Lost Property

               I hate lost property. The rule is that everything that is left behind has to be kept and logged unless it has been placed in a bin. This means that lost property is full of junk – odd socks, almost empty toothpaste tubes, soiled underwear and so many phone chargers – plus it smells terrible. Low value items are kept for a year, high value items are kept for five years. There is so much, it fills the entire attic. I hate lost property.

               Every day, I have to deal with about five enquiries regarding missing items. Very often, the details are vague. The caller can’t remember where the items were, when they were left behind or sometimes what it actually looked like. So, I go and check the log…

               “My husband stayed with you last week and left his trousers behind”. We didn’t have his trousers as upon checking the log I discovered he hadn’t stayed here. Quite where he left his trousers (and where he was last week while his wife thought he was away) remains a mystery…

               “I left some shampoo in the room, please can you post it to me”. The (half used) bottle of shampoo was worth less than the value of the postage. I had to wrap it up and take it to the post office on my way home. The next day, we got a call saying the lady has refused the postage charge and is sending back her (half used) bottle of shampoo to us.

               “I am looking for a t-shirt that got left behind on my last visit”. It turned out that was 16 months ago. I explained we don’t keep things for longer than a year, he wasn’t happy, started shouting and asked for the manager’s name. I never did find out what happened next.

               Then there are the more unusual items. The attic holds a trombone, a judge’s wig, a 6ft teddy bear and two wheelchairs.

               For high value items, we try and contact the owners, but find that they gave us the wrong contact details or they simply never return our messages. Perhaps, this is why we have a safe full of unclaimed jewellery, watches, mobile phones and car keys.

               Three weeks ago, somebody left an entire packed suitcase and flew to Dubai without it. I emailed the couple who left it and they replied with “you keep it”. Nothing else, that was the whole email. So up into the attic it went next to a pile of dusty children’s toys which are too damaged to give to charity.

               I hate lost property.

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