26 September 2014

The sniffing judges of San Diego

Here is the story in a nutshell:

Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination.

For years, inspectors with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority run down their checklist for each cabbie -- proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing.

Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer.
I shall avoid the discussion of prejudice and discrimination: after all, the quality and quantity of noses smelling out racism anywhere and from any distance is more than sufficient these days, so one shouldn't interfere, especially not from afar. The article covers that side of the issue only too well.

The other aspect of the story isn't explained to my satisfaction, though: who are these mysterious "inspectors", mentioned only briefly, whose mission it is to sniff out the BO levels and to act on the results? Do these people undergo special training? Are they equipped by some sniffer tools? How the results of the sniffing are graded?

Mystery. Uncertainty. Confusion.