The Transportation Security Administration was brutally mocked Wednesday after boasting about the confiscation of liquids at an airport security checkpoint.

What happened?

Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson, posted a picture of liquids that TSA officers confiscated from travelers going through security at the Syracuse Airport.

The picture — which included drinks, personal hygiene products, and even snow globes — showed the confiscated products sprawled out in front of a lectern, apparently on display for a public service announcement regarding TSA liquid rules.

Display of oversized liquids, gels and aerosols that travelers had in their carry-on bags at the ⁦@SyracuseAirport@TSA Checkpoint in a 3-day span,” Farbstein tweeted. “The limit for liquids through a checkpoint is 3.4 oz.”

TSA rules state:

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage.

What was the reaction?

The picture generated thousands of responses, most of which mocked the TSA for enforcing allegedly “arbitrary rules.”

  • “I am curious: Did any of these items end up containing anything that would’ve threatened the lives of plane passengers? Or is this just bragging about arbitrary confiscation of people’s property, at a time when it’s harder for families to afford food, drinks, & toiletries?” one person reacted.
  • “Thank GOD. Someone needs to protect us all from snow globes and Capri Suns,” one person mocked.
  • “But you can purchase nearly all of those items in similar sizes on the other side of security, at 2-3x the price,” one person noted.
  • “Imagine stealing someone’s souvenir snow globe & thinking that you’re the good guy,” another person said.
  • “Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear elbow braces because of repetitive strain injury due to patting themselves on the back for safely confiscating your 150 ml sunscreen,” another person mocked.
  • “It will never stop being hilarious that they confiscate these items allegedly in case they are dangerous then store them all next to each other,” another person observed.
  • “Thank you for keeping us safe from people who want to hydrate, apply lotion, or brush their teeth, Lisa,” another person mocked.
  • “The fact that they are all assembled there instead of detonated in a bomb disposal unit tells you they know these are safe and the policy is theatre only,” one person observed.
  • “It’s amazing that our tax dollars are paying the TSA employees’ salaries, and when they want to brag about a job well done, the best they can come up with is, ‘We inconvenienced lots of people who just wanted to pack enough toothpaste for the whole family,'” another person said.

While the 3.4 ounce rule feels arbitrary, apparently there is good reason for it. The small size of the container, in fact, would prevent a destructive explosion if someone attempted to detonate explosives on a plane via a liquids container.

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