1494: “Insurance”

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1494: “Insurance”

Postby Qaanol » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:07 am UTC

Insurance

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Title: “LIFEHACKS: You can just take all the luggage off the airport conveyer belt and leave with it. They don't check that it's yours at the door!”

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby sirono » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:39 am UTC

I do wonder what "hack" he thought up :D

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby rhomboidal » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:03 am UTC

Claims adjusters just have no appreciation for a righteous piece of pyromania.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:04 am UTC

sirono wrote:I do wonder what "hack" he thought up :D

"What if I burn my own house down?" Or if that's expressly prohibited, as it really should be, "what if I covertly and elaborately arrange for my house to be burnt down by persons and means the specifics of which are unknown to me?"

Also, as an extremely infrequent flyer, is that baggage claim thing true? If so, that's ridiculous. Virtually anywhere else that you hand your property over to an organization's safekeeping and then claim it back later, they make you prove that you actually are the owner of that property with a claim ticket.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby sirono » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:53 am UTC

here in holland the luggage thing is true.
you can basicly pick up any bag and walk right out the door.

the reason this usually isn't a problem: you can only take one bag. if you take more then one. wthey will probably check you at the customs.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby chridd » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:01 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Also, as an extremely infrequent flyer, is that baggage claim thing true? If so, that's ridiculous. Virtually anywhere else that you hand your property over to an organization's safekeeping and then claim it back later, they make you prove that you actually are the owner of that property with a claim ticket.
In the airports I've been in (all in the US), they don't check that you're taking your own bags (at least not usually); they just put all the bags on a conveyor belt and everyone has to find their own bags. I've never actually tried taking all the bags, or seen anyone try (or try to intentionally take someone else's bag); if you take all the bags, people will probably notice that you have more than usual, and might do something about it.

...why doesn't Firefox spell check like "someone else's"?
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Möbius sheepshank » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:14 am UTC

Yeah, with domestic flights in the U.S., anyone could walk in off the street and hang around at baggage claim and take a reasonable, totally-not-suspicious number of bags.

The catch might be that the real owner of the bag is probably standing around somewhere nearby. A good luggage thief needs to be able to look at a bag and instantly know:
1) This bag contains something valuable
AND
2) The owner of this bag is still pooping after six long hours trapped in the window seat

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:16 am UTC

A few years ago, my family flew to California for vacation. At baggage claim, we thought we saw somebody take my brother's bag off the carousel, but figured it must have been a bag just like it (because it was black and there are a kajillion black luggage pieces). We waited through the whole baggage delivery and of course the bag never appeared. Had to go to the bag claim department and be told that they would get it to us if/when it showed up.

A day later the bag was delivered to our hotel, contents intact. There wasn't any explanation provided, but I still suspect that the person we saw did pick up my brother's luggage by accident, and was kind enough to return it to the baggage claim when they realized what had happened. (This is why it is good to check that it's really your bag that you pull off the carousel, because nobody else is checking. At least not at domestic U.S. bag claims.)
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby mccdyl001 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:52 am UTC

Taking bags on an international flight wouldn't be easy as you still go through customs *after* getting the bag, but for domestic flights it could be possible.

In my time flying, I've come across two types of baggage conveyor systems.

One is where the belt goes through a little doorway to the outside of the building where baggage handlers offload the bags from the little trailers direct to the belt. The conveyor belt then comes back inside through a 2nd little doorway in the wall. In this situation, a person standing at the door just before the bags go back outside for another loop around could easily lift several bags there without much notice (they've made it around the entire loop - odds are the person who's bag it is isn't at the conveyor yet).

The other conveyor system is where the conveyor belt is a loop around an "island" in the baggage collection area where people can stand the entire way around it. Underground conveyor belts add bags to the collection "loop" from inside of the loop. In this case, a person only see's approximately 50% of the pickup loop, depending on where they're standing. So even if someone is watching close for a specific bag, they can only see half the loop and so there's a chance their bag could go walkies without them noticing either.

As for getting out with several bags - get a luggage trolley and load it up with 4 or 5 pieces, then walk through the exit close to some people who travelled with just hand luggage - most casual onlookers would assume you're carrying the groups luggage...

Come to think of it, the system really is incredibly lax. How the heck does it work so well??

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby speising » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:59 am UTC

i've been checked after a domestic flight, i believe it was in vietnam, they wanted to compare my ticket with the sticker on the luggage, good thing i hadn't thrown away one or both...

