Just in time for the Thanksgiving travel rush, the Boston Globe has a news article about a surplus store that resells items surrendered by passengers at airport security checkpoints:
[The Transportation Security Administration] does not like to say they confiscate items. "They're surrendered," Davis said. ..First, there are the accidental things, the sort that travelers might understandably forget they had in their possession. The core of this cache is pocketknives and tools, such as screwdrivers and corkscrews. They get them by the thousands, so many that there is an entire subculture of resellers who start waiting in line two hours before the surplus store opens so they can pounce on the newest inventory and then turn it around on eBay....
TSA collects so many miniature multitools and Swiss Army knives that each model has its own bin at the surplus store, where they sell for $2.
The next major category is the laughable...
Snow globes. Come on, TSA.
The ban on snow globes, which were outlawed along with many liquids and gels in 2007 after an apparent terrorist plot in London to use liquid explosives on US-bound planes, has long been the subject of ridicule and a source of bewilderment for souvenir-toting passengers who are not aware of the edict.
Though the agency relaxed its standards this summer to allow snow globes that contain less than 2.4 ounces of liquid, the surplus store still gets enough of them that you can buy 10 for a dollar.
I'm against hijacking and for a tough line against terrorism, but the whole thing strikes me as veering awfully close to an an excess of government power and offense against private property rights.