Deserved or not, the Transportation Security Administration doesn’t usually get much affection on social media, so it must have been a nice change of pace for the TSA recently when it had a minor Instagram hit with a photo of a massive, 20 lb. lobster found in a cooler at a Boston airport. Alas, the TSA has not escaped criticism, as the man who owned this oversized crustacean — and the market where he purchased it — both say the airport security folks mishandled his future meal for the sake of a photo op.
Just to remind anyone who isn’t up on the latest lobster gossip (lobsgoss?), earlier this week the TSA’s Instagram account posted this photo of the large sea creature, explaining that it was legal to ship the beast but that the agency had to open the cooler after it triggered an alarm:
First, the Connecticut seafood market that sold this lobster to the customer raged against the TSA. In a Facebook post, she asks, “When is it okay to go through someone’s checked baggage and take photographs?”
What’s more, she has concerns about the fact that this mega-lobster was being shipped with other smaller lobsters, and the TSA’s little photo shoot may have disrupted the order of things in the cooler.
“I packed this checked cooler with care and concern for the lobsters and my customer’s personal property,” writes the store owner. “This agent,(after seeing the contents on an x ray machine, no doubt) had to dump out 12 other lobsters to get to this guy. Seriously, nothing better to do? And who would be to blame when these lobsters show up with a claw broken off because the TSA agent doesn’t know how to properly handle a lobster?”
The actual buyer of the lobsters says he had no idea the TSA had opened the cooler until it arrived in Georgia and it was tagged with pieces of “TSA” tape. Even then, he didn’t know his dinner — cleverly named “Dinnah” — had become momentarily micro-famous.
He says he didn’t learn of the Instagram post until a friend phoned to tell him about it.
“Just because it was labeled ‘live lobster’ doesn’t mean there could be a bomb in there,” he tells the NY Times. “They are dumb. They are like the dumbest people in the world.”
The clawed colossus ultimately made multiple meals — surf and turf, lobster mac and cheese, and lobster rolls — so it seems like the TSA’s intervention didn’t result in any lasting damage.
For its part, the TSA defends the decision to post the photos, saying “We share images through social media to provide helpful travel tips and to better inform the traveling public about TSA’s mission.”