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby sfmans » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:04 am UTC

mccdyl001 wrote:Come to think of it, the system really is incredibly lax. How the heck does it work so well??


The same way whole other swathes of society usually works so well, from (random examples) motorway driving to behaviour at large crowd events. In the majority of cases the vast majority of people behave in an approximately societal manner; driving down a motorway the wrong way whilst on the phone and eating a burger, or shouting fire in a crowded theatre '4 da LOLZ', are transgressive actions that occur occasionally by Audi drivers and morons (and the Venn diagram of the two) but not on a sufficiently high basis that the majority of society avoids using motorways or theatres.

Similarly, most people just want to pick up their bag and get to the hotel or home, rather than think about stealing luggage on the off chance that there is something valuable hidden amongst the dirty laundry. There'll be the odd incidence of transgression, but not sufficiently high that demand escalates that Something Must Be Done to prevent it.

[edited for a couple of minor typos]
Last edited by sfmans on Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:24 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby speising » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:08 am UTC

there's a near 100% chance the owner of a bag on the conveyor is nearby. i think the fear of being caught is a big factor, and it's not that easy to run away in an airport, with a big suitcase.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:10 am UTC

One important security feature that hadn't occurred to me is, and correct me if I'm wrong, the baggage claim is inside of a secured area already, and only actual passengers get to be back there in the first place. It's still totally possible for one passenger to walk off with someone else's luggage, but it's not possible for any random thief to walk in on the street and just grab a bag and walk out with it, and that probably cuts down on theft a tremendous amount right there.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:21 am UTC

Depends on the airport, probably. The two airports I'm most familiar with (Phoenix and Spokane) both have open-access baggage claims. People often meet arriving passengers in the baggage claim area; anyone can walk in.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby chridd » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:22 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:One important security feature that hadn't occurred to me is, and correct me if I'm wrong, the baggage claim is inside of a secured area already, and only actual passengers get to be back there in the first place. It's still totally possible for one passenger to walk off with someone else's luggage, but it's not possible for any random thief to walk in on the street and just grab a bag and walk out with it, and that probably cuts down on theft a tremendous amount right there.
...actually, I don't think even that's true of the airport nearest where I live. If I remember correctly, baggage claim is outside security. It's possible this is different in different airports.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Eoink » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:34 am UTC

The main airport in the UK used to be known affectionately(?) as Thiefrow because of the amount of luggage that went missing.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Showsni » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:50 am UTC

Add some brightly coloured ribbons or something to your bag; makes it easier to spot, and less likely to be stolen (which bag will a thief pick up, the plain one or the distinctive beribboned one?).

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby CharlieP » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:54 am UTC

When I was 11, I went on a short trip to northern France with my grandmother, a formidable woman who was then recently the widow of a British Army officer, and had spent time living in India. At Lille airport, we collected "our" luggage from the carousel and started walking towards the exit when a middle-aged gentleman ran towards us, earnestly trying to point out (in French) that she had picked up his suitcase by mistake. At which point my grandmother began beating the poor soul with her handbag and admonishing him in stentorian English tones, while I watched on, more than a little dumbstruck.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby mccdyl001 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:57 am UTC

I've had the misfortune of arriving when my bags did not on a domestic flight. I was promised the bags would be there on the very next flight down (about 2 hours later), so went off home and then came back a couple hours later. Just walked straight into the baggage claim hall - the security person asked and I said I had to fill out a missing bag claim and they waved me on. I was walking towards the baggage claim desk when I saw my actual bag going around on one of the conveyors. Went and grabbed it and walked on out.

Carrying on with the travel related theme, here's a great little nugget: Most travel insurance policies do not cover your bags going missing on your return journey - only on the way to your holiday destination. Not great when you get home and your bag is not on that conveyor belt...

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby keithl » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:19 am UTC

I presume that baggage areas have security cameras feeding video recorders. If a bag is reported missing, they can review the recordings and get a description of the person who left with it, and presumably look at other recordings (terminal, security checkpoint, dropoff area, parking lot) to find out where the person came from and went. Nobody would get away with it twice.

Still, people steal the damnedest things. Last year, somebody "stole" a 1400 square foot log cabin near Chiloquin, Oregon and sold it a mile down the road. Oregon - we do things differently here.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Quercus » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:19 am UTC

mccdyl001 wrote:Taking bags on an international flight wouldn't be easy as you still go through customs *after* getting the bag, but for domestic flights it could be possible.

