Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where'd I Put That Puffer Fish?

'Ell-O!In London, when you leave something in a train, bus or taxi, the policy is that they hang onto it at the Transport For London Lost Property Office until someone claims it. And I was amazed at the stuff that people forget that the property office gets to hold. Simply amazed.

A record 170,000 items of lost property were left on the capital’s transport network over the last year. According to Julie Haley who manages the lost property office, the number of items that are handed in has been increasing year after year and claims that they receive approximately 700 items every day. (If you do the In England, it's OK to math with the 170,000 items a year figure, it appears to amount to around 465 items a day, but it's still a hell of a lot.) She claims that the fact that such a huge number of items are turned in every day "is a real testament to the honesty of Londoners on the whole.” See, but to me it's a testament that Londoners would forget their heads if they weren't attached to their bodies, so it's all just a matter of perception, really. Overall, about one in three of the items are returned (eventually) to the rightful owner (or the thief who left them on the bus).

So what do people leave on The Tube? Well, last year there were 32,268 books, 27,946 bags and 25,802 clothing items left behind. (What kind of clothing items? How many of those were pants? After all, the thing is called "The Tube". It seems like a reasonable question.) And if the pictures that the fine folks over at The Telegraph are any indication, there's a whole lot, I mean a whole lot of other stuff left lying around the transportation vehicles of London. Let's take a gander, shall we?

Stuffed (and lost) Puffer Fish

  • The stuffed puffer fish. What amazes me about this one is that it doesn't appear to be in any sort of carrying device. I could see forgetting it if it were in some sort of tank or box, but if you've got this sucker tucked under your arm, you'd think you might notice when you don't have it tucked under your arm (or when it feels a lot less pokey).

No one is coming back for these phones. The skull? Maybe.
  • Um, the 80s called. They want their phones back. (And bring the skull while you're at it!)

Now everyone can pretend they're the Queen on the bus.
  • I didn't even know that there were this many sparkly tiara like hairpieces that looked like butterflies or dragonflies, let alone that many that were left on the Tube. (Maybe they are actually tiaras. It is London. They have that whole monarchy/Queen thing going on and there are tiaras involved with stuff like that.)

Someone else's teeth.

  • And finally, the grossest (and most mind boggling) of them all: The piles of false teeth and other dental appliances and prosthetic teeth. Apparently, one guy who had lost his false teeth on a bus picked them up from the lost property office, only to return a few hours later to explain that they weren't his after all! Let's just forget about the "How do you leave your teeth on a bus?" question that's running through everyone's head right now. How about the other pressing question of, "How do you put in false teeth that aren't yours?!?!" (Good Lord, I hope he didn't have them in his mouth during the entire time he had them before he realized his unfortunate error.)

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