How I accidentally “smuggled” a sharp object through airport security…

I’ve just come back from the mastermind I’m in – the meetings are held in Cork, Ireland, which means I fly there from Birmingham Airport.

Cartoon of an airport security man holding a nail

Do you go out of your way to surprise and delight your customers?

Getting there at 7am on a Sunday means it’s usually a fairly swift passage through security, so I was surprised when I found myself waiting for lots of bags to be checked. The scanners were flagging bags up left, right, and centre.

Mine included.

I’d followed all the rules, so I couldn’t imagine what had made them raise an eyebrow…

Until the searcher pulled something out of my handbag, with a quizzical, “Ummm… what is this?”

“Holy shitballs, I had no idea that was in there!” I squeaked. Then I started babbling: “We live opposite a pub, and they found it in their garden, and I offered to take it to our local museum to find out what it was, only the museum is closed in winter, and I forgot it was in my bag. It’s not mine, please don’t throw it away!”7-airport-security

She grinned at me. “Hang on, I’ll check with my supervisor.”

I could feel the death stares being levelled at my back by the people waiting for their bags.

Two minutes later, she reappeared with her supervisor, who winked at me, and gave her the nod.

Another grin: “Go on then. Don’t stick anybody with it.”

Amidst profuse thanks, I scurried off in search of tea. And pondered what to do with it on the way back. Could I get that lucky twice? Probably not.

So I produced it at the hotel reception and asked them to post it for me. So the lovely folks at Cork International Hotel are packaging it up for me and posting it home. While that was happening, one of chaps who works there was examining it closely and wondering what on earth it could be, and regaled me with a similar story…

He and his wife went to Italy, and she bought a religious souvenir: a spiky thing on a bottle opener. As you do. Then forgot about it and left it in her hand luggage. They had a conversation with the airport security guy, who ended it up blessing it for them and sending them on their way.

Just goes to show what a charming smile and the right amount of fluster can help you get away with…

…and how lovely it is when a hotel goes the extra mile to help you solve a problem of your own making – and doesn’t poke too much fun at you.

Do you go out of your way to surprise and delight your customers?

Are you stuck for ways you can make yourself stand out in a sea of competitors who all look exactly the same as you (and I’m sorry to tell you this, but they almost certainly do)?

I’ve good news for you. I’m lending my brain out to those in need. It’s filled to bursting with good ideas, so you won’t just be boosting your own business, you’ll also be reducing the likelihood that my head will explode at some point.

Book your slot here. It’s been worth many times the fee to those smarties who’ve taken me up on it. Like Morag, who’s a dog trainer:

“I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to explain my business in the time so it would be harder for you to give me good ideas (because I’d waste the session talking!) but that’s why I sent over the business structure document in advance. Had no doubt it would be useful, particularly since I’d just binge listened to about 30 of your podcasts!

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What are you waiting for?



Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS Here’s today’s Daily Diary Doodle. Enjoy!

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