In my time flying, I've come across two types of baggage conveyor systems.

One is where the belt goes through a little doorway to the outside of the building where baggage handlers offload the bags from the little trailers direct to the belt. The conveyor belt then comes back inside through a 2nd little doorway in the wall. In this situation, a person standing at the door just before the bags go back outside for another loop around could easily lift several bags there without much notice (they've made it around the entire loop - odds are the person who's bag it is isn't at the conveyor yet).

The other conveyor system is where the conveyor belt is a loop around an "island" in the baggage collection area where people can stand the entire way around it. Underground conveyor belts add bags to the collection "loop" from inside of the loop. In this case, a person only see's approximately 50% of the pickup loop, depending on where they're standing. So even if someone is watching close for a specific bag, they can only see half the loop and so there's a chance their bag could go walkies without them noticing either.

There's two other systems I've come across:

  • The baggage handlers just lay out the luggage in the arrivals hall, there are no conveyor belts. This happens at tiny airports that are still big enough to have an arrivals hall.
  • The pilot rummages around in the baggage compartment and hands you your bags personally. This happens at tiny airports where the arrivals hall == the departures hall == the airport manager's office == a shed.
Last edited by Quercus on Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:34 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby orthogon » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:32 am UTC

speising wrote:there's a near 100% chance the owner of a bag on the conveyor is nearby. i think the fear of being caught is a big factor, and it's not that easy to run away in an airport, with a big suitcase.
most good behaviour comes from fear of punishment.

I've often thought about this phenomenon: that in a busy place, you can never know whether the owner of an apparently unattended item is the person standing right next to it, making the risk probably outweigh the benefit. Another example is luggage on trains: it's probably ok to leave your bag on the shelf when you go to the buffet car, because a thief isn't going to know whose bag it is or who else they are travelling with. (This could be worked around by extensive observation, or a good cover story and acting skills: "oh, sorry I have a bag just like that! I forgot I didn't bring it this time"). This feels like an important enough "security" principle that it must have a name.

Historically, another good reason for not taking somebody else's luggage through Customs has been that you don't know what's in it. In the days when people used to sew their heroin into the lining of a suitcase rather than have someone swallow it in a condom, you might find that you'd got more than you bargained for.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby password » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:55 am UTC

In the Mexico City airport, they DO check the stickers to make sure it is your luggage.

But keep in mind that we are talking about a city where everything that's not nailed down (and most things that are) gets stolen within 30 seconds...

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby pkcommando » Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:57 am UTC

At Raleigh-Durham and (I want to say) Logan (I never check bags, but sometimes travel w/ people who do) baggage claim is an open area. Also, not only is there a high probability that the owner of the bag is nearby, but the vast majority of people stand right near the chute dispensing their luggage onto the conveyor so mccdyl001's idea would only leave a very small percentage of luggage susceptible to theft.

Plus, I often see luggage w/ extra adornments that make them easier for their owners to spot at a distance. I made a colorful knitted I-cord for the handle of my carry-on in case I have to check it at the gate.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Eternal Density » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:28 pm UTC

BlitzGirl wrote:Depends on the airport, probably. The two airports I'm most familiar with (Phoenix and Spokane) both have open-access baggage claims. People often meet arriving passengers in the baggage claim area; anyone can walk in.

Canberra Airport too, family members often greet arriving travellers while they are waiting for their bags.

I put extra adornments on my bag, which is already an uncommon colour. (That b was typoed to a g...)
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby origimbo » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:32 pm UTC

I can add my name to the short list of people who have actually been checked on exit. In this case in China, I think at Chengdu.

Unfortunately we were travelling as a group on business, and at check-in the agent hadn't been very careful to match up the names to the bags. Never have I been more glad to have a native speaker around to explain to the official why I seemed to be walking off with Mrs. X's luggage.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby HES » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:49 pm UTC

mccdyl001 wrote:Taking bags on an international flight wouldn't be easy as you still go through customs *after* getting the bag,

Where "go through" means "walk through a corridor", or at least it did the last time I flew. Granted, the international/domestic divide gets a little blurry within the EU.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby kasmeneo » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:23 pm UTC

Showsni wrote:Add some brightly coloured ribbons or something to your bag; makes it easier to spot, and less likely to be stolen (which bag will a thief pick up, the plain one or the distinctive beribboned one?).

