I left my things! Reunites travelers with items left in hotel rooms

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How have we not heard of this service until now?!

I

was on the train home from a long flight from New York to Seattle last May when disaster struck. I was ready to relax with my favorite podcast when I opened my AirPods Pro case and discovered an empty hole where one of my AirPods had been. Despite my best efforts to systematically pack up my hotel room and look in, around, and under every piece of furniture to make sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind, I did it anyway. And I was sure the right module was gone forever.

Yes, I knew I could replace a single pod for $89, but the trip had already cost enough, and that was the gist of it. Although I was sure it was gone, residing in a housekeeper’s vacuum bag en route to the dumpster, I got brave, called the Jersey City Hyatt Regency and got a response I didn’t expect.

“Yeah, we found it,” a hotel worker said with a laugh, puzzled that anyone could leave a single Airpod behind. Then she told me I could go to a website to fill out a form and send it back to me.

The name of the company that helped me recover an abandoned pod for loss in three weeks is I left my things! and he’s been quietly helping many hotels reunite forgetful travelers with their belongings for nearly 10 years. And the only reason most customers hear about it is because they left their stuff at a hotel that uses the service.

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The Toronto-based company got its start when a logistics consultant’s wife left a new shoe at a Four Points Marriott and couldn’t get it back because the establishment’s management had stopped sending customers what they had left. They weren’t dishonest, they avoided the hassle of being overcharged for shipping and the risk of items being lost or damaged in transit, said founder Paul Mercer. Once he called and offered to email a shipping label and pay a courier to collect it, the folks at Four Points were happy to help.

“I hung up the phone and thought, ‘Wait a second. I can’t be the only person who left something in a hotel,” Mercer said. He registered the trade name “Ileftmystuff!” 20 minutes later. After calling many hotels and learning about the challenges they faced with returns, he implemented a web-based management system to improve how hotels handle lost and found items. The service works because it streamlines the process and helps hotels and customers save time and money.

Just ask Renee Eubanks, Guest Services/Lost and Found Coordinator at The Wilderness Club at the Big Cedar Resort in Ridgedale, Missouri. Before The Wilderness Club started using the system, it could take him several hours to track down a guest’s lost item, pack it up, get the guest’s credit card information to pay for shipping, and then drive him into town to a small grocery store. expedition that often closes for lunch, leaving her to cool her heels when she could do other work. At the same time, customers often had to make multiple calls to find out if their valuables had been collected and arrange for theirs to be shipped.

Now, any forgetful guest must contact the hotel, go to Iforgotmystuff.com, enter the hotel’s five-digit code, and fill out a form describing the item. If there is a match, I left my stuff! sends a message to the customer detailing shipping costs, including next day and ground. If the customer still wants the item, the company sends a courier to pick it up and ship it. All the hotel has to do is load the item into a box.

Although the service is not available in all hotels, the likelihood of staying at a place that uses the service increases. I left my things! is currently in 8,000 hotels in the United States and Canada and has returned nearly half a million items since 2012. And the items run the gamut from expected cell phones and power cords to many things things you might not expect, including fake teeth, hearing aids and prescription drugs.

“We’ve had everything under the sun,” company founder Paul Mercer said, checking off a list that included teddy bears, tents, camping stoves, “drugs, money, guns and toaster ovens”.

There were also a few sticky situations, Mercer said. “I’ll never forget that we had a furious teacher – I don’t remember where they were from or what university they were from – but they were furious because they had left toys in the room and they wanted these toys, and they were very expensive,” Mercer said in a phone interview when the talk suddenly turned to sex toys. “I don’t even know how you have the confidence to contact us to admit to having this kind of stuff.”

However, making the process easier does not mean it is suitable for everything. If a customer leaves behind a charging cable for a cell phone or something small and inexpensive, it may be cheaper to get a new one at home than to pay to ship a forgotten cable. If you have a harder-to-replace cord for an old laptop like YouTuber Kim Townsel did when she left her power adapter at a conference in Tampa in 2016, it might be worth it.

There are also other considerations. It is illegal to ship certain drugs and weapons are definitely prohibited. The food is also questionable, but that doesn’t mean some customers haven’t tried it.

When a guest forgot cheese worth $125 and wanted it shipped, it was shipped on a Friday and sat in a warehouse with no air conditioning over the weekend. “Needless to say, the guest wasn’t too happy when the cheese arrived,” Mercer recalled.

The process isn’t always perfect, as indicated by a survey completed by a man who was sent back a pair of women’s underwear. “He was very grateful for the service, promptness and support he received, but the underwear did not belong to him, his wife or his girlfriend,” Mercer said. The way the man’s response was phrased indicated that he was very amused and not sleeping on the living room couch.

Still, he says, “the majority of guests are absolutely blown away. They don’t care about the name, and they think it’s a great solution to help solve a problem they’ve had. As for me, I was thrilled to get my only AirPod back. After all, the $33 shipping charge certainly beats the nearly $90 replacement. I just wish Ileftmystuff was there when I left my pants at that hostel I stayed in New Zealand.

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