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Terrorist Risks Due To Poor Customer

Updated on June 20, 2013

When we think of customer service we often focus on the quality of products, serving time, completeness of our order and so on. But we rarely think about security when it comes to customer service. So allow me to be very specific: security and safety is part of customer service.

Unfortunately the lax security of many places exposes civilians to higher risks. Here’s a closer look at this pathetic customer service.

The Magic Wand

It's no high tech device, not even magical. They are usually slender sticks used to poke into bags. Some of the most common variants include:

  • barbecue sticks
  • balloon sticks
  • pieces of wood
  • drum sticks (my personal favorite)

Basic instruction: Poke into bag and pretend to look for something. Actually looking inside the bag is not required.

Terrorist Target 1: Malls

If you've been to Manila you've probably noticed the long queues in mall entrances. Here, customers are checked for possible explosives, deadly weapons and what not. This is a good move to quell the rising threat of terrorism. But in reality a quick poke with the security guard’s “magic wand” and a half-hearted pat on your back does not constitute a credible search. The charade of doing a search is more of a nuisance than a help.

In spite of the attempts of mall management to secure their establishments, security personnel just ruin it. In some instances, robbers pretend to be law enforcement personnel and bring high-powered weapons in plain sight. Can you imagine a Rolex Shop inside a mall being robbed during mall hours. Robbery inside a "secure" mall! Well it happened. Moreover, there were numerous instances where even students brought in deadly weapons. If students can do this, I bet terrorist cells in the local area can do this as well - with a more devastating outcome.

Whether the threat is homegrown or from outside, lax mall security puts lives at risk.

Robbery in the mall

Sarin gas attack in Tokyo subway
Sarin gas attack in Tokyo subway | Source

Terrorist target 2: Mass Transport System

If I were a terrorist, the mass transport system is a good target. The number of commuters especially during rush hour can make the attack truly devastating. At the heart of this juicy terror target is the poor implementation of security procedures. Just like mall security, there are checks but are rarely worth the effort. Of course international airports and other ports of entry can have better security but all it takes is one security personnel not doing their job properly.

Enclosed locations like subways have been a favorite for chemical attacks. Do you remember the sarin gas attack in Tokyo’s subways? If security is not vigilant, this will happen again. When you think the worse problem you can encounter is losing your luggage or delays in your travel plans, think again.

Large crowds have higher security risks.
Large crowds have higher security risks. | Source

Terrorist Target 3: Tourist destinations and events

Every country offers attractions to tourist. During special events, tourist destinations are cramped with people. Some events draw people by the tens of thousands. Whether they are street events like most Fiestas in the Philippines or indoor events and activities the threat is real.

Hotels, festivals, sporting events, music events and places of interest are prone to terror attacks. If I were a terrorist, I don’t need to go all out with a dirty bomb. Biological weapons can work best for these situations. The close contact of people will be my ally – not to mention the poor customer protection being implemented. If I’m pressed for time, or my terrorist cell is low on budget, I can simple use an IED (improvised explosive device) and toss it in the crowd. It may not be as effective but I can instill fear.

Event organizers, business owners and the local government must work together to prevent such atrocity to happen.

Theft in McDonalds caught on tape

Important note:

For the record, I’m not a terrorist. I have no ties with Al Qaeda or our homegrown terrorist group called Abu Sayyaf. Rather, I simply present customer service lapses in security that can be used for bigger threats.

From customer service to public safety

Protecting civilians from terrorism is the job of government agencies. Homeland Security, FBI, local law enforcement units and other agencies have their ear open for threats. But this does not mean businesses should put their guards down. Protection against theft, injuries or poor products is necessary. But from what I have seen, the lax security in many facilities both public and private can easily be breached. Unfortunately, even the smallest of loop holes can have disastrous effects.

Of course many will argue that security and safety protocols are in place. However, implementing them properly is another matter. The truth is I don't mind the delays due to inspections and searches. In fact I welcome it. It's for my protection; it's for my family's protection. However, I have concerns with the way the inspection is done. Moreover, surveillance cameras are good tools Unfortunately, the way they are used is simply reactive. Although the incident was caught on tape, it already occurred. Preventive security measure will give me peace of mind when I'm out with my family.

Consumers must demand their right to a secure and safe place. The lack of attention to consumer security and safety is a precursor to bigger threats. Perhaps it’s being too pessimistic but putting our guard down has been proven to be detrimental.


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello M.Orteza,

      You don't need to go far to see this happening. Just take a look at how the guard in your office uses his magic wand. :)

    • profile image

      M. Orteza 5 years ago

      This is funny. When I go to malls in Manila, I see these magic wands poked into bags. But the guards rarely pay attention to what they are doing. It's more of an inconvenience than a security check.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Charlee Wright,

      Complacency is just a terible thing to have - especially for public and consumer safety. I don't mind the extra layers of procedures just so it protects me and my family. But security personnel doing it half-heartedly makes it more of a nuisance than help.

    • Charlee Wright profile image

      Charlee 5 years ago from Vancouver, Washington

      Interesting topic. On a small scale, where I used to work, we practiced 'aggressive hospitality' If someone doesn't belong, identify, approach, and remove if necessary, all very politely of course. Sadly not many people share your appreciation for security, and the laps, or just plain laziness you pointed out just make people more intolerant. I can't tell you how many people have become enraged over being asked for ID with a CC payment. I try to remember to thank people that ask for mine and actually look at it, they are the ones that catch a con.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there H.Agosto,

      I've notice this as well. some guards stick their magic wands into the bag without even looking into them. Such awesome powers to have don't you think?

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Dave,

      It's frustrating to fall in long lines and get a half-hearted tap on your back and abdomen. This is their idea of "searching for weapons". The magic wand is also amusing and irritating at the same time.

    • profile image

      H.Agosto 5 years ago

      I'm currently in Manila and I've noticed the magic wand you are talking about. Some security guards don't even pay attention to what they are doing!

    • profile image

      Dave 5 years ago

      I'm from Manila and I know what you mean. Sometimes the security guards are not doing their jobs properly.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello tirelesstraveler. Thank you for reading the hub and sharing your thought. Just reently another robbery inside a mall took place in Manila. It just shows how poor service can turn into something deadly.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Very thought provoking.

      Putting everyone into a queue does nothing to prevent terrorist. There is so much to be said about this topic. I do mind waiting in a queue for security. Where there is a pattern there is someone who studies it and devises a way around it.

      Only criminals have guns where they are illegal. Upstanding citizens stand in queues, but terrorists don't. They know it takes too much time.