I wonder why people buy indistinguishable black or dark blue bags in the first place. If you go for bright colored and/or patterned bags, you can spot them from across the hall.

HES wrote:
mccdyl001 wrote:Taking bags on an international flight wouldn't be easy as you still go through customs *after* getting the bag,

Where "go through" means "walk through a corridor", or at least it did the last time I flew. Granted, the international/domestic divide gets a little blurry within the EU.

Within the EU (or more precisely the Schengen states) it's practically domestic. But let me guess, that corridor had some one-way mirrors in the walls and some doors that could open any moment, with customs officers coming through?

Quercus wrote:
mccdyl001 wrote:Taking bags on an international flight wouldn't be easy as you still go through customs *after* getting the bag, but for domestic flights it could be possible.

In my time flying, I've come across two types of baggage conveyor systems.

One is where the belt goes through a little doorway to the outside of the building where baggage handlers offload the bags from the little trailers direct to the belt. The conveyor belt then comes back inside through a 2nd little doorway in the wall. In this situation, a person standing at the door just before the bags go back outside for another loop around could easily lift several bags there without much notice (they've made it around the entire loop - odds are the person who's bag it is isn't at the conveyor yet).

The other conveyor system is where the conveyor belt is a loop around an "island" in the baggage collection area where people can stand the entire way around it. Underground conveyor belts add bags to the collection "loop" from inside of the loop. In this case, a person only see's approximately 50% of the pickup loop, depending on where they're standing. So even if someone is watching close for a specific bag, they can only see half the loop and so there's a chance their bag could go walkies without them noticing either.

There's two other systems I've come across:

  • The baggage handlers just lay out the luggage in the arrivals hall, there are no conveyor belts. This happens at tiny airports that are still big enough to have an arrivals hall.
  • The pilot rummages around in the baggage compartment and hands you your bags personally. This happens at tiny airports where the arrivals hall == the departures hall == the airport manager's office == a shed.

I've also seen a one-way conveyor belt (like in a supermarket) delivering bags from outside (where they are unloaded) into the hall. They obviously relied on people taking their bags away quick enough so there's no congestion. Or at least quicker than they are unloaded. (Madagascar, Morondava, IIRC)
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Kit. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:49 pm UTC

kasmeneo wrote:I wonder why people buy indistinguishable black or dark blue bags in the first place.

Maybe they don't want to stand out from the crowd when they carry these bags with themselves.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby EdRoxter » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:04 pm UTC

origimbo wrote:I can add my name to the short list of people who have actually been checked on exit. In this case in China, I think at Chengdu.


Ha, I've been to Chengdu recently as well - but I've only been checked on a flight Chengdu>Kunming, so in Kunming. Back from Kunming to Chengdu, there was no check, but that flight was pretty late in the evening, whereas the check in Kunming was around noon. Perhaps they do this mainly during the day.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby speising » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:14 pm UTC

i have a relatively nondescript black bag, but had never any problem recognizing it on the belt.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:30 pm UTC

It's not just air travel - for long-distance bus/coach rides (in the UK, so "long-distance" is relative, but I think it was much the same in Australia and US when I took trips there) you just grab your bag when the driver unloads it.

The whole social contract thing holds up pretty well - I have no doubt that there are cases of genuine, outright theft, and probably rather more cases of picking up the wrong bag by mistake, but the former are a problem for the company providing the transport (and the few unfortunates who get hit) rather than for most passengers, and the latter are generally resolved pretty quickly...

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby cellocgw » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:37 pm UTC

Gotta be one of the first threads where the alt-text gets 10X the comments that the actual drawing got!

How about some other "this won't work" hack suggestions?

I'll go first:

Car dealer advertises "We'll make your first 3 loan payments." "OK, I want a 3-month loan."
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Jackpot777 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:59 pm UTC

sirono wrote:I do wonder what "hack" he thought up :D


Seeing as it's fire insurance, I was wondering if it's the cigar arson story.

A cigar smoker bought several hundred expensive stogies and had them insured against fire.

After he'd smoked them all, he filed a claim, pointing out that the cigars had been destroyed by fire. The company refused to pay, and the man sued. A judge ruled that because the insurance company had agreed to insure against fire, it was legally responsible. So the company paid the claim.

