I was with an operator last week when she opened a desk draw to reveal a selection of inexpensive telephones. All were items of lost property unclaimed over the course of the previous school term. I expressed surprise that they had not been reclaimed and was told, ‘you usually know which ones will be staying when they come in.’ She explained, ‘These are all inexpensive ones that you can buy for £9.99. They’ve probably been left behind on purpose so that the child can say to its parents, “Please can I have an i-phone?”’ Apparently, the other sure fire long term resident of the desk draw is a smarter, more expensive phone that has obviously been dropped and has a cracked or shattered screen. The child doesn’t want to own up to dropping it and ‘looses’ it on the bus.
On the other hand, should anybody inadvertently mislay a gadget that is the subject of a current advertising campaign with every gizmo known to man and more computer power than was available to NASA to get the first man on the moon; that will be a different matter. Should one of these gleaming items be lost it will never see the draw. The owner, or more likely a parent, will be on the telephone before the bus is back after the contract and they will be in the yard waiting by the time it drives in. Whether the device will then be reunited with its owner or not is a matter of luck because, especially if the child has been one of the first to disembark, there’s every chance it may already have been ‘reclaimed’.