Smile! You’re on candid cameras

By Karen Zautyk

Last week, news broke that the national Transportation Security Administration has been monitoring — apparently on planes and in airports — “Americans who are not under formal investigation, noting apparently suspicious behaviors such as excessive sweating, changing clothes and going to the bathroom frequently.” 

That quote is from a Washington Post editorial headlined: “TSA’s Quiet Skies may sound creepy, but there’s logic to it — if it’s done right.”

If you want to know more about the now-controversial issue, Google that edit or  just “Quiet Skies” (the official name of the program). 

Personally, I have no problem with it. I’d rather be monitored by an air marshal than by who-knows-who watching one of the ubiquitous video cameras that are everywhere. 

Know that I am not condemning these. They have become a vital a part of modern law enforcement. But sometimes I do wonder just what those monitoring the things in stores are looking for. 

There is a supermarket, which shall remain unnamed, where I frequently shop because I like the price-scanners it offers. I pick up one at the entrance and can proceed to shop at leisure, scanning each item I select and packing them into my reusable bags — the way I WANT  the bags packed. (No store packer putting a carton of eggs on the bottom and then dropping on top of it a gallon of milk and a 6-lb. box of cat-food cans.) 

If you change your mind about a purchase, you can unscan it. 

I am always extremely careful to make sure everything in my cart is scanned.  

Yet I have actually lost count of the number of time I have been stopped at check-out so some store security employee can do a “random” rescan to make sure I am not shoplifting. 

They say it’s random, but I can’t help thinking there is something about me that is raising suspicions. Why else would this happen so often? (Maybe some loss-prevention employee reading this can respond. Just WHAT are you looking for?) 

I am not sweating excessively, changing clothes or going to the bathroom frequently — if at all. I am an HONEST person.  

Some of you know I edit the Kearny police blotter, where some of my favorite items involve shoplifters, especially those who steal strange things. Like snow crabs or bags and bags of frozen shrimp. 

So in conclusion —  

Dear Supermarket: Be advised that, if I ever were to turn criminal, I would not steal eggs or milk or cat food or snow crabs or frozen shrimp. No — I would head for the tank where the poor lobsters are imprisoned waiting to eventually be boiled alive and I’d fish out as many as possible. (So keep your security-camera eyes out for a woman carrying a net and a bucket.)  Then I would drive down the shore and free them in the ocean. After first removing the bands from their claws. 

(Some years back, I heard of an elderly — they can live to be more than 100 — captive lobster ceremoniously freed into the sea. And it wasn’t until it had been dropped beneath the waves that someone realized his claws were still taped. Which meant he would now starve to death. Poor lobster. Dumb humans.)

Learn more about the writer ...