I was in the british museum on monday and noticed a camera had been left in the toilet cubicle I was in. Do you leave it there or hand it in to lost and found?
I opted for lost and found (if there is such a desk in the BM), I held the camera in my hand in an obvious sort of way (didn't want to look like I was stealing it) and just outside the toilets a worried looking woman (with husband in tow) claimed the camera back amidst many thanks etc
All ended well, but what is the protocol in this situation?
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Your option for taking the camera to the lost and found was the best one. There is no specific "protocol" for these situations, just your own conscience. I always look at it from my point of view - what would I want if I lost something. Personally, someone like you who would turn it in as lost. Some people don't always remember where they set down an item leaving them unsure where to start looking. I opt for lost and found first, if not there, then frantically begin my hunt. When it comes to things such as wallets and purses - definitely turn them over to lost and found or a security guard. But, do not go through either of them looking for an ID - just give them to someone of authority. Not always will the owner think to check a lost/found or ask security if their item has been turned in, taking for granted it was stolen by someone else. I still believe you did the right thing and were fortunate enough to reunite owner with camera.
During one of Pardus' visits, I accidentally left my big pink wallet at the check-out counter while we were in WalMart. We got all the way to the next store when I realized I didn't have it with me. We immediately returned to WalMart and as we approached the cashier, she told her current customer to please wait a minute. She rushed toward us, grabbed my arm and directed us to the security desk, explaining she had seen the wallet and had them lock it away. She expected I would be back to claim it. For the next week, every time we'd leave the house, Pardus would ask if I had my wallet with me.
Depends what camera. A full frame digi costing £5000? - I'd have kept it and rationalized it would have been insured.
Did find a phone once. Phoned 'home' and all was well.
I was at a big dance party in a piazza somewhere in the middle of Venice when I found a wallet stuffed with cash on the ground. I didn't and don't speak Italian, and my friend on this trip is a stutterer who doesn't speak any language particularly well.
I never once had anything but a "back of the head" urge to keep the money. But, standing in the middle of a piazza with someone else's wallet could be construed as me stealing someone's wallet. I could hold it above my head and yell WALLET!!! but that would bring everybody running. I couldn't be sure that I was giving it to the right person unless I looked through the wallet. If I looked through it and someone misconstrued things, I couldn't explain myself.
These were my thoughts.
So I shoved the wallet in my pocket and walked over to some Italian police who were there to keep the peace. They all had short MP5s hanging from their loadbearing vests.
I approached and went through the pantomime of finding the wallet and looking for the owner and then deciding to give it to the authorities, much to the amusement of the five men. The leader stepped forward and I held the wallet out to him. He took it with a grave face, then rooted through the wallet, took out the money, pieced it off to the other men, and shoved the wallet into his vest.
I tell you this story to illustrate that getting things to the authorities doesn't always mean you got it to someplace safe.