It was a nice time. We had loaded all of our things in our suitcases, and started on our short trip to the airport. Since September 11, we knew things were going to be different in our flights home to see our loved ones for Christmas. We luckily made it in time to check our bags at the curb, then we headed to board our plane. As I approached the terminal, a loud and harsh voice in a demanding tone remarked, ” Sir, I recommend you remove your shoes!”  It was early so I wasn’t quite operating on all cylinders. I had my coffee, but they asked me to throw it away, and now this. I approached the area without response. Then again, “SIR, I RECOMMEND YOU REMOVE YOUR SHOES!”  As much as I wanted to explain what a recommendation, a request, and a demand are, my wife pleaded with me to comply. So I did. What has your experience been like when dealing with the Department of Homeland Security?

It was bad enough that I had to give away our soaps, cologne, perfumes, etc, now I had to give up the pocket knife that was given to me by a very special person in my life. Then I had to pay by the pound if my suitcases exceeded the limit, without prior warning.  No, I’m not in love with stuff. I do, however, like the stories attached to the items. It’s fun to me. The story behind a special item can mean a tremendous amount to the owner, regardless of what it may be.

Now that the nation has changed because we are afraid of lunatics harming us, we have to give all of our stuff up for confiscation to Homeland Security.

I’m all for being safe, and I want no harm to come to my fellow man, but where is all this stuff going that you are confiscating?  In particular, where are the things that were not bombs, or some incendiary device. Some of them being small but priceless, and possibly expensive.

Guns, make-up, lotions, glasses, pocket knives, key chains… The list goes on. In fact, it’s not just on airplanes. It’s in all government offices, some rock concerts, banks, and schools. Again, I’m all for being safe, but when is too much, too much?

And then I got this Facebook from a friend:”So a couple days ago, I went to court in downtown Dallas. I walked in married and walked out divorced. As traumatizing as that was, it had been many months that lead us to that day, so not too many tears were shed when it was all said and done. Plenty had been shed leading up to the final event. But I made a BIG mistake when I walked in the building… I had brought my vintage Aceliner 502 (mid-century) stapler with me in a box of files. (retail value $25)

Many regard it as the finest desk stapler ever made. Heavy. Durable. Shiny. Feels just right in the hand. Never jams. Can staple in two (or three) different positions. It makes a certain satisfying sound when used – almost like a single castanet. Dare I say it is elegant?

I used it every day. We had one when I was a kid. But the one I had as an adult was a rare MINT IN BOX find at an estate sale many years ago with a chrome and bake-lite tortoiseshell handle.

I was its only user.

As I walked into the court, I knew I would be wanded. I knew my tiny key-chain pocket knife would pass the guards’ tests. But never did I consider that my vintage stapler would be callously thrown out as I begged the guards to hang on to it for me when I came out.

They chucked it into a metal box and it THUNKED into the bottom with all the confiscated knives, firearms, needles, and other contraband.

It deserved a much better fate after all its years of dedicated service.”

No one gets to choose what someone finds dear enough to collect, but the collector him/herself. Collections can be linear, or random. People will collect literally anything you can accumulate, and they will do it with style, and grace.

Collectors are particular about flaws, and about perfection. They know about what they collect, and they are relentless in finding out more, and finding the right piece to round out their entire collection.

What will someone pay you for a collection of bake-lite staplers? You may or may not see a stapler on the auction block at Sotheby’s or Christies, but the profound meaning behind a certain product can mean more than the piece is worth. And as my research continues, I find that the TSA has an Ebay account. See some of the photos below, or go onto Ebay yourself, maybe you can purchase someone’s pocket knife that was given to them by their last grandparent.


This article was not written so that we get angry at those who are in place to protect us, but someone somewhere needs to find a solution. Are we seeing everything that has been confiscated on Ebay? Where are the many thousands of other items. Do the TSA, employees get to divide it up each day, so they can put it on Ebay? Lets put a price on a few pockets knives real quick just to show you how much money has been taken with this confiscation protocol in place.

Swiss Army Knife $18 to $55 each, Case Pocket Knife $45 to $99. I’m not sure what my friends stapler is worth, but I see several hundred pocket knives being offered on Ebay. In retail numbers you might find it staggering. Answers anyone?