevention purposes, as, understandably, a store might do with their more expensive merchandise. (A package of 100 blades ran about $12.) They don't carry the blades to the register for you, and there is plenty of other merchandise of a similar size and cost that is unsecured on the shelf. The only feasible explanation that I can think of for locking them up is that the 9/11 terrorists used box cutters to take control.

When the clerk rejoined me, I pointed out what I wanted, and as he unlocked the cage, the following conversation took place:
"Do you have any ID?"
"Can I see it?"
"What will that prove?"
"That you have ID."

Satisfied that I did, in fact, have ID, by a cursory glance at my driver's license, which I did not bother to remove from my wallet, he retrieved my requested items from the cage, and I was off to find my can of turpentine (which, along with other highly flammable, was not similarly secured), and then to check out. I didn't bother to stop to show the door clerk my receipt.

A few thoughts:

Mohammed Atta had ID. I wonder if he got it so he could shop at Home Depot
• I hope terrorists don't find out that you can buy razor blades in supermarkets
• Things are going to get a lot more inconvenient if MacGyver ever turns his back on his country

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