Can this trip be saved? “I’m sorry, we don’t have your raincoat”

In the overall scheme of things, Edward and Leonora Lawrence’s problem may seem relatively small. After they checked out of the Hampton Inn in Auburn, Mass., they discovered Leonora’s raincoat was missing, and they suspect the hotel has it.

But this isn’t a minor issue, as far as my consumer advocacy practice goes. Almost every day someone contacts me hoping I can help them retrieve their iPod they left on the plane or their cherished CD they forgot to take from their rental car.

There’s only one of me, unfortunately, and many more pressing consumer problems. So until now, my best advice has been to offer a list of executive contacts — here are Hampton Inn’s — and hope that they can solve this themselves.

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But this case is different, because Edward and Leonora’s son is none other than Ed Lawrence, a longtime reader of this site. Also, he asked me if I could put this case up for a vote.

How could I say “no”?

Let’s get right to Dad’s story.

Last month, he says, his parents were in Auburn for a wedding. Just before they left, his father saw his mother’s raincoat in the closet.

My father did not take her raincoat from the closet, got distracted, and left the room to meet my mother at the car to drive to home.

The next morning my mother could not find her raincoat, and my father realized he had left the rain coat at the hotel.

He called the Hampton Inn, and asked if they had rented out the room. He was told the room had not been used by a customer. He then told them about the rain coat.
So, my father expected the coat to still be at the closet.

To his surprise, the woman on the phone told him there was no raincoat in lost and found, and no raincoat was in the room.

Aha, a mystery! Did the housekeepers take the raincoat, which had cost Lawrence $50? Did the hotel have it somewhere other than the room?

Related: In today’s edition of What’s your problem?, I help a reader fix a chassis that destroyed his PC.

The Hampton Inn employee told Lawrence’s father several times that it is their “policy” that the hotel isn’t responsible for anything left behind.

(As a side note, I love it when businesses tell customers it’s their “policy” to do something. I wonder how they’d respond if a customer says it’s his “policy” to pay only half the bill?)

Lawrence adds,

It’s not a huge deal as many of your problems go, but my parents aren’t sure what to do next.

Should they chalk this up as a loss, or should they push for compensation, or should they go to the police?

They are reluctant to call the police because they figure the maid would probably be fired immediately. They just want the coat back.

I suggested sending a short, polite letter to Hampton. Lawrence’s father called Hampton corporate instead, and they told him the same thing — it’s our policy.

Today’s question isn’t so much about Lawrence’s rain coat. It’s about all those lost and found cases, and what to do. In addition to the items left behind, I also receive numerous requests to track down lost luggage. The best I can do is ask the airline to look into it, and there’s no evidence that my involvement makes the luggage get found any faster.

These are almost always unsolvable cases.

But telling a longtime reader that you won’t contact the company on his parents’ behalf is a certain way to lose a reader. Even a polite, rational explanation is likely to get me nowhere.

(Photo: mxgirl85/Flickr)

130 thoughts on “Can this trip be saved? “I’m sorry, we don’t have your raincoat”

  1. I left a special pillow in my bed in a room in MN (the old Radisson Metrodome) earlier this year. When I called to inquire about it housekeeping couldn’t find it. Well, what happened to it? I know I left it in the room. And, when I contacted the hotel manager, s/he couldn’t be bothered to call me back. I realize it is only a pillow, but it is one that isn’t made any longer. It still pisses me off – enough that both my husband and I have taken our regular business to a different hotel nearby.

    1. Blame on yourself, do not blame to hotel. It’s your own fault. This is for your lesson, next time you have to check the room before leaving.

  2. We had a good laugh here in Vegas. My mom left her pillow in the room at La Quinta. We realized the next day she’d left it there while were were moving into our new place. We drove the two miles back to the hotel. They didn’t know where her pillow was, but were able to hand her back the pillow case it had been in. figure that one out.

  3. My 2 year old old grandaughter put her special baby quilt in a dresser drawer of a Holiday Inn in San Antonio, Texas, about an hour before we checked out. We realized within 15 minutes of leaving that we had left it behind  and did a u-turn.  When we returned, they would not let us retrieve it, but had housekeeping check.  After waiting over 30 min. for it to be brought down, the maid was sent again and finally said it wasn’t there.  We checked back later that day and again after returning home – it was not in lost and found. We definitely left it in the drawer, so where did it go in such a short time. 

    1. Sounds like our happening…I left my reading lamp in the room, came back two days later and it was not there..the desk clerk laconically checked here and there (for appearances only I thought) and said it was not in the room and was not in storage, as they didn’t really have a storage spot for left  behind items -“!!”  why not?!! 
               He said it definitely was not there…but I think if they had let me into the laundryroom I would have found it!!  com,plete I COULDN’T CARE LESS”projected feeling on the part of the non-busy
       clerk (4pm in an aft.) ….didn’t want my name or tel.#…nothing….
                I would have liked to have been in the room myself to check if it really was there or not///I would recognize it.  Just a little sympathy on the part of the clerk would have gone a long way….well we won’t be back….sorr…GD

    2. Why didn’t you press them to go to the room ??? Clearly it hadn’t been serviced yet, so there was no reason for you to wait at reception. And when the wait went too long, you should have simply gone to the room … 

  4. Unfortunately, in these cases, you have no proof you left something there. Even if you did, the hotel couldn’t PROVE that the housekeeper filched it. So if you leave anything behind in a hotel room, you’re pretty much SOL.  This is why when I check out of a hotel room, I look EVERYWHERE.  Even if I don’t remember putting anything in a certain drawer, I’ll still check that drawer.  I’ll generally check the closet and maybe the bathroom twice.  I’ve never left anything behind at a hotel.

    1. Gosh, I wish I were perfect…….. But I ain’t.  

      Is this one case worthy of Chris’s time and talents? Naw, but it does make interesting reading for a Monday.  Ed’s a longtime reader and responder, and for that reason only, I think Chris might go a little farther this one time. 

      I have left articles behind, the worst was an old cowboy hat I left in a Avis Car at BWI.  The hat wasn’t worth much, but the military pins I had placed on it were special to me.  I called Avis from just outside security (that’s when I realized it wasn’t on top of my head), but no one could be bothered to locate that car.  After convincing the “Available Manager” that it was important to me, I was told they did check that car, but no hat.  At that point I wrote it off, I ain’t happy, but the “Blame” is mine.  They ain’t right, but it’s my fault for forgetting.

  5. “…my parents aren’t sure what to do next.”

    I hope they’re retired, because they’ve already put more effort into finding a cheap raincoat than most people’s time is worth.

    1. You do not need to be snarky!  $50.00 is a lot of money to some people and maybe it took a long time to find that particular coat. Please engage brain before making a snarky comment!

      1. I didn’t find the comment to be snarky…just realistic.  Ideally, the hotel would have been able to find the coat and return it to them, but in this case it didn’t go that way and they learn to look a little better next time before checking out.  Pretty cheap lesson, as life’s lessons go.  It certainly doesn’t warrant calling the police, which the letter writer listed as something they were considering.

