Legitimize your Presence

| 1 Comment


Twice a week, I walk to my Japanese lesson through busy lunchtime crowds and I've been people watching as I go. It is interesting that about 75% of the people I pass along the way are wearing ID/security badges on straps around their necks. Those cards are truly ubiquitous nowadays.

I've been playing a game with the other 25% of the people on the street. If you hung a security card around their necks, how does my perception of them change? The guy in the black jeans and funky styled hair goes from "college student" to "designer." Anyone moderately well dressed turns into an office worker if they have an ID badge.

Even unlikely prospects can become legitimate with an ID badge. The old lady with the cane tottering down the sidewalk is professor or a volunteer of some sort. The woman with the toddler is a flex-time worker on a day-care run. The multi-pierced goth chick now works at the record store.

What if as a tourist you wore a security card as a disguise? The perception of people passing you on the street would change. Not a tourist anymore, you become one of the crowd.

If you don't have an actual ID card from your current or former job, you can easily fake one. Since you aren't going to try to enter a building with it, nobody is going to look too closely, so make it neat but don't worry about being perfect. Use a computer, cut and paste, or draw the elements by hand.

1) Buy a strap and card holder. I've seen them in the 100 yen shops here; I'm sure any office supply store would have them.

2) The ID side of the card should include an image of you or someone else and a name printed underneath. It needs a company or building name and logo. It may have a decorative element like a colored stripe or a subtly patterned background. A barcode orreally long ID number is a nice touch.

3) On the back side of the card, make a fake magnetic strip. A 1/2" stripe in black pen will work fine. Add some tiny text as a disclaimer or "if found return to" section.

4) Put the card in the holder and test your new identity.

1 Comment

Very interesting point of view. But also what it does is place that person into an instant position of authority. For instance en masse in let's say a park and an accident occurs people in a crisis situation instantly scan each other for someone in authority and the old lady with the security badge has no clue what to do in that situation. The same goes with someone pretending to be talking on a broken cell phone or wears a broken watch because it looks cool. What time is it or can I call 911? Ummm sorry but your friend, relative, significant other, or pet has to pass into the great beyond.

Leave a comment

Recent Comments

  • robert g.: Very interesting point of view. But also what it does read more