Abracadabra, You’re Cleared To Go In

Have you ever gone into a mall or office building, through the metal detector? How many times have they checked you thoroughly, and how many times have they just waved you through despite the noises made by the metal detector?I was escorting a foreigner the other day and when we entered the mall, we met the now-too-familiar metal detector, with a guard standing next to it, complete with a table for checking bags and a handheld metal detector. The female guard just smiled and waved us through, didn’t ask us to empty our pockets to the tray provided, and we passed the metal detector causing it to make the annoying buzzing noise. The guard just kept smiling. The foreigner pointed to the guard and said “That person is no use”. Ha!Only when we enter upper-class hotels, we get the full security check treatment. They even ask you to open the car bonnet (other than the baggage or the rear passenger door, which is standard for entering office buildings and malls) to check. The only instance that they don’t check the baggage compartment is when it can’t be opened from inside by the driver (which is still the case with certain older cars). Even funnier is when the guards are faced with a VW Beetle (not the new VW Beetle), which doesn’t have passenger doors, and the engine is in the rear. In the one time I was in a VW Beetle at a mall’s security checkpoint, the guard just mindlessly opened the left passenger door and looked right and left as though as there was any place to hide anything, let alone a bomb – he forgot about the baggage compartment altogether.Then there was the office building security guard who asked for my ID to enter the building (also standard practice), and wanted to check my bag. I put the bag on the table and said ‘go ahead and open it’. He snapped back ‘are you ordering me to open your bag???’ Well, who asked first?I also don’t get the guards armed only with the handheld metal detectors. Those things are supposed to detect metal, right? So they check everyone with a bag and do the usual ritual of passing the handheld around the bag. What do you get? 90% of the time, a beep indicating that the bag has some sort of metal content inside it. Then after that what happens? They let us through! Compare this to the ultimately thorough security guards at any airport – they would not let you through until they are satisfied the handheld metal detector does not make a noise. Maybe, just maybe, the handhelds used at malls and office buildings in Jakarta have a different use – the beeps confirm that there are no weapons of any sort in the bag. Wow, I didn’t know Indonesian technology was that advanced.So these guys guard the doors – but do they actually perform security tasks? We hear many cases of pickpocketing and other theivery in malls, with the security too inept to do anything other than barring people from taking photographs of the mall and pointing out where the toilets are.They say the guards and their metal detectors are more of a detterent for any criminal intent – it obviously works so far. And that handheld metal detector is the modern-day magic wand, sorting out the malicious and the virtuous with one wave. Yeahhh…

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About barijoe

Failed Musician, Reformed Gadget Freak and Eating Extraordinaire.

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