  6. I left my special pillow in a room in a hotel I stayed in a few years ago. I know it’s just a pillow, but I really do have an attachment to it. After a few calls did nothing (“we will keep our eye out for it”), a polite email worked wonders. Although I didn’t get my pillow back, the hotel manager sent me a check to cover the costs of a new one.

    1. Left my pillow at my DVC resort. I wrote it off as my own fault (my pillow always has a bright case on it now, not a plain white one that matches the hotel linens), but my wife called the front desk anyway. They found it and mailed it back to us at their expense.

  7. On the flip side, we’ve left a valued pillow at a hotel and not only did the maid find it, it was cleaned and returned to us the next day. We had to drive back to the hotel to retrieve it, a 45 min drive, but it was worth it and we stay there for our beach getaways every summer now.

    1. Suzy and Toplife, could you tell us specifically which hotels gave you this excellent customer service?  We try to avoid hotels that people warn us against, so the opposite should be true too! 

  8. I once left a jacket on the back of a chair at a convention. I went back about 3 hours later, as they were closing up. I asked about the jacket and I got a bunch of shrugs and “I don’t knows”, “It’s not here”, etc. They wouldn’t even pretend like they were looking for it. So I sat in the lobby and said I would wait. Cue the deer in the headlight looks. They said I couldn’t stay, they were leaving. I said my house and car keys were in the jacket, so I couldn’t go. They were welcome to call the police, but I couldn’t leave without my jacket. Then a miracle occurred! The jacket mysteriously appeared out of thin air! (Or they just went into the room where I told them I had left, one or the other!) and I got my jacket back. 

  9. i’ve forgotten things before. on trains, in taxis, hotels, and so on…and most of the time, the item has come back to me. but i’ve never felt as if it’s the service providers responsibility to give me compensation for not finding my lost or forgotten item. instead, i feel like i’ve inconvenienced THEM for my own lack of awareness. however, i also understand that the hotel (or whereever the item was forgotten) doesn’t have to guarantee that its returned, BUT they do have a responsibility to serve the guest in a respectful manner, just like any other inquiry or issue a guest has. 

    if they’ve exhausted all channels to try and get their raincoat back, and if it appears that Hampton Inn has put a real effort into finding the item, then case closed. its not to say that i’m mean-spirited or anything, because like your reader, not everything has come back to me…and in those cases, i just have to eat the cost and try not to let it happen again.

  10. My wife left her cell phone charger in a hotel room once, we called and they offered to FedEx it to us overnight at their expense.  I refused and asked them to send it regular mail with a bill for shipping and mailed them a check for the $5 it cost them to ship it to us.  I wish all hotels were that nice, but from the post it sounds like things left behind are fare game.
     
    I agree with Chris, I hate hearing the “It’s our policy” thing.  What ever happened to doing the right thing?  Even though I think fowl play is involved, I don’t think Chris’s mediation will get anywhere, so I voted no.

    1. Repeating a request above, can you share the name of a hotel that *does” do the right thing? We should all know.

      I don’t necessarily think housekeepers are steeling the items, probably just tossing them, since there is probably paperwork involved with putting something in lost and found.

      That being said, I now have a delightful mental picture of a duck wearing a raincoat!

      1. I would love to share the name, but every time I post and mention the name of a company, good or bad, I get very rude replies from certain people telling me I am unfairly influencing peoples decisions based on one experience and not a full picture of all data.  I can no longer deal with the stress of all the hate replies, so I choose to no longer share names.

  11. I voted to pass on the executive information.  It’s not that I don’t feel like they’re worth the effort, but they would take away time from dealing with more serious cases.  I can see making an exception in an unusual case.  But I don’t see enough pay off for these, if the hotel can’t find the item then the best they’re looking for is a small voucher for another visit, and thats only if they’re lucky.

  12. I have 30 years experience in the hospitality/travel industry.

    The reality is most of the businesses that cater to the largest segment of the travelling public(hotels, restaurants, car rentals, airlines)have neither the wherewithal nor the desire to maintain a proper lost and found system. 
    If you have a lost item returned, most times it is due to the dedication or concern of an individual housekeeper, desk clerk, waiter, agent or Manager-on-Duty.  If you get your item back, thank them profusely.Assuming your “left behind” item will be returned, is a peace-of-mind amenity usually only offered by 5-star providers.

    1. I once forgot a dress pant at Toronto HILTON International on Richmond
      street and they sent to my home. I don’t even realized that I left my
      pant back there.

  13. They lost something.  Sometimes you get lucky and lost items are found.  But that’s a plus, good fortune, something to be thankful for.  Not finding an item you lost is hardly someone else’s problem.  The travelers who lost the item are the ones at fault..

      1. I agree. Lost would be somewhere along the lines of, “I think I might have forgotten it on a chair in the lobby.” Left is, “I know I left it in the closet in the room.” When an item is left behind in a hotel room, it shouldn’t be fair game for whoever on staff wants it to take it home. But that’s what seems to be the industry standard.

  14. Dear Mr. Lawrence, tell your parents to let it go. If you really want to do something constructive, please go out and buy your mother a new raincoat.

    Apologies if my response seems unsympathetic, but as a long time reader you certainly understand that through the years, Christopher Elliott’s cases have ranged from the silly to outrageous, from those that are trivial to those that have cost readers thousands of dollars. For that, asking us to vote on a case that involves a $50 rain jacket does borderline on the silly side.

    Did the housekeeper filch the rain jacket? Who knows. Then again, how certain are your parents that the rain jacket was left in the closet? Could it have been left at a restaurant? perhaps the hotel lobby? Unless you can prove it was stolen by a staff member, what the heck do you expect the hotel to do?

    Wait, they could have been more sympathetic and expressed more concern. But, facts are facts, its not the hotel’s responsibility if an item is left.

    1. I just do not get how it could NOT be the hotel’s responsibility….come on….who manages the place?  Monkeys?  No, they are human beings capable of knowing right from wrong.  And if you left something there, where else could it be?  Alas, if you left it at home, you will find it later.  If not, they should be able to produce it.  And be kind enough to let you back in to look for it.  PLEASE everyone, start making sensible decisions.  Lets get humanity back on track!

      1. “I just do not get how it could NOT be the hotel’s responsibility”

        If your friend inadvertently left her rather expensive raincoat in your place, she checked with you, you sincerely said you don’t see it anywhere no matter how hard you looked (maybe a housekeeper who regularly cleans your place took it, who knows?), then she says you’re responsible for that, how willing are you to shoulder that?

      2. Dear hotel run by MyOpinion4you,
        I left my $500 ipad in my room last night. If you don’t return it to me, you are a thief and no one should ever do business with you again.

        There are two sides to every story. If you want humanity to get back on track, start listening to both sides. If the hotel cannot find the raincoat, then they are stuck between pissing off a customer or pissing off their staff. Neither is a good answer. Or… the customer could admit they made the mistake, and that while the hotel made a good faith effort to help them, it did not pan out that way.

