Monday, July 28, 2008


I'm sitting here at BMI (Bloomington, IL Central Illionois Regional Airport AKA CIRA) airport and recalled a conversation I overheard last time I flew through here. I don't often travel through BMI because I sometimes can get better travel times through CMI or simply ORD. But this week I am and thought I'd post this little bit of gossip I fell into.

I'll give some background here so you the reader can understand how BMI is setup. All shops are prior to entering security. Once you pass through TSA there are no shops. Quite frankly, I don't understand this because it is a fairly new airport and most people will spend their time behind security but this is the way it is.

There is one feature on the upper floor where some vending machines live. So we can at least buy liquids once through. However, there is also a coffee machine supplied by one of the local companies. It is on the honor system. Take a cup, pay $1. Get a refill for $0.50. Not a bad deal for a hot drink once through.

Now comes the juicy bit. The conversation I overheard was between two guys. One was (I assume) some one who worked for the airport. I saw him overseeing some maintenance work that was being performed on the building. The other man was only someone associated with the honor coffee. Both were well dressed (i.e. business casual). The coffee man was complaining to the airport guy that their company had noticed they seem to be selling more coffee than they are collecting in the money box. The coffee man had a camera put up and tied to a VCR in their office. They recorded people and it turns out it isn't the passengers stiffing the coffee company it is the airport workers (yes, apparently also including TSA agents). Juicy news, eh?! It is a shame we can't get a copy of the video. Technically it is in a public area (I'm pretty sure public money was used to build the airport) so it should be releasable.

Perhaps someone with some journalistic sense can get the tape from the coffee company. It would certainly be interesting to watch.

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