How Not To Deal With Lost and Found Effectively...

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Sgt Steve's picture
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...or, Sgt. Steve tells some tales and indulges in some snark. Some of the details have been changed to obscure the people involved, but all this stuff happened at this year's Anthrocon.

How Not To Find Your Camera.

3AM, in the Westin operations room.

"Has my camera been turned in?"
"What brand of camera is it?"
"I don't know."
"Can you describe it?"
"It's a camera."
"Big lens, little lens, fancy stuff on it?"
"A few things."
"What color is it?"
"Black. Or brown. Or maybe gray. With some colored stuff on it."
"That's not very specific."
"Can I just rummage thru the box and look for one?"
"Not really; you could just claim any camera you liked.
"Oh!"
"Can I do that once the con is over?"
"Sure, drop Kage a note."

How Not To Find Your Con Badge

"I lost my con badge."
"What's the badge name?"
"I don't know."
"What's the badge number?"
"I don't know. Can I just look through them?"
"How will you know which one is yours?"
"I'll probably recognize it."
"How will we know it's yours?"
...attendee ponders for a moment... "You could just trust me."

We told him walk down to registration, get his badge number and name, and come back. Never saw him again.

How Not To Find Your Cellphone

"Hi, I lost my cellphone."
"What kind is it?"
"Black."
"Brand?"
"Android."
"What brand of droid? Motorola, etc?"
"I don't know."
"Carrier?"
"Huh?"
"Who's your phone company - Verizon, AT&T, etc?"
"I don't know." (Are you sensing a theme here?)
"Have you called it?"
"Yes, it just rings."
"All the phones in the box are turned on, none has rung."
"Can you check anyway?"
"Sure. What's the phone number?"
"I don't know."
"How did you call it?"
Attendee remembers another appointment, leaves room quickly. We call the other lost and found, they're ready for him.

Finding Your Missing Purse

Another 3AM at the Westin incident.

"My purse was stolen!"
"Can you describe the person who stole it?"
"I didn't see them."
"Where was it when it was stolen."
"I left it on a table in the dance."
"How long was it between when you put it there and when you noticed it was gone?"
"Last year."
"Beg pardon?"
"I left it at the dance Sunday night last year."
*stunned silence*
"Wouldn't it have been turned in this year?"
"No ma'am, it would have been turned in to either to us here last year or the hotel or DLCC. Did you have any ID in it?"
"Yes, my driver's license. And my credit cards. And my cellphone."
"If it were turned in, we would have looked in it for ID and contacted you."
"That's how I know it was stolen! You should look for it."
"Why would the thief bring it back this year?"
After some thought: "I supposed they wouldn't."

After some discussion, she agrees it's far too late to get her purse back from the 'thief.'

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Sgt Steve's picture
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There's actually a fifth story, but it's not postable here. Let's just say that some people have excessively high expectations of how they can get their hands on their found items.

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Glelin's picture
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Woooooooowwwwwwwwww..... Some of those people aren't even trying to be crafty at all.

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Sgt Steve's picture
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Yep, yep. I'm pretty sure the first and last of the above were actually honest, but the other two...

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Unclekage's picture
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I really, really, really, really wish people would put their names in things.  Not just sketchbooks, but take a Sharpie and write your name on your camera, or your tripod, or your Ipod.  It would make my job after the convention so much easier.

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FangFox's picture
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that's actually a good idea, i'll take a silver sharpy and write my name on the inside of my battery compartment of my cell phone, just in case for next year

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panzier's picture
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*writes on Kage*  If found (muttering and huddled in a corner) please return to Grandma Kage

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Sgt Steve's picture
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Another regular request is "My friend lost her cellphone/camera/whatever and asked me to look for it." For most of those, the answer is a polite 'no.'

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Trevorkitty's picture
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Having dealt with Lost and Found at a college, I can assure you there are plenty of unscrupulous people out there who attempt to game the system and claim items that aren't theirs. They know that Lost and Found is often handled by ill-prepared and good-faith-assuming volunteers, and take advantage of this. Thank you, Anthrocon Staff, for being professional about it and making sure things are properly claimed!

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Prisma Lin's picture
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thats pretty terrible... that people would just want to claim something for their own gain... makes me sick

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FOR GREAT SCIENCE!

panzier's picture
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Sorry Lin, its a fact, some people suck and some people steal and well the con is full of people and some fraction of those congoers, while hopefully really small, suck.  I found a usb thumbdrive last year after con ops had closed up it took me about a month to track down the owner and mail it off.

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Prisma Lin's picture
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daw see thats awesome. 

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FOR GREAT SCIENCE!

Mizuhiro Neko's picture
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Someone stole Wii Kitty's bag from one of the dances and took it to Arizona. He tracked it and some AZ furs dod some detective work and found the thief, though, and he's getting his stuff back.

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Someone almost left a Kindle in the VG room this year, came back during the late night tournament and asked for it back. I asked what he was reading and I could literally see the thoughts crawl through his tired, possibly slightly inebriated mind, "Crap! What the **** was I reading?!?!" He got it right though ^_^

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Irime's picture
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Yeah, I confess I'm bad about not putting my name on stuff but seeing as my phone, my iPod, and several other assorted things have been custom-tweaked by me to more resemble something in my possession, they're fairly easy to describe for identification.

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blueblitzpup's picture
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same here, i dont exactly like putting my name on things but nothing i own looks like it did when i got it, so theres no chance that i'll have a hrd time describing it to someone.

for cell phones and other devices you can set a background or theme to, having anything nonstandard would really make it stand out against others. one thing ive seen a lot with people i know is that they nver change the settings of their phone and wonder why the lost and found people (not at AC but around at places like my school or the mall, etc) cant help them find their device.

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Unclekage's picture
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Doesn't work for cel phones.  75% of the ones we find have dead batteries.  With no way to turn them on (and we are not about to keep 30 different chargers around) we can't see anything on their screens.

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blueblitzpup's picture
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well then about the only thing i can say about that is make sure you have it personalized.

i suppose now that i think about it a phone would have to be missing for a while before someone might notice its not where they left it.

i'll be sure to have a way to identify my stuff when i get to AC just in case.

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Ron Bauerle's picture
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Or do what I do, assuming you're on various charities' sucker lists and get way more address labels than you'll ever use: stick one on your phone, camera, etc., and put a piece of Scotch ® tape over it so it won't wear off as quickly while you're carrying it in your pocket all day...

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Rakedu's picture
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It might be a little tougher on cameras, but on cell phones you can put the address label inside the battery cover.

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PeterCat's picture
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For cameras, maybe you could take a picture of an address label or ID. Even if the camera's batteries are dead, the memory card can be removed and read. Just make sure to photograph the address again if you erase the memory card.

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panzier's picture
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Good idea, also most camera operating systems will ignore a text file, you could put a txt file on the card  or write really small on the card itself.

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hypr's picture
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a friend of mine found my missing conbadge, but hes yet to mail it to me heh, I hope he can make it to a con next year so I can get the badge from him.

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