  15. Serious question for several posters…

    Can someone explain what is so unique about “special pillows?” Is it a certain material? contour? filling? embroidered with gold or diamonds?

    While I admit that I have my favorite pillow, last time I checked they were a dime a dozen at any big box retail store.

    1. Sometimes, these special pillows are $100 a pop, and designed to take care of orthopedic issues.  

      Sometimes, they’re simply pillows from home that help people sleep in foreign places.  

    2. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and carry a pillow with me that helps me sleep by getting my neck in just the right position.  I trolled many stores and bought several pillows before I found one that was small enough to carry when I travel but just right for my head and neck.

      While the pillow itself was about $8, the time I put into shopping for it, not to mention the prior purchases (but…  I mentioned it) until I found THE pillow is about $100.

      1. And some people apparently do not realize that a pillow can be an alleviating factor for a legitimate medical condition.  It can be a medical device, just like a cane or a sling or a brace.
         
        Please, just because YOU don’t have an issue that requires a pillow with a specific density, or contour, or is hypo-allergenic, don’t make the incredibly self-centered assumption that the case should be the same for others.  I’ll be sympathetic for your need to use crutches if you break a foot if you will be so kind as to render the same sympathy for someone who has arthritis, severe allergies, fused vertebrae, muscle damage in the neck or back, and so on, who requires a supportive pillow in order to rest.
         
        With regard to the topic at hand, while I don’t think the hotel is responsible for the loss, any business in the hospitality industry should remember that a disatisfied customer is likely to spread their tale of woe far and wide, but so will an exceptionally satisfied customer. It’s worth at least being sympathetic and having a look.

    3. My travel pillow is a thin feather pillow that is much more comfortable to me than 90% of the overstuffed pillows standard at hotels and home stores. If I sleep on a fat pillow, I will have neck pains all the next day. No emotional attachment, just a simple solution to a personal problem.

  16. I agree with @2decda0ebe6f00cf14f4d137e86defeb:disqus  Last week, my mother was frantic about having left a cane behind in a fast food place in a town 60 miles from home.  Her memory of where she’d been, how the cane was leaning against a certain table, etc. was picture perfect.  I called – no cane.  I drove there – no cane.  She was fuming about the “theft”.  Ran into her a day later – with cane.  Turns out she’d left the cane in the laundry room at her own house and not at the fast food place. 

    This isn’t a winnable situation for Mr. Lawrence.  I suggest that he buys his mother a nice rain jacket and have it monogrammed with her initials for her (Lands End products come to mind).  It will be less attractive to others with a stitched-in “security system” and shows that he’s taking his mother seriously.

  17. A hotel may have a “policy” and I understand that they can’t be responsible for every item left behind, but how a hotel handles a situation like this makes a huge difference in how I feel about a hotel.  One time, I made the extreme boneheaded move of leaving my car keys, some jewelry, and my license and debit card in the drawer of the bedside table.  I remembered while on the regional rail train headed home.  I got off the train and immediately called the hotel’s front desk and told them I left my car keys and was heading back.  When I got there, the front desk clerk gave me the “you are a total bonehead” look as she returned all of my items.  I was so grateful – we are regular guests at that hotel anyway, but this cemented our loyalty.  (it was the Embassy Suites in Philadelphia)

  18. Most of these items are likely thrown away. I’ve left  clothes and other items that I no longer need behind at hotels. Sometimes stuff is old or damaged so why carry it home. Perhaps housekeeping has a hard time distinquishing between garbage left behind and a “special” old pillow or a “treasured” old raincoat. Might make sense for the government to require hoteliers to keep any item, no matter how insignificant, in a special vault for 90 days in case the owner wants to recover his heirloom. Alternatively, people could chaulk it up as a learning moment that they should carefully check around them before exiting a hotel room, restaurant or airplane.

    1. I have left things too.  But if it is garbage, it is put in the trash can.  If it is hanging in the closet or in a drawer somewhere in the room, it means I forgot to take it with me.  I don’t see how that would be difficult to understand and distinguish. 

      1. Except that unlike you, not everyone is considerate enough to put their trash in a trash can.  On a recent trip, one of my travel companions brought old clothes with her that she purposefully left behind at the end – and she didn’t bother to put any of them in the trash can, she just left them hanging in the closet with the excuse that maybe the housekeeper might like them.

  19. One of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood was when we accidentally left my beloved Baby Tenderlove in a hotel in Florida.  Alas, there was no getting her back.  I had to settle for a new one when we got home.  

    My husband once lost a pair of track shoes at a hotel.  The hotel did not have them. 

    There’s a good reason to do a thorough room check before you leave.

    1. On the other hand I was at a Sheraton in Midwest City, OK and I had chunked a pair of sandels into the trash can just before I left the room and the maid walked in after I checked out. She caught me at the elevator waving the shoes to let me know I had “forgotten” them.  I explained they were in the trash for a reason but thanked her for running me down.

    1. Unless the customer spends a lot at the establishment, what is to be gained by a customer who stayed once who threatens to never stay again?  I think a better statement to make is that the customer will make sure to mention the bad treatment to everyone they can.

  20. As a ‘previous’ frequent traveler, I’ve left many items in a hotel and was, at the time, convinced that one of the staff had purloined my item. Most of the time, I later found out that I had simply put it somewhere other than where I normally did. And the few occurrences where I did actually leave something, I cannot recall an instance where the hotel did not return it; most of the time at their expense to mail it.

    In my experience, 20+ years of traveling, I find that a hotel staff is usually very honest. The simple fact is that there are only so many staff that have access to a room and now a days, there is an entry record for anyone that has accessed the room. It’s not difficult for management to question those that might have had the opportunity to take an item and I don’t think any hotel staff member is not aware of this.

    In my opinion, it is typically a case of the guest making a mistake and I would not expect any hotel to go to exceptional lengths to find a trivial item such as a rain coat. Additionally, if holding a hotel responsible for a ‘lost’ item became the norm, how many high value items would ‘accidentally’ be left behind.

    I think the hotel is absolutely correct in stating ‘we are not responsible for your neglect’.

    g

    1. While I agree with the hotels’ response that they are not responsible, it is annoying when they will not let you back into you room after checkout, even with a hotel employee, to check for something left behind or obviously don’t think it is worth their time to have someone check for the item and refuse to even look.

      1. Does everyone always turn in their card at the desk….just in case you need to come back for something?  They change the numbers in good time anyway.

    2. Also, what entry record? 
       
      The electonic door locks don’t have a history of who and when opened the door (regardless of what they try and make you belived in TV shows) nor are they connected to anything at the hotel that would maintain such a recod.  If you are refering to the housekeeping paper records, if someone is stealing from the guests why would they fill out the report?

      1. Mark – I don’t know where you get your info, but hotels that use key cards absolutely have the capability to record specifically who entered rooms at what time. In my first hand experience, hotels do keep those records.

        1. I should have checked before I posted. 

          Yes, modern electronic locks do maintain a log in the actual lock of who entered and when.  Sorry for my confusion.

