Anyone who has travelled to the US will have experienced the grumpy prison warder character otherwise known as a US immigration official.
Their favourite pastime involves barking orders at jet-lagged visitors and shattering any preconceptions about the customer-is-king, have-a-nice-day culture that sitcoms misleadingly suggest encapsulate all things American.
So when I disembarked from a flight to San Francisco just two days after new rules were introduced - ordering that all travellers entering the US on a visa have to be photographed and fingerprinted - it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I followed the signs to immigration.
My gut feeling told me that the introduction of the new biometric technologies would serve only to (a) give the 'cheery' immigration officials an even greater sense of self importance and (b) prolong the 'joy' of the experience that is US immigration.
Conducting a straw poll among my fellow travellers in the queue for passport control, opinions ranged from nonchalance and apathy to fuming anger on the abuse of human rights.
But for most people the overriding feeling was one of intrigue. How would we be fingerprinted? Should we smile at the camera, or strike a 'just back from a funeral' pose?
And just how much had it cost to kit out every single immigration desk at every international airport in the country with digital scanning equipment?
Perhaps the only inevitable thing about the experience was the emergence of problems, but this was less to do with the technology than a lack of training.
I would estimate that each person took around twice as long to process as in pre-biometric scanning days. Not bad if you compare it to the introduction of new technologies in a business environment.
Terrorist scanning and tracking capabilities aside, there are benefits to the technology: the immigration officials are so consumed with operating the new kit that they hardly had time to get into mean-and-moody mode.
It was the first time I'd been through immigration without feeling like I was on the FBI's most wanted list. So it was a relatively painless experience - for me at least.
The technology hasn't transformed things enough for visitors to expect many 'have-a-nice-day' style comments in this part of the terminal building.
But neither did I march through to baggage claim thinking that I'd better not get into trouble now.
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