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Lost & Never Found

Every day for the past three years, I’ve walked by the dean’s office on the way to my locker. Every day, I’ve seen the benches (and sometimes tables) of lunchboxes, books, water bottles, and any number of other baubles that crowd the space. Sometimes items are gone in a day. Sometimes they stay till the […]

Every day for the past three years, I’ve walked by the dean’s office on the way to my locker. Every day, I’ve seen the benches (and sometimes tables) of lunchboxes, books, water bottles, and any number of other baubles that crowd the space.

Sometimes items are gone in a day. Sometimes they stay till the end of the quarter. But I’m always left wondering: Why do people not find their items? And how many other things never make their way to the lost and found? I asked Co-Dean of Students Mr. McCarthy ’80 to find out.

”We receive between six and ten items every day,” he explained. But the items stack up fast. We’ve all seen the tables of items that accumulate at the end of the quarter. Additionally, no one can say how many items are never taken to the lost and found and are doomed to forever haunt the bottoms of desks.

According to Mr. McCarthy, the most common items are clothing, lunch bags, water bottles, cellphones, calculators, iPads, and keys. As most of us know, the majority of these items are kept in the area in front of the deans’ office. This of course creates a major drawback, as students can simply walk in and take items. From textbooks to lunch boxes and even the occasional pencil bag, many students use the lost and found as an emergency stash of school supplies. However, there isn’t much that can be done to stop this.

“For pricey items, we pull those into our individual offices, items like phones and Hydro Flasks,” Mr. McCarthy assured. “We make sure kids have proof it belongs to them.”

But the majority of items are labeled with no name, and therefore, no way to ensure they’re returned to their real owner.

“We encourage kids to somehow put their name on items,” he said, “Some students think that’s just an elementary school thing, but we know parents spend good money on lunch bags, water bottles, and we’d love to give them back to kids if they just had their name on them.”

“We make every effort to make sure things are returned,” he assured, but there’s only so much the deans can do. Ultimately, it falls on the students to come and search for their items or make the deans aware if something important, like keys, a phone, or an iPad, are missing.

I asked Mr. McCarthy what the average turnaround was for most items.

A haiku that hangs above the piles of items.

“Things like car keys, iPads, and cellphones are found in the first day,” he answered, “Other electronics take two to three days. Lunch bags, water bottles, and clothes are about a week, or they go unclaimed altogether. At the end of the quarter, any remaining lunch bags, water bottles, and non-CB clothing is bundled up and given to the Sacramento Food Bank.”

The bottom line is that it falls to student responsibility to retrieve items, which leads back to the first question: Why do students not come to collect their items?

“For many students there is some embarrassment; they don’t want to come forward and admit and ask about it,” Mr McCarthy supposed. We all know the shame of admitting we lost something, but in the long run it’s far better to get it back then say nothing.

“Some students may see that they have plenty of items and that their parents just provide and they don’t need to seek out and find them,” he also said. “I hope that’s in the minority. Some don’t understand the value of the item and don’t have that urgency to relocate their missing items. Some are simply forgetful.”

Ultimately, almost all of us will lose things over the course of our time at CB. With our busy schedules and the vast amount of things we have to keep track of, it’s nearly unavoidable. All we can do is make sure our possession can be traced back to us and take the initiative in looking for them.

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