  21. RHIP- mediate for your long time reader. 
    We have all left stuff behind and we have all been sad.  But, it just pisses me off that my “stuff” has no value within the scheme of things.
    For the person who asked about our special pillows….My special pillow is one of those squishy pillows–the ones with the little microbeads inside (by the way, did you know the guy who invented those was just trying to get rid of the trillions of pounds of leftover microbeads he had as a waste product from whatever he was manufacturing?).  Anyway, the answer- the pillow fits “just right” and these pillows are hard to find these days.  

    1. Hello John,  again I say, if we all did what was right, wouldn’t the economy be in a much better place?  Everyone needs to try harder, right down to hotel clerks.

  22. Hi Chris,
    I have two little stories about LOST items in hotels. 1st, a very expensive camera “disappeared” at an Atlanta hotel while we  were there for a wedding. The staff was very nice and “helpful” but no camera ever appeared.
    2nd, My husband purchased a beautiful Saphire and Diamond 18K wedding ring in Greece for me when we were there to replace one that was damaged beyond repair. A couple years later we were in Portugal staying at a Posada.  Every evening I take off the ring and in the morning I could not find my ring.  We hunted everywhere. Then I was not even sure I had it at this hotel and the manager called all the previous hotels we had stayed at trying to find the ring.  An alert was put out to all. We sadly with me in tears, left the hotel, leaving our intended schedule with the manager and went our way. About a half hour later we saw a car racing up behind us, sure that it was police or an emergency vehicle. A black car pulled up beside us, the manager was driving and held up his hand to show my ring on his finger. Well we were so shocked and impressed that he chased us down, we returned to the hotel to award the maid found and returned the ring. To find out the story, my husband eats pistacio nuts and puts the shells in any dish laying around in the room, which also had my ring in it. So it was not visible. the maid emptied the dish and heard a clang in the trash can, retrieved the ring and immediately informed the manager who chased us down. The story is true and we were ever grateful to the wonderful staff. Just goes to show, there are honest people in this world.  🙂 

  23. Chris,
    You have openly advocated against frequent flier programs as they reward loyalty and thus furthers the notion that all travellers are equal, except that some are more equal than others.  However, there is some irony that here you are treating a frequent reader of your site differently then the other people who send you notes like this “daily”.  Thus, he belongs to a frequent reader program :).

    As a delta diamond medallion and continental star alliance gold flier, I am all about being rewared for my loyalty.  But aren’t you as well then?

    🙂
    best,
    stef

  24. I didn’t feel this was a vote I could take part in.  My first thought was, “This is a $50 coat but what if it were a diabetic kit or piece of computer equipment?  A cell phone, a PDA?”

    I feel a fourth answer, depends on what was left behind, might have been a good one to add.

    In this case, the coat was stolen by the maid and she SHOULD be fired.  Theft is theft…

    Guests will occasionally leave things behind, that’s a fact, and the items should be sent back to the guest.  When my grandson was killed, my husband, in his haste to get to the airport (and I think we all know what happened there!) left behind a number of items in the bathroom, including his Nook Reader.  Not only had the staff at this Marriott (In El Segundo, CA) put his stuff together in a safe place, they called me to ask about what to do with it all. When I asked if they could mail it to us, they agreed and we had it two days later, at no cost to us. (I should note, he’s a Platinum member of their rewards program and this also could have been an isolated case since he was fighting tears the whole time he was checking out so they knew he left due to an emergency)

    However, when I stayed at a hotel in Monterey and left behind some clothes hanging in the closet, I called them from the airport about an hour later, when I remembered, and the clothes were already gone.  It would seem the maids do a search of rooms as the guests depart for their loot.

    This is about so much more than a coat, it’s about making sure people get their stuff back when they forget it, even if it means charging them for the service.  In this case, it is just a lost rain coat but the item was stolen from them.  It’s Mom’s coat and she should have it back.

  25. I once forgot a dress pant at Toronto HILTON International on Richmond street and they sent to my home. I don’t even realized that I left my pant back there.
    The point is we lost thing and don’t blame other for our fault. And getting old our memory felt us.

  26. I used to work for one of the largest worldwide hotels.  I lasways wondering if your found something in the room why not just mail it to the last guest that stayed in the room.  I was young and naive and my manager explained the long list of issues with just boxing a forgotten garment back to the last registered guest.  The hotels policy was to hold on to the item for 30 days and if the guest did not claim the item then the employee turning the item in was allowed to have the item.

    The housekeepers would wait a week or so after the item was left and then turn the item in to lost and found.  The housekeeping department handled the lost and found, so no checks and balances. Calls were not logged of people looking for items only when items were turned in.

    Hotel lost and found is a blackhole like lost luggage.

    1. Our hotel had a similar policy, except housekeeping did not hold stuff back.  Mostly because management would start tearing new behinds if something was missing.  Nevertheless, Lost & Found was indeed a black hole.  I did score a nice bracelet, though (not worth much but pretty) when no one claimed it after 30 days.

  27. I reluctantly agree that cases like this aren’t the best use of Chris’s time, both because of the small dollar amount involved and because it’s unlikely that the hotel would respond in any meaningful way. However, that doesn’t mean I think that it’s okay for hotel staff to steal or for hotels to discard belongings left behind without a reasonable waiting period.

    I did have a very positive experience once when I left something behind. We stayed at the Best Western in Springfield, MO and I forgot my jacket – it wasn’t expensive, but I really liked it, so I was furious with myself when I realized a couple days later that I’d left it behind. I called the hotel and the person I spoke to called housekeeping immediately and after a couple minutes of searching, they found the jacket. I told them to mail it to me and to charge the shipping cost to the credit card I’d used for the room. A few days later, the jacket showed up in the mail, but they never even charged me for mailing it. That’s the kind of customer service that makes me want to come back to a business (though really I’d have been just as happy if they’d sent it back at my cost – it was my fault for leaving it behind, after all).

    The thing that’s particularly irritating about losing an item in a hotel room compared to, say, a plane or a restaurant is that in a hotel room, it’s highly unlikely that it was stolen by another customer.

  28. I voted no in this situation.  The father saw the raincoat, and rather than taking it out of the closet immediately, he leaves it in there. Why would you not take it out when you see it?  I know that distractions can happen easily, which is why when you see an item you should put it within eyesight. 
    I’m sorry the man forgot his wife’s raincoat, but compensation really isn’t an issue, and if he felt that the raincoat was not worth filing a police report about (he didn’t want to get the maid fired) then chalk it up to lesson learned.

  29. I’ sorry, but it is not hard for a hotel/motel maid to turn in items left behind.  It isn’t like they don’t know who the items belong to!  It would be so easy to call the phone number of the last room inhabitants (hotels almost always have their cell phone number).  They might not be far away, and would be greatful to come pick up left behind items.  I do not think it is OK to assume that all is lost – and your fault.  I believe that much gain is made by the cleaning people by that mentality.  And we wonder why their pay is low….