And when the man accepted the money, the company had him arrested for arson.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby sevenperforce » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:05 pm UTC

speising wrote:there's a near 100% chance the owner of a bag on the conveyor is nearby. i think the fear of being caught is a big factor, and it's not that easy to run away in an airport, with a big suitcase.
most good behaviour comes from fear of punishment.

But much luggage looks alike. As long as you're not grabbing an extremely garish-looking bag, you can very easily say "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, I thought this was mine; thanks so much!" and your would-be victim will let you off without a thought.

chridd wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:One important security feature that hadn't occurred to me is, and correct me if I'm wrong, the baggage claim is inside of a secured area already, and only actual passengers get to be back there in the first place. It's still totally possible for one passenger to walk off with someone else's luggage, but it's not possible for any random thief to walk in on the street and just grab a bag and walk out with it, and that probably cuts down on theft a tremendous amount right there.
...actually, I don't think even that's true of the airport nearest where I live. If I remember correctly, baggage claim is outside security. It's possible this is different in different airports.

Literally every domestic airport I've ever been to, the baggage claim was outside security.

However, there are attendants and security personnel and that bored guy at the Hertz rental car place who are all watching the baggage claim at various times. So while it might be extremely easy to get away with grabbing one thing once, you couldn't very well make a practice of it...especially because, as keithl pointed out, they do have cameras and can review the footage if they suspect foul play.

I'm guessing it rarely happens because the chances of actually scoring some serious valuables are pretty low. Most of the time you're going to end up with some jeans, crumpled shirts, dirty underwear, and a sealed bag of toiletries. You'd have to steal a LOT of bags before getting enough to make it worth your while, and that would involve lots of trips and lots of theft reports...more than enough to arouse suspicion.

However, this doesn't at all impede random acts of classholery.

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Sprocket » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:07 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
sirono wrote:I do wonder what "hack" he thought up :D

"What if I burn my own house down?" Or if that's expressly prohibited, as it really should be, "what if I covertly and elaborately arrange for my house to be burnt down by persons and means the specifics of which are unknown to me?"

All I could figure. But I didn't realize you had to be a "computer programmer" to figure that one out…
The good news is that apparently I can now say I'm a computer programmer. Huh. Easy.
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EmptyTrash
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby EmptyTrash » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:11 pm UTC

The biggest deterrent to stealing someone else's baggage is that the thief is likely to get a bagful of someone else's unwashed underwear and not much else.

My understanding from what I've read is that the police at the airport near me do a lot of behavioral profiling; if you look like a traveller, you'll be ignored, but if you don't, you'll be asked some polite questions about how you came to be in the airport. (Lesson: thieves should dress like travelers. Maybe steal some luggage with travel clothes in them.)

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sevenperforce
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby sevenperforce » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:23 pm UTC

EmptyTrash wrote:The biggest deterrent to stealing someone else's baggage is that the thief is likely to get a bagful of someone else's unwashed underwear and not much else.

My understanding from what I've read is that the police at the airport near me do a lot of behavioral profiling; if you look like a traveller, you'll be ignored, but if you don't, you'll be asked some polite questions about how you came to be in the airport. (Lesson: thieves should dress like travelers. Maybe steal some luggage with travel clothes in them.)

Profiling is big. Will someone notice you if you get off the plane, grab an extra piece of luggage that isn't yours, and head for the door? Almost definitely not. Will someone notice if you walk in one side of the terminal, linger furtively around the baggage claim, grab a piece of luggage, and bolt...then repeat? Eventually.

Kit.
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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby Kit. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

Qaanol wrote:Where’s black hat guy when you need him?

Right here, pretending to be an insurance agent?

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Re: 1494: “Insurance”

Postby speising » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:13 pm UTC

Jackpot777 wrote:
sirono wrote:I do wonder what "hack" he thought up :D


Seeing as it's fire insurance, I was wondering if it's the cigar arson story.

A cigar smoker bought several hundred expensive stogies and had them insured against fire.

After he'd smoked them all, he filed a claim, pointing out that the cigars had been destroyed by fire. The company refused to pay, and the man sued. A judge ruled that because the insurance company had agreed to insure against fire, it was legally responsible. So the company paid the claim.

And when the man accepted the money, the company had him arrested for arson.

I'm sceptical. I'd assume every fire insurance contains clauses about self inflicted fires.


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