No, This Isn’t a Gumball Machine

Gumball-looking machines abound in the Birmingham, UK airport. I haven’t put money into and cranked the handle of a gumball machine in years, but I did so today. And I cost me £1 to do so.

While the majority of my liquids are in my checked bag (yes, I had to check my bag for my 15-day multi-city, multi-weather travels), I still had three small bottles of hand lotion and nasal spray in my laptop bag . . . and no clear plastic bag to put them in. The 3oz / 100ml restriction on liquids in carry-on bags applies here also, and I was unsure if UK security is easing up on the plastic bag rules like the US TSA seems to silently be doing.

These small liquids got through TSA in Orlando without a glitch, even though they were in my purse and laptop bag – no plastic bag was needed. But the security line for early morning flights was long in Birmingham and I didn’t want to risk losing my L’Occitane lotion or have to get out of the line.

Luckily I had a £1 coin from my prior UK visit. If I hadn’t, I’d be crying over my lost bottle of L’Occitane. So I cranked the handle and opened the metal door, awaiting my prize. My fingers got stuck and I couldn’t get the container out. Initial panic set in. How embarrassing would that have been to yell for help and appear to be robbing the gumball machine? Phew, I just hadn’t cranked the handle enough (I told you I was out of practice). Another crank to the right and the prize came rolling out.

A bit of prying and I got the egg-like container open. 4 plastic bags were inside. What does anyone need 4 bags for if one is the limit going through security? I looked for someone else in line who was as unprepared with a plastic bag as me, but I couldn’t spot anyone. So when I’m sitting on my next flight, waiting for the electronics ok to ding-ding, I’ll see if I can get the other three bags back into the container.

My first souvenir for this trip – 3 plastic bags in an orange container.

I’m now heading to the Ladies’ Room – they offer finger toothbrushes in a similar plastic container. Might as well start a collection!

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