    1. Ah, but what if they call the number and it’s the departing guest’s home number, not cell? And what if they explain to the woman who answers the phone that she left her fancy lingerie there? And what if she WASN’T at the hotel with her husband? Husband would sue hotel, for sure.

      1. If an unfaithful husband made a stupid mistake, I’m sorrry, but we are back to doing what is right.  The world goes around and he gets what is deserved. 

      2. That’s a valid reason why hotels might not proactively contact someone over a lost item, but it certainly doesn’t explain why so many items left in rooms disappear even when the guest calls within hours or days to ask about them.

  30. I’m kind of amazed at so many posts saying yeah, well, it’s your own fault–because it’s pretty obvious here that an employee at this hotel STOLE from a customer.  It doesn’t matter how much the coat cost; the maid obviously could see that it was a forgotten item! 

    If I left behind in a hotel room, say, some hand-written notes on sheets of paper sitting on the bed, a maid might reasonably conclude that they were garbage, and throw them out.  Or if I threw a half-empty bottle of perfume into the trash can, that’s a clear sign that I didn’t want it any more, and a maid might choose to pull it out and keep it.  In such cases, I couldn’t blame a maid at all.  But a coat hanging in the closet cannot be construed in any way as garbage! 

    Many, many years ago, we stayed at a Holiday Inn (!) for an extended period, and left a six-pack of Coke bottles sitting on the floor in the closet.  When we returned to the room one day, three bottles were missing–not emptied, but gone altogether.  We went over the room with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that none of us could possibly have moved them and somehow forgotten… and had to conclude that they had been taken. 

    The maid who had cleaned our room was fired.  It’s quite possible that she had accidentally broken them rather than stolen them–but the management’s position was, if that were the case, she should have said so up front!  Why would any hotel want to employ someone dishonest, particularly if that dishonesty leads to customers’ complaints?!

    1. Seriously?!?  You got a maid FIRED over 3 bottles of soda?  Was it worth it to you?  Was the minimal expense of replacing 3 bottles of coke worth the maid losing her job and not being able to feed her family?  What a petty person you are. I hope you feel proud of yourself for causing someone financial hardship. Good for you. Karma has a funny way of sneaking up on people….may it come tenfold for you.

      1. If the maid admitted to the theft, I’d fire them on the spot because you cannot have thieves working for you. (And admitting to it would make them a stupid thief, which is even worse.)  If they were an employee in good standing and denied knowing anything about it, no way I do I fire them no matter how certain the guest claimed to be–Just too much uncertainty regarding whether the items were actually stolen or simply misplaced.

        If I had to make a bet, I’d say the odds are in favor of the hotel having just told Clare the maid was fired when in reality they just had her swap floors with somebody else until Clare’s stay was over.  That appeases the irate guest while saving the hotel the hassle of finding a new maid.

      2. So how much should someone be allowed to steal without losing their job, exactly? What if it had been a $10 bill tucked into the pocket of a coat in the closet instead of a few bottles of soda? What if it was an iPod?

        My only concern would be any possibility that the maid was not in fact guilty. If it was 100% certain that she took the soda, then she should have to live with the consequences.

        1. I HIGHLY doubt that a maid came in, looked in their closet, and stole THREE bottles of soda…..and nothing else.  It’s HIGHLY implausible.  Would a maid REALLY risk her job over 3 sodas?  Why stop at 3, why not take all of them?  I think that Clare, or someone who was staying with her, drank the sodas themselves and forgot about it.  It just doesn’t make sense.  And how can she 100% certain?  Personally, I think Clare was lying to have a juicy comment to leave on here.

          And I certainly would not have a maid fired over some soda.  If the maid stole money, or clothing, then of course I would have issues.  As I said to Clare, it was petty to have someone fired over 3 sodas.  May Karma shine it’s light on her.

  31. Chris: I suggest you not mediate, because frankly there is nothing to mediate. It is not like there is a difference of opinion or interpretation. 

    Ed Lawrence: Do pursue it up to a point, but then let it go. Choose your battles wisely. There is no way to know or prove who took the coat. Although the first housekeeper will certainly get blamed, many workers have access to the room. 

    1. Dear AKT:  Many workers may have access to the room, but do you really think they know when to “raid” a room before the assigned worker comes in?  I’m sure that the assigned person could figure it out (who did it) if they were the ones that had to answer to the accusation.  Letting thugs off the hook may be OK for you, but not to the people that suffer the loss.  Have some heart, grow up, and start making people accountable.  Have you read the posts of the people that had their items returned?  They will be repeat customers, and give good press for the establishment.  Bad press should force change in the ones that let it happen.  Internet posting is a wonderful tool for change.  And….how will you feel when it happens to you?  If you can afford lost items in this economy, good for you.  But I consider this wasteful living.

  32. Mediation in most of these cases would be extremely difficult for the simple reason that there is seldom proof of the existence of the “lost” or “misplaced” item.  It then becomes a matter of one person’s word against that of another.  The best that you can do, Chris, is to pass along contact information and have everyone hope for the best.

    With theft it becomes a question of the degree of personal morality that one holds.  People with a high level will invariably do the right thing and not take or keep property that does not belong to them.  The long and short of it is that you cannot “find” anything that you did not “lose.”  Of course, this does not apply to kleptomaniacs.  Believe me, hope that you never encounter such a person!!! 

    I have learned the hard way.  At check-out time, I now do a FINAL SWEEP  before leaving the hotel room.  It takes only a few minutes and could save a lot of grief.  A couple of years ago, when I checked under the bed in my hotel room, was I ever surprised to find that my passport had somehow made its way under there!   It must have fallen on the floor unnoticed and been kicked under the bed in passing.  I also remember to give a backward glance prior to leaving a restaurant or a means of public transportation.    

    1. This is my practice as well – on the last night of any hotel stay, just before getting into bed, I always do a FULL sweep of the room to make sure I miss nothing and pack EVERYTHING that I will not need right away in the morning. Then when I get up, by the time I’ve had a shower and got dressed, all I have left to do is just close up the luggage and head out the door. Haven’t had any problems with missing items.

  33. I have a good story and they should all end like this. We stayed in the Melody Hotel in Tel Aviv checked out and drove to our next destination 1 1/2 hours away (Haifa). When we unpacked I realized that I had left whatever was hanging in the closet (pants, shirts etc) at the Melody. I called and was told that all of my items were there and would be waiting for me. I mentioned that we would be staying at one of their sister hotels (Harmony) in Jerusalem
    in a few days and they volunteered to deliver the clothes there and they did. All employees should be like this.  

  34. I left a small mirror in the Hay Adams in DC, I called them when I got home (several hours later) and they searched for it, found it, and shipped it back to me, and seemed happy to do so.   you really do get what you pay for sometimes.

  35. I’m still put out with United Airlines for stealing a raincoat. When I got on the plane, the flight attendant offered to hang it up and joked, “I love the color. I think I’ll keep it.” She did not return it when we landed at AUS, and I didn’t realize it was gone until I was through security. By the time I got back to the plane, it was empty and no United employee in the area would go on board to look for the raincoat. The gate agent said to phone Lost & Found. I did. They said they didn’t have the raincoat and to call the next day. I phoned daily (with the usual 15+ minute wait on hold) for 3 weeks. Either no one looked, or the finder didn’t turn it in. I’ve always wondered if the FA really kept it!

