Thursday, October 3, 2013
Back in March 2012, organizer Julie Bestry and I found someone's cell phone in the bathroom of the Baltimore/Washington Airport. Fortunately for the owner, we wanted to return the phone, not steal it. There was no lock screen, so we called the last person the owner had called, and the last person who had called her. One of those people was her sister, who knew where she was flying to — so we were able to find the gate, find her, and return her phone.
All of this made me much more conscious of making it easy for people to return lost items to you when they're trying to be helpful. Here are some ideas.
1. Add your name and contact info to your device’s lock screen.
I do use a lock screen, but mine shows my name and my home office landline number, where I could call and pick up any messages, as well as one of my email addresses. On my iPhone, I used an app called Contact Lockscreen (shown above) to do this, but there are many ways to add text to an image.
2. Label your stuff.
Rachel of the website Small Notebook lost a camera, and was lucky enough to get it back after a few weeks, because someone tried really hard to find the owner. Rachel said, “I realize this whole situation would have been easier if I had put my name and phone number on it.”
3. Leave helpful photos on your camera.
As Eileen notes on Blurb Blog: “Find a piece of paper. Write this on it: If you’ve found this camera, email me at: your email here. Make it large and very clear, and take a picture of it with your camera. Keep that image in your camera always. Why? Because humans are curious and whoever finds your camera will scroll through the photos and come across the photo.”
For more about such a strategy, go to the Digital Photography School website and look at the very funny series of photos that Andrew McDonald left on his camera.
4. Use a service like StuffBak.
StuffBak lets you protect your privacy — your name and contact information are not shown on the labels — while still making it easy for people to report that they‘ve found your item. The labels are available in many shapes and sizes. [via Dumb Little Man and Metafilter]
The rest of the “lost things” series:
How to Avoid Losing Your Keys, Phone, Etc.
Strategies for Finding Lost Things: Phones, Keys, Etc.
Gadgets to Help You Find the Things You Lost
Avoiding Lost Items: Two Special Tools