Survey Says: Claiming Items from the Lost & Found is Fair Game
My wife came home the other day with a really nice Patagonia jacket.
I'm not proud to admit this, but we're poor and couldn't afford a sock from Patagonia much less a jacket. So I asked her where it came from.
Turns out, it had been sitting in a lost and found at the theater she's been working at.
"It had been in the Lost & Found for quite a while," she told me. "Honestly, I didn't realize what it was (referring to the brand). I just saw a blue, puffy coat."
She eventually took a closer look and realized it wasn't just any blue, puffy coat -- it was a Patagonia jacket!
"I kind of laughed to myself -- I'm like, 'How could somebody not notice that this really nice coat is missing?' So, I thought, 'Well, it's been here a long time, nobody's called about it, nobody's missing it, so I will put it to good use.'" Needless to say, she brought it home, washed it and made it her own.
Curious to know just how long "a while" and "a long time" was, I asked her. "Three to four weeks," she said.
Now, I'm not exactly upset about it; it's actually a really nice jacket and looks and fits great on both of us. But, I thought it did raise an interesting moral dilemma -- is it stealing to claim something from a Lost & Found, and how much time should pass before it's considered fair game?
I took to the Mix 94.9 Facebook page with an unofficial survey to find out.
The overwhelming response from Central Minnesotans is that taking something from the Lost & Found after it's been there a while is fair game. Approximately 85% voted that it seems fair while approximately 15% voted that it's stealing.
In the comment section, a number of people voiced that the real determining factor is the amount of time that passes before something is claimed.
"How long is 'a while?'" asked Nadine.
"Depends on how long 'a while' is and the policy of the workplace," said Alastriona.
"Awhile is a very subjective term," joked Jessica. "But if a full grown adult loses an expensive jacket and has no idea where it could be to track it down, that sounds like a personal problem."
Elysia shared her own personal experience regarding the Lost & Found at a hotel chain she used to work at.
"I worked for a large hotel chain when I was young and after a certain length of time (maybe 6 months - not exactly sure) any unclaimed lost and found items were up for grabs, so to speak, per our manager."