  36. I voted to contact the executives, why, because they should know that they have less than honest people working for their hotel. The property may have a problem with theft and this incident was one of many.  Someone had been assigned to clean the room.  This person may have cleaned other rooms where things went missing. I would certainly want to know and see if there was a pattern with one of my employees.

  37. I did not realize I had left several items in a drawer at the SpringHill Suites in Wenatchee Wa recently. They called both my cell and home phone letting me know they had the stuff, and sure enough when I drove back they had it all. Like the woman with the missing cane, I had no memory of putting my lost items in that drawer until I got back to the hotel.

  38. My favorite version is when they tell you over the phone that they found your item, and then when you return to the hotel to retrieve it they have no idea what you’re talking about and insist that you must have called the wrong hotel.  [“Who did you speak to?”  “Not sure but it was a male voice.”  “Oh that couldn’t have been us because there was no male who could have answered the phone that night.”]

    This happened to me recently with a cell phone charger.  I succeeded to eventually reach the original staff member who apparently found the charger but forgot/neglected to remove if from the room and leave it with lost & found.  It was STILL exactly where I originally left it (even though other guests had used the room in the interim) and they mailed it to me.

  39. Many, many years ago we were in Hawaii and left our 99 cent straw mat in the room. Dumb to worry about it but since we were still staying on the island we drove back to get the mat on way to do some sightweeing.  The front desk would not let us go back to the room as it had been cleaned and called housekeeping, which brought us one, but not the one we left.  As we stood there, many of the housekeeping staff were leaving for the day with their arms full of ‘stuff’ that we were rather sure they didn’t arrive with in the morning.  To be fair, many of my clients and we have done the same, have left books, booze, laundry products, food instead of just tossing them into the trash at the end of a stay hoping someone could use them.  But we don’t leave them in cupboards, drawers or closets and  I try to leave a note so they know we haven’t forgotten to pack the items, but sometimes that gets overlooked.

    The Hyatt Regency at SFO found my watch that had come off as I was checking out of my room.  I realized it when I was waiting for my flight and immediately called the hotel.  They mailed it to me. Thumbs up to the Hyatt!

    I left a dress on the back of the bathroom door at another airport hotel, again called from the airport and no dress was ever found.  I know that housekeeping took it and never turned it in.  I had a family member checking into that hotel later that day and had the hotel recheck the room for me.  No dress.   

  40. I once left a well washed denim jacket at the Grand Sierra Hotel & Casino in Reno Nevada.  About a day after I got home I realized what I had done so I called the hotel.  Two or maybe three days later my jacket was on my doorstep.  Guess where I’ll be staying when I go to Reno, maybe only once or twice a year.  Hotels need to remember that loyalty still counts.

  41. Yes, it’s their “policy” that if the employees steal something you left behind in the room, it’s not their problem. That’s BS. Employee theft should be taken seriously by any hotel chain. Unfortunately, it is hard to prove theft once you have checked out – it’s your word against theirs. I’m guilty of leaving things behind and fortunately the items have always been turned in.

  42. There are some things that get “left behind” that are irreplaceable and those are worth moving on to the next step for, usually  raincoat is not one of them, although it illustrates a bigger issue of how quickly left behind items can dissappear. I actually have anxiety over leaving things in hotels rooms from an experience I had at age 3. My parents had taken myself and my infant brother to the coast (about 90 minutes from home) as a little treat for the weekend and my dad left my babu blanket in the hotel we had stayed at. The missing item was discovered while driving back home (long before the days of cell phones) and my parents called as soon as we returned. This was a hand-sewn blanket that included my name in the design, so one-of-a-kind. Needless to say, the hotel claimed to have no information on the blanket and my parents were in for a rough few weeks (my mom claims months) and as I grew my parents noticed that I had definite OCD tendencies whenever we checked out of a hotel, something that lingers to tis day. I check the room no less than three times and then I stress until we get home and unpack. The moral???? Check the room! My mom (my dad has since passed away) apologizes everytime we go anywhere together overnight (we are very close and despite me having a family we often vacation together) and joins me in my crazy behavior:)

  43. I should have added in my post that every hotel has mailed back my left-behind items. On my last trip I left my camera battery charger in the outlet. They had it packed up and ready to be mailed when somehow it disappeared…they use a service to pick up the items and mail them and it disappeared somewhere in between. They actually sent us a check. There are hotels out there that know about service.

  44. It doesn’t matter the value of the item, if it’s yours and you had planned on using it then it’s a huge annoyance not to have it.  We have plenty of stories of leaving hundreds of dollars worth of video games on a plane to jewelry to an iPod Touch at hotels, none was ever recovered.  But I mainly want praise the Hyatt Lost Pines and W Times Square.  We were staying at the Hyatt Lost Pines for vacation two years ago when I left a drawer full of my husband’s clothes which we did not notice for several days.  When we finally called, they had packed everything up and Fed Exed it to us to arrive when we got home.  As well, my husband often stays at the W Times Square for work and regularly forgets various items there, glasses, clothes, you name it.  Every time he was sure it was gone for good, he was always pleasantly surprised that they had found his stuff and kept it locked up until he returned. That’s why whenever we go to NYC, we always make a point to stay there. 

  45. You know, I really think that your time could be better served on the bigger issues, rather than somebody’s lost raincoat. Chalk it up to their forgetfulness and let it go. People need to be more careful of their belongings and not expect a travel obmudsman (spelling?) to mediate every little thing. Same goes for not reading the fine print on Contracts of Carriage. Tackle the larger things like long waits on tarmacs or hotel reservations cancelled by the hotel because they are oversold. People, we need to let the man do his job on the real issues, and do our own homework. 

  46. While staying at the Riverwalk Hilton in New Orleans a few years ago for a relative’s funeral, my 4 year old daughter left her special blankie in the room, under the covers at the foot of the bed.  I thought it was still in the car, because I never let her take it into hotels in case it got left behind.  However, her grandparents are the ones who stayed with her at the hotel, and they didn’t know about that rule.  We were two hours out on our drive home when she realized it was gone.  I called the hotel, they sent a maid to find it, which she did, and then a security guard drove it to a relative’s house in New Orleans so it could be mailed back to us.  The employees of the hotel were incredibly helpful and really went above and beyond to make sure a hysterical little girl was soothed and happy.

  47. When our children were small, one left a stuffed animal, well worn, in a motel room near Yellowstone park.  It beat us home, and was there when we arrived.  Another time, my husband left his half read paperback book in the pocket of his airplane seat on United.  He was a frequent flyer and the flight attendant recognized him, handed the book over to the gate agent, they looked up his name and phone number and called telling us they had the book.  We thought that was unbelievably fantastic customer service!!! He is still, years later, a loyal United customer.  One other experience….he left his small drawstring bag full of electronic chargers, usb cords, etc, in a hotel in Cleveland.  He called many times, the people were nice, but could never find the bag.  He was very upset……………….three months later, he found it in a dark corner of a pocket in a little used piece of luggage!!!!

