Excuse me sir, would you mind if I look in your bag?

Excuse me sir, would you mind if I look in your bag?

The stories in The Prisoner and the Penguin are all about famous brands like Coke, Disney, Google, Monopoly, innocent… 

However if I truly believe that capturing and retelling this type of story is important, you might be asking yourself whether I collect stories about brand for which I work  – The Value Engineers – and the answer would be “Yes I do.”

So here is a fvaourite of mine about our CEO, Owen Williams, on one of many trips abroad to run a workshop for one of our clients.



“Excuse me sir, would you mind if I look in your bag?” asks the man in the blue customs uniform in a polite but firm voice.

Even at the best of times, when you know there is nothing more untoward in your luggage than your underwear, these are words that spark a little flutter of apprehension.

For Owen Williams, carrying his trusty ‘captain’s bag’ – the oversized briefcase – in which all the materials for the forthcoming workshop were being carried, they cause more than the normal twinge. He knows what’s been packed into the bag.

“Would you mind telling me what these are for?” asks the customs officer, holding up a pair of handcuffs in his right hand. “And this?” he continues, picking out a black truncheon with his left hand.

But before Owen can even start to explain, the sharp-eyed officer has spotted a bottle full of multi-coloured tablets labelled “Mind-expanding pills”. He picks the bottle out and doesn’t say anything. He merely looks at Owen and raises a quizzical eyebrow.

Owen’s ability to combine logical argument and sweet-talking are stretched to the limit, but five minutes later all is repacked. 

A slightly bemused but smiling customs officer watches Owen disappear around a corner and wonders to himself, “How do I get a job in marketing?”


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