I’ve noticed, of myself, lately, that I never have a knife or a bottle opener handy, but I was once the guy who always had a knife or a bottle opener handy. That is generally true of archaeologists, and I used to be a full time archaeologist. Originally, I assumed that my lack of preparedness came down to that …. my ever increasing distance with involvement in archeology. But now, I realize this is not the case. It really is more a matter of National Security.
There is a link between the pocket, the belt-slung case or holster, the kit bag, and the backpack. They are all places where you might keep a folding knife, like a Swiss Army Knife. And that is where the ever-needed knife blade and the ever-needed bottle opener are to be found. The knife may be found in any of these places, and over time as one adjusts to circumstances — weekend vs weekdays, on the job, at the excavation, out to a movie, etc. — where the knife resides moves smoothly back and forth among these habitats.
Then one day you go to the airport and realize, too late, that your good Swiss Army Knife is in your back pack and you are trying to get on an airplane and since some assholes ruined air flight security years ago (even before 911, by the way) you can’t do that. The TSA takes your knife and you’ll never see it again.
That never happened to me, by the way. I’ve never had an item confiscated. But I did start pulling the knife (and other items) out of the material culture repository known as my pocket-belt-kitbag-backpack.
And for this reason I seem to never have a knife or a bottle opener handy.
But there is a solution to this problem, though I have not yet implemented it: Purchase a large number of small Swiss Army Knives at deep discount and put them around. Everywhere. Like in the glove compartment of the car, under the welcome mat on the porch, in any and all top drawers at home and work, and so on. Give them to friends so they may have them handy. Saturate your physical environment with low-cost Swiss Army Knives.
“But where do you get such deeply discounted Swiss Army Knives?” you may ask.
Well, I figured with all the Swiss Army Knives and other items (including, by the way, snow globes) being confiscated every day at airports around the country, there MUST be an outlet for these items, at discount. No way are they melting them down and turning them into plow shares. No way are they holding them, putting a label on each one, and assuming the owners will come back for them. No, I figured, one way or another … above or below board … these items are for sale somewhere, and it must be at a good discount.
So I did a little digging. Here is a list of places where you can buy items confiscated by the TSA. This might change over time. Each state does it its own way. (source)
Alabama and Florida Airports sell confiscated items on eBay (seller ID: alstatesurplus)
Georgia Airports: Atlanta sell at Atlanta Surplus Center, 770/414-6468, Swainsboro Surplus Center, 478/289-2623, and Americus Surplus Center, 229/931-2407.
Illinois Airports sell at auctions. Check out ibid.illinois.gov
Kentucky Airports sell on eBay (seller ID: kysurplus)
Oregon Airports sells at eBay (seller ID: oregontrail2000)
Pennsylvania Airports:sell on eBay (seller ID: pastatesurplus)
Texas Airports sell at Austin Storefront in Austin, Phone: 512/463-1990
Washington State Airports sell at Auburn Retail Store in Auburn, 253/333-4912
If you are looking for larger or more elaborate items, or luggage, people’s lost luggage and its contents is on sale on the web site for Unclaimed Baggage Center.