    1. Just last weekend, I overheard a group of United flight attendants complaining that now since everyone has the various ereaders, they don’t get any good books left on the planes and actually have to buy reading material.  They were serious about this and not joking.  Guess your husband got lucky.

  48. True story:  My mother, about 75 at the time. flew to Florida and forgot her jacket in the airline seat.  She called, but of course the jacket could not be located.  Fast forward one & one-half years, driving back from Florida, they stopped at the Huntsville “Unclaimed Baggage” center and she was going through the women’s jackets.  Guess what was there… 

  49. I once left a much-loved wool scarf behind  in a hotel in Liverpool, England (I think it was the one named for the Beatles) when I went on to Wales. My friend in Wales called the hotel without much hope, but they had it, they sent it to him, he handed it off to someone else who was going to Aberdeen, Scotland, where she met me and handed me the scarf. See, you can do it if you try!

  50. We went on a cruise this summer, and not 10  mins after we left the ship for the land portion of our trip, I realized I had forgotten my pillow in the room.  We were not allowed to reboard to look, and our tour director assured us it would show up at our next stop.  No luck.  I repeatedly asked after it for the remainder of the trip, only to be finally told on the last day that it was never found.  I was upset, as it was a down pillow from Lands’ End, and the monogrmmed pillowcase it was in was part of a set for bedding they no longer carry.  Once I got home, I went to our travel agent, and she promised to look into it.  A few days later, we got a lovely form letter basically saying we were SOL.  I tried to claim it under travel insurance, but still no luck.  This was a loss of about $120 – no small change to me.  I just dont understand how it could disappear, when we alerted them not 10 mins after we left!!  Now I bought a cheap pillow and case from WalMart and take that with me on my trips.  Too bad it took (down) feather light fingers to teach me. 🙁

  51. Sorry  to be brutal about this, but as someone who is generally considered not all that mindful of what is happening around me, I’ve left behind my share of items. Each one has been a lesson with a half life of about a month that I need to be more careful. On the rare occasions that a left-behind item has been retrieved, I am grateful but–and this is my point–it’s the traveler’s fault and there is only a very slim chance that the property owner can do anything about it. They haven’t the time or the incentive to go on a hunt. The very idea that you’d “call the police” to recover a raincoat you are “certain” was left in a closet suggests these people expect too much not only of the hotel but of the police as well.

    1. Totally agree that it is the fault of the guest & not the hotel when something is left in the room.  I would say, however, that there are people working in hotels who will take things that are not theirs.  BF booked an extended stay, left for a couple of days, and when he returned the brand-new embroidered shirts he was due to hand out to employees the next day (he’d left them in the room) were gone.  No reason for him to take them with him when he left, he KNEW he had left them in the room when he locked it.  So thievery does happen, even when you think you should be protected.  I, too, have forgotten things in my room when I checked out, and when I discovered it, whether ten minutes or ten hours had passed, the item was unable to be found.  Not saying all employees/hotels are at fault, but there are some out there that either don’t care to try & look, or look & the item has already been removed, never to be seen again.  Frustrating and aggravating, yes, but no one to blame but myself.

  52. It’s 50/50 when you leave something behind. I evalute 20 hotels or so a year. I have left a dozen items over the years, some of value, some not so much. Hyatt Place in Pittsburgh were only too happy to mail, at their expense my wife’s glasses, yet the Marriott Crystal City never saw my official’s shirt in the closet again. Many Hotels just trash personal items, it’s easier than being kind and having to inventory them. How long should we keep this overcoat; is it worth $50.00 ot $5,000.00? It causes extra work. My father created the lost snd found handling system at JFK. Travelers are absent minded and leave behind millions of dollars woth of personal items wherever they travel. Write to the hotel, so there is an insurance record of response, and hope for the best.

  53. I was checking in to fly home to NY from Invercargill, NZ, when I realized my wallet with all my cash, was missing. It only contained cash and supermarket cards, so I was not worried about getting home and paying for incidentals on the way. I called the Tower Lodge, where I had been staying. The front desk manager had found it on the floor in front of his desk. He looked up the local phone number of a friend that I had called during my stay, spoke to someone in her household, and my wallet was being brought to the airport before I was even off the phone with him. Of course, nothing was missing.

  54. I think all most of us want is a true, good-faith effort to find our lost belongings rather than hiding behind a “policy”.  We know it’s our fault we lost it.  This is the situation that separates providers of good service from the bad.  I voted no to mediation; the raincoat is gone, and they should take their business elsewhere.

  55. Left my Tilley hat on an airplane once in Cancun.  The gate agent went back on and retrieved it for me.  Left a jacket in a boarding area once too.  They had changed the gate and when I got to the new gate I realized I’d left it and asked the agent to call the old gate, where they had it.  By hurrying I was able to retrieve it and get back and make my flight.

    But in those instances I was to blame, and I was lucky to retrieve my stuff.  As kids we used to say:  Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers.  On Southwest I once heard them say to departing passengers, “Be sure you have all your belongings.  If you forget anything just check on eBay in a couple of days and you’ll probably find it there.”

    I do check everywhere in a hotel room before departing – even, from habit, under the bed, though my kids are now grownups with kids of their own, and my socks rarely make their way under there.

  56. I bought a set of beautiful Kosta Boda glasses in Stockholm and left them on the airport transport bus at Copenhagen.  As soon as I got into the terminal I went immediately to the desk, I was not allowed to return to the bus as I had already entered the terminal.  I tried for over 2 hours to get those glasses back…they were just “gone”  Go figure!  It was my stupidity, but still find it hard to believe!

  57. When my daughter was a toddler, we stayed at Embassy Suites in Corpus Christi, Texas. She had a stuffed cat named Baby that she carried under her arm 24 hours a day. We were about an hour down the road towards home when she said, “I miss Baby. I wish I had her.” We realized that we had left Baby behind even though we had checked to make sure the room was empty. It turns out that Baby was behind the curtains on a window ledge “looking at the cars”.

    I called the hotel thinking we might need to turn around, but the manager found Baby herself, called me right back, and offered to overnight ship Baby to us. It turns out we only beat Baby to our house by a few hours.

    They saved the day… and Baby!

  58. Twice now my wife has left items in a hotel room.  The first time in was a substantial amount of Jewelry at the WINN in Las Vegas, the second time it was clothing in a Hilton in Orlando.  Both time we received a phone call  from the hotels asking us a) did we leave anything, b) could we describe it? Kudos to both hotels we got our stuff back!  Now I do the final room check!

  59. When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions. Until all you and these other “advocates” started mediating on their behalf, people seem to take care of themselves just fine and in most cases solve their own problems. In this new age of having someone else take of their problems, the word responsibility has gone down the toilet.

