One Man’s Helpful Hint is Another Man’s Interruption

A friend recently sent me this link to a discussion on the merits of obscure airport security notifications about snowglobes. Oddly enough, I experienced the snowglobe issue firsthand on a recent trip to New Mexico. The circumstances:

  • My daughter collects snowglobes
  • Snowglobes are the classic souvenir
  • Terrorists have attempted to smuggle incendiary fluids in small containers
  • The Feds only allow liquids in containers below a certain size onboard
  • Snowglobes contain an undetermined amount of liquid
  • Snowglobes are therefore banned from carry-on luggage
  • This information is provided to passengers only after the luggage check-in
  • There is no service that allows you to package and mail anything from the airport terminal
  • Nobody buying a snowglobe at a local tourist trap is going to piece all of this together beforehand
  • Terrorists and government bureaucracy now stand in the way of my daughter’s happiness

This whole situation was extremely annoying and I have to admit that a sign or some sort of notification would have helped. The trick for delivering a message like this is how (and when) to target your audience. Obviously, a sign taking up precious real estate in the terminal can be distracting and dilutes the effectiveness of more important messages. On the otherhand, there is a small subset of people who would really benefit from this information if it could be delivered at the right moment.

Interestingly, this incident did answer a question that had beeen bugging me throughout the trip: why is it so hard to find a snowglobe in Albuquerque? All I could find were items that looked like snowglobes but were partially filled with sand. It wasn’t like the area didn’t get snow — people ski there — so what was the deal? My guess is that the local tourist shops developed the sandglobes in response to the airport security issue. They were everywhere. Maybe the snowglobe warning should have been delivered at that point.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Information
Data Points: January 2019

A roundup of random thoughts on data, information and design for the New Year. Diversity in the 116th U.S. Congress There has been a lot of discussion this week about the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of the incoming class of congress, including celebrations of firsts on the Democratic side …

Information
5
Donald Trump and the Truth Bubble

“Wherever the people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government.” — Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, 1789 Thomas Jefferson’s support of a free press and education for the common people — including entry to the highest levels of instruction (i.e. a college or university) — was based …

Information
Anatomy of an Analysis (Part 2) – The Enrichening

In the first part of this analysis, I turned a short list of movies into a database that could be used to answer basic questions about the list’s contents. Now I’d like to broaden this analysis by combining the original list with additional outside information — a process called data …