One thing lead to another and something inevitably went missing. The first thing you need to remember is panic… always panic. Just get it out of the way now. Losing something is never planned and unfortunately can come about in many ways (theft, accidental drop, just plain putting it down, etc.) but the next steps typically follow the same path, with some small deviations of course.
Step 1: Panic (already checked)
Step 2: Stop it (panic and anxiety really won’t help)
“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.” – Baz Lurhmann
Once you’ve gotten panic under control it’s time to access the situation and take action. You can dramatically help you chances of getting it returned if you act fast, at the very least limit your liability.
- Cell Phone- Lost Mode is your best friend
- Debit Card- you are on the hook for this money so make sure to freeze or cancel these when you realize it’s gone
- Credit Card- you could be on the hook for 50 buck so ditto process from above
Meanwhile, helping yourself could be as simple as looking at the organizations Lost & Found. If they are partnered with Crowdfind.com then searching the Lost & Found is as easy as going to the website (Navy Pier for example). But if they aren’t quite as customer friendly you should still be able to find an email or phone number. Providing the right information can make or break your chances at this step.
- “I lost my phone…”
- They are going to need more than that to help. Type, color, model, Lost Mode, distinguishing characteristics (stickers, cracks, and so on).
- Car Keys
- Tags, do dads, and anything unique (sure would be nice if there were pictures)
- More than 1 ID or name provide it. You don’t want to miss getting reunited due to them only looking a the first credit card
- Devils in the details- many things happen with the journey to Lost & Found. Unfortunately, items can spill out or go missing so be detailed and look or items separately from the bag.
To Follow up or not to Follow up?
That’s actually a really good question and entirely depends on the organizations current process. If they are running old school email and phone the organization typically defaults to only contacting you if they find the item. There are a few large problems with this process though.
- Lost claims (you) are tracked using spreadsheets, the emails, or handwritten notes (yikes) which means without an exact match and a motivated staff it won’t get back
- Solving your problem is now dependent on the loggers perspective. Large vs small, blue vs teal, and any number of descriptive details can have totally different meaning to someone else. Written information forces staff to interpret to get a match and that’s not often.
Following up is always a good idea but too much can inhibit the process. Also, know your cut off on hope. A good rule of thumb is 7 days (with you following up) and still no item then it’s not going to show.
Meanwhile, a Crowdfind partner updates Lost & Found in real time. So you can always check in (24/7), search and sort for your specific items, and even get a guided return process for your pickup or return shipment (of course with tracking).
Summer is here so we will be taking a dive into the Music Festival Lost & Found scene (a particular specialty of mine and a common experience of yours)
Come on back to check out the next installment.