Sunday, January 31, 2010

The lost iPod: what would you do?

Today while I stopped into Home Outfitters for a few minutes, I found an iPod Nano on a shelf inside a charging station valet. There were small, messy fingerprints all over but no other identifiable information. Obviously it was misplaced by a child who was probably crying somewhere in the mall. Maybe her parents were busy trying to retrace their steps.

I couldn’t just leave it there. I asked a couple salespeople if they knew of anyone looking for a lost iPod. They didn’t. I was on my way to the checkout. So, while paying, I gave the cashier the iPod and asked her to take my name and number. I left clear instructions asking her to call me if the owner didn’t come back to claim it within a week or so. Why? I wanted to make sure someone working at the store didn’t take it home. There had to be some way to find the owner even if she didn’t come forward.

After I had made my decision and returned the Nano, I put the question out to my friends on Twitter. Here’s what they had to say.

As you’ll see, most of them would have done the same thing. One person suggested doing nothing. Daniele Rossi and Dave Jones suggested taking it back to Apple since they could probably trace it back to the owner. Great tip, I hadn’t thought of that.

What would you do?

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  1. I would have given it to the cashier, and told him/her where I had found it. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have left my name or number - not for any particular reason, I just wouldn't have thought of it. (Naively, I'm sure) I would expect the cashier to be ethical about it, and bring it to the store manager. (If there is an obvious vendor close by, I even do that when I find cash).

  2. Interesting dilemma. I think giving it to the cashier is a good option. If someone is retracing steps they'll likely ask at the counter if anyone turned it in.

    I had a funny one happen last week myself. I found $5 while out running. It was going to get ruined under the snow and slush and there was noone around (so figured it hadn't just been lost). I picked it up and gave it to a homeless person on the danforth. Hopefully whoever lost it would be OK with it going to someone who needs it.

  3. Over the years, my wife and I have lost our wallets at least 2-3 times. I put a piece of paper in it with my phone number. We've always had it returned to us without anything missing. I think there is a fair amount of integrity in people, despite the odd exception.

  4. This is precisely why I always order my iPod from the online Apple store--they offer free engraving on new iPods, and I always put my name and e-mail address on it in case I lose it, in the hopes that someone as kind as Eden will turn it in or e-mail me.

    I would have done exactly the same thing, Eden. Good for you. =)

  5. @Shop T.O. Live, Kathryn, Glen and Tiff, Thanks for your comments and restoring my faith in humankind. Kathryn, I think you stumbled on something interesting - pardon the pun - giving the money to someone in need is an interesting approach that makes a lot more sense than found money being kept by someone who doesn't need it.

    Happy Shopping,


  6. I agree, I would give it to the store owner. I didn't know about being able to trace the owner through the Apple store, so that is a great idea.

    I have found a lot of money over the years. My policy over the last few years has been to give it anonymously to a charity if I cannot find the owner. I hope somehow the universe will even things up for the person who lost it.

  7. Anytime anyone in my family finds money, they buy a lottery ticket.

  8. I appreciate your honesty. I recently lost my IPOD while visiting Huntington Beach and someone as honest as you returned it to me. Luckily I had my email address in the email app. Since then I also added my information in the Notes app.

  9. Jim, thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. What a great idea! Glad you were able to get your iPod back. I’m not sure what happened to the iPod I found but I hope it went back to it's owner too.



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