Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lost and Found

Not long ago, my wife and I spent an evening at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. In order to get to our room, we had to pass by the lost and found office for the entire facility. Given that the hotel has over 2,000 rooms, it was a fairly large operation and I stopped in because I doubted that there was anyone else in the hotel with a better story than the people that staffed this particular office.
Upon entry, I peered over the half-door and there was a dark-haired woman seated at a computer and wearing a headset. There were several rows of industrial shelving behind her and each held large plastic bins of what I assumed where misplaced items waiting to be claimed. She cordially inquired if I had lost an item and I informed her that I happened to be walking by and was curious what the strangest item they had ever had claimed. The phrasing was intentional because while I am sure they had many odd items placed in their care; there are many people who would rather replace said item than face the embarrassment of claiming ownership.

She smiled warily and assured me that “there is nothing you could imagine that we haven’t had.” I clarified to see if her statement still applies to items that had actually been claimed and she reiterated that regardless of the nature of the item, they had seen it all. By now, she had clearly begun to wonder what she had done to deserve the punishment of being on duty when I walked in and was eager to get back to work. Thanking her for her time, my wife and I made our way back to our room where she was going to freshen up her makeup.

While sitting in the room and waiting for her to get ready, I replayed the conversation in mind and the more I thought about it the more I felt like she had challenged my creativity. On the complimentary stationary, I quickly compiled a list of items and called back down to the lost and found office to see if her initial statement still held water. She cheerily answered the phone, but I did notice a change in tone when I explained that I was the guy who had been inquiring about strange items earlier. I told her that I had a list and simply wished to know if they had seen any of the following items:

Me- Inflatable giraffe?
Her – Pool or otherwise?
Me – Either
Her – No.
Me – Last will and testament?
Her – No.
Me – Container of combustible liquid?
Her – No.
Me – Artificial limb?
Her – No.
Me – French currency?
Her – No.
Me – An urn with human remains?
Her – No.

With each successive answer, I could almost hear her wondering why she couldn’t have called in sick today.I ended the conversation by thanking her again for her time and adding (somewhat haughtily) “So I suppose they are some items I could imagine that you have not had….” Undoubtedly already filling out the paperwork necessary to be transferred to another department, she conceded that perhaps she had underestimated my creativity and optimistically asked if “that was all I needed.”

As I hung up the phone, my wife emerged from the bathroom and asked me who I was talking to. When I explained and showed her the list in my hands, she simply shook her head and wondered aloud for what to have been the 500th time in our marriage “What is wrong with you!”

I always wonder if there are people that just walk into lost and founds and start fishing to see if they can luck out by asking vague questions like “You guys did not happen to find a large amount of cash and/or precious stones that may or may not have been left in a common area in the past few weeks did you?” I have been told that going to the lost and found at a large hotel is also the easiest way to acquire a spare phone charger without incurring any additional cost.   

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