Sandwiches in Security

Facing the Challenge of Consistency

Since we moved Audiomover headquarters to Southern Utah in 2018, I have flown in and out of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas at least 20 times. Although St. George has an airport, it is often prohibitively expensive. And with Las Vegas so close, you can literally save hundreds of dollars on a flight by making the 90 minute drive.

I have been in that particular airport dozens of times in my life, but I sometimes still don’t navigate certain areas of the airport correctly; and I recently had such an experience.

I normally only fly on two specific airlines, and I always go through one of two different security checks. But this particular time I was on an airline that I had never flown before. Out of habit, and because I didn’t realize there was a difference, I went through one of my normal security checkpoints.

I travel regularly so I’m ready at security. Everything that needs to come out of my bag is easy to access. Pockets empty, shoes off, belt off, etc. I don’t leave a lot of variables. And then I go through the scanner and watch for my things to come coming out the other side.

When I finished at security I looked for the sign than would direct me to my gate. I noticed it was pointing me backwards. Obviously I had done something wrong.

I questioned one of the security guards and he proceeded to tell me that I had to go through a different security checkpoint to get to that particular gate.

A little annoyed and embarrassed I exited back to the main terminal and walked to the correct security line.

Fortunately I had given myself a couple of hours of wiggle room.

When I arrived at the other screening area I followed the same drill I had done only moments earlier; things out of bag, pockets empty, shoes off, belt off, etc. and again standing on the other side of the scanner waiting for my bag to come through.

But this time it was different.

This time my bag was flagged for additional screening.

They took me aside and told me that they needed to open my bag. They asked me if there were any sharp objects and then proceeded to unzip the pockets. As it turns out, the sandwich I brought to eat during my trip was the culprit.

So they zipped my bag and let me on my way.

First of all, it’s fascinating that a sandwich would get flagged at security. But what is more fascinating, is that it was the same sandwich that HAD NOT been flagged moments earlier in a different security line.

One of the reasons TSA was created was to have consistent security screening standards for US flights. But even with so much time since its inception, it’s still an imperfect system. What is flagged in one line, isn’t flagged in another.

Who knows if it was the person looking at the scan, the software, or even maybe my sandwich sitting at a slightly different angle in the bag than it was moments earlier. Whatever it was, this little experiment showed that a highly-regulated national security system still deals with variables that cause inconsistent results.

In a situation where life and death are at stake, that’s not very reassuring.

As a traveler, I hope that the best possible people are paying attention in those lines. That they have done everything they can to reduce the variables and the potential missteps.

And although it isn’t usually life and death, the need for consistent standards is important in many areas of our lives. From the food we eat at a restaurant chain from city to city to the sizes of clothes from store to store. We like to know there are standards we can count on. And perhaps more than that, we like to know that standards exist.

It’s similar here in Audiomover. Most of the people who work here walked into this job with a fundamental understanding of digital audio and video. And I personally have been involved with professional audio and video production since I was a young man. So we know what we’re doing. And each employee, whether they are on the digitizing team, the processing team, or involved in QC goes through very specific training and monitoring. Even employees who are not going to be involved in those day-to-day parts of our business are still trained in the standards and procedures we have in place.

In a business like ours, there are hundreds of variables. And over the last two decades we have worked tirelessly to address them to ensure that a consistent quality product always leaves this studio. We want you to feel confident that we are going to deliver exactly what you expect, and hopefully maybe something even a little bit better.