Jackets, phones, wedding rings: What Oktoberfest visitors lose, Hubertus Busch is often able to give back.
During Oktoberfest, my colleagues and I work at the Lost and Found in three shifts. We have 500 to 600 customers every day, some of whom have rather curious complaints: One person lost their iPad, another lost 15 000 euros in cash. Who takes such things to Oktoberfest? Who keeps their banking pin in their wallet? We seldom find out the back stories. Once, a wheelchair disappeared, only to turn up again a few days later. How do you lose a wheelchair? One couple lost both their wedding rings. And then found them again. I never discovered how.
Every day I encounter the entire spectrum of human emotions, from desperation to joy. Men and women fling their arms around my neck – or break into song. I once saw a very masculine-looking man with tears in his eyes, and a university professor who was elated when his cheap camera turned up. Others become aggressive when I forbid them from sifting through the found items themselves. Joy, rage and sadness are all amplified by alcohol.
My coworkers and I are trained to take this very human factor into account, and also to determine who the real owner is. Nobody can just waltz in and claim a jacket. Anything unclaimed may well be auctioned off at the city Lost and Found six months from now. Only about 35 percent of what is brought to us (roughly 4000 items) is claimed by its owner. We live in a throwaway society! And many people would rather buy something new even if what they lost was almost new. Many people at Oktoberfest also probably don’t know that we exist. Many countries don’t have a Lost and Found. And other people only realize on the plane the following day that something is missing.
Lost (and found) in 2017
pieces of clothing
sets of keys