    1. I agree with you completely.  We have to take responsibility for our actions and cease blaming other people when we fail in our duty to take care of ourselves.  When the item is not found in the lost articles area, we have to be stoic about it, write off our losses, learn from bitter experience and move on.  Use safes for jewellery and valuable items. (Can’t wait to hear from the people who forgot to claim their items before departure.)  

      1. Absolutely! If you left something behind you only have yourself to blame. No one owes you anything for something that was completely in your control. Consider yourself fortunate to have it back if it was found and returned to you, but certainly never expect  more than that.

  60. I am ridicously bad at leaving items places. Most times I’ve gotten the items back. A gold necklace in a hotel, a cell phone in a rental car, my purse in restaurants and once in a taxi. Occasionally though the item is gone for good, like my heavy cardigan the first class flight attendant took to hang up that I never got back. But I share responsibilty for not asking for it. Granted both of us were a little distracted by our aborted landing.

    Regardless the burden is on that who has left the item.

  61. I’ve had amazing luck retrieving items that were left behind in hotel rooms.  Once it was a couple of articles of clothing left behind in the closet.  We were actually at another hotel in the chain and were heading back.  Housekeeping had it already packaged and cataloged with the room number and date it was found.  They had it waiting for us when we arrived.

    We’ve also had a cell phone that was recovered beneath a pillow after we’d checked out.  Again, the hotel had it waiting for us when we arrived.

    Still – I do remember cases where I’d left something behind which I knew would probably be tossed, like a 2 oz bottle of Dr Bronner’s liquid soap.  It would be beyond any expectation I’d have that housekeeping would bother to keep it in case I came back for it.

    Even so, I know there are strange cases of items that go missing.  I remember looking for the outlet to plug in my cell phone charger, at which point I saw what I think was an iPod charger.  I pulled it out and intended to leave it with the front desk when I checked out, but in the end I forgot and left it on the desk where I hope housekeeping found it.  Chargers are a whole world with lots of hotels and motels.  I’ve seen photos of hotel lost and found, where they’e got well over a hundred different chargers that have gone unclaimed.  One article I read said that most hotels won’t even try to contact the owner (even with contact info) because there is the occasional case where a spouse may have lied about whereabouts and they don’t want to get that spouse in trouble.  Sometimes hotels get accused of stealing phone/electronics chargers when it’s a simple matter of the owner losing. One hotel manager said he brings such guests to their lost and found, which both indicates they have enough chargers that nobody would care to steal a new one, and to provide a working one that’s been there past the point where they consider it permanently unclaimed.  A lot of hotels will even donate their unclaimed electronics to charities after a certain point.

  62. i once stayed at the luxor in las vegas and accidentally left a dress in the closet.  it was by no means an expensive dress, but it was one of my favorites.  we were about two hours in to a five hour drive home when i called and spoke to housekeeping about it.  the manager sounded doubtful that they’d find it, but if they did, they would ship it to me if i didn’t mind being charged on the credit credit card i used to pay for my room.  i didn’t mind at all, but i never expected to see it again.  imagine my surprise when a package arrived about 10 days later with my dress in it…and a charge for shipping never did appear on my credit card.   they certainly earned my loyalty that day.

  63. I too have left items behind and while my method isn’t foolproof, I haven’t lost anything since I’ve implemented it. First, I no longer pack white nightshirts, because when you’re in a hurry, they are too easily hidden by towels. Second, I pack my charger the night before and last, when I pack up in the morning, I clear all surfaces, empty all drawers and closets and move everything to the bed nearest the door.  I also check under the bed.  On the positive side, I left my camera in a store near my hotel in Mont Tremblant and one of the hotel employees went above and beyond: she went to the store, retrieved the camera and mailed it back to me!!!

  64. Regarding leaving things behind, we always take pillows when traveling by car & I always put flowered pillowcases on them so they don’t get left on the beds.

  65. Recently, I did not even know that I had left an item in a National Rental Car & the airport person has called me several times to remind me that it is still there.
    Years ago on vacation, my middle school daughter left a VIP (very “important” purse) in a Wendy’s & they locked in the safe for several weeks until we returned that way again.
    Little things like that really mean alot & make for repeat business!!

  66. Hi folks,
    My name is Ed—the son of Ed & Leonora.

    I contacted Chris just to ask for Hilton contact info, not to ask him to use his time in pursuing this.
    The main point for my father was how the raincoat could disappear even as the hotel stated the room had not been used after they checked out. Dad doesn’t travel like I do. I, like many of you, make it a point to look every where when checking out.  I’ve left behind just two items in twenty years, and each time the hotel shipped the item to me. I recall one hotel was a Hampton Inn in Winter Park, FL.  (Thumbs up for that Hampton Inn)

    After my parents spoke to Hilton corporate, they didn’t like how they got zero sympathy and just a mantra “our policy is…”
    The use of “our policy is”  bothers me like it does a lot of you. 
    So, I sent Mr. Elliott an email asking for advice and the contact info.

    He later asked me if I would be willing to put it up for a vote.
    I said “Sure why not”.  Even my father laughed that this was a bit of over-kill. 

    My parents learned their lesson: Double-check before leaving.
    And we all got a nice article from Chris, using my parents’ raincoat as an example.

    I really enjoyed reading most of the comments.  A few “snarky”  ( I like that word that someone used in an earlier comment!) comments, but I’m surprised at the sheer number of lovely stories. 

    A common factor for many stories seems to be the the personal significance of the item.  A pillow, a lamp, or even an old book can easily be replaced, but the emotional attachment to the item can make the loss seem very hard.

    My mother had no emotional attachment to the raincoat, but it was new.  So, she felt the dollar cost.  My father felt the impact of a possible theft—Like many of you he wonders how an item can just disappear.

    I think it is the cold mantra of “our policy is…” that makes people want to push back and point out how something is wrong with a hotel’s attitude.

    Best wishes,

    Ed Lawrence
    Natick, MA

    1. Thank you for the information.  Yes, there are far too many “snarky” comments made by people sitting in the anonymity of the internet, sometimes making assumptions or jumping to conclusions that the facts don’t support.  There are many people, too, though, who are compassionate, and willing to withold judgment and share experiences in order to make those experiences a “learning moment.”  Thanks to Chris, the opportunity is there for all of us.

  67. Just reading your blog for the first time. This entry isn’t likely to keep my interest. Certainly you can think of something more worthwhile to blog about other than the follies of a Hampton Inn Guest who lost a cheap raincoat. They were going to call the police?!?! That should tell you enough right there. LOL. I vote no.

  68. I am shocked with his request. It’s only a $50 raincoat, I thought it was $3000 trench coat. Don’t waste your to time to mediate this case. This was caused by carelessness. Please, do not expect other people to take care your belongings. If you left it and it was not found in lost and found, just let it go. Especially, this is a cheap stuff. Even it was an expensive stuff, what did he want? Asking for replacement? May be she left it somewhere else, only God knows.

  69. Recently we stayed at a Marriott Timeshare and when we arrived home we received a piece of paper that we had left in the closet.  It was just a simple picture,  but nice they sent it to us by mail.   

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