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Thursday, July 25, 2013 | This article is listed in the sections Magazine, Interviews and Amusement parks.

Lost and Found

Forgetfulness or inattention are the cause of a mishap that has certainly happened to everyone at least once in a liftime. Here we are talking about lost property, such as wallet, mobile phone, laptop, jacket, car key, etc., which has accidentally been left behind somewhere by the corresponding owner.

As we all know, these items are frequently found at public places around the world, such as airports where more than 200,000 suitcases are missed every day. It is not surprising at all that a lot of visitors to amusement parks forget or loose their belongings there, considering that they are exposed to additional high emotions and increasing sensory overload which may very easily lead to distraction. The question is: What happens to lost property found at amusement parks? To provide an example, we asked Michael Mensinger, managing director of Freizeit-Land Geiselwind, what the park does with lost property and what guests should do when they miss their items.

Michael Mensinger, Geschäftsführung Freizeit-Land Geiselwind © Freizeit-Land Geiselwind
© Freizeit-Land Geiselwind
Michael Mensinger, managing director
Parkscout: Do you have an approximate idea of the number of lost properties found in Freizeit-Land Geiselwind this year?

Michael Mensinger: Quite a lot! We collect, for instance, lost clothes in empty chips paper boxes and, before we know it, we have 20 of them fully filled. Many single utensils such as around 20 to 30 glasses and sunglasses went lost, 20 EC cards were left behind, and 35 rucksacks are piling up in our office. Furthermore, 10 mobile phones are still stored, but it has to be said that valuable smartphones are very rarely handed in.

Parkscout: Are there any particular places or attractions where a particularly large number of items are found?

Michael Mensinger: Of course where most action is involved and lots of adrenaline is pumping, for instance our looping coaster "Boomerang" or our spinning coaster "Drehgondelbahn". These often happen to be the places where visitors accidentally leave their rucksacks due to all the excitement. Our lavatory attendant also finds all kinds of stuff in the sanitary facilities.

Parkscout: Do you think there is any link between the number of lost properties and certain weather conditions? Are visitors more likely to forget their items when the weather is very hot, rather than on rainy days?

Michael Mensinger: When the rain falls by surprise and all of the sudden, the amount of lost rain ponchos, umbrellas and capes is of course increasing later on. Our experience also shows that more items are left behind when it is extremely hot – perhaps owing to lack of concentration?

What to do when property gets lost?

Parkscout: What should guests do when they notice in the park or later at home that they lost something at Freizeit-Land Geiselwind.

Michael Mensinger: When they notice it in the park, they should ask the ride operator or the catering staff, who will then get in touch with the lost property office via Walkie-talkie or phone. It is also possible to head directly to the administration office where the lost property office is to be found. If the lost was not noticed until arriving home, it is best to ring the administration immediately – lost properties will be sent free of charge for our visitors.

Der Freizeitpark Erlebnispark Freizeit-Land Geiselwind
"Boomerang" 'stores' numerous lost properties, too
Parkscout: What about lost property that has not been picked up or asked for?

Michael Mensinger: We store lost properties until the beginning of the next season. If they are not collected after that period has passed, they are given to either the clothing donation or charity facilities.

Parkscout: How high would you estimate the annual cost of returning the lost items to the rightful owner?

Michael Mensinger: The effort regarding lost property in general should not be underestimated. Many visitors go to the lost property office several times to ask for their items and leave their address in case that the missed item will be found, for example when cleaning. This "visitor service" may become a principal service at one time or another, especially during the peak season. Cataloging, packaging and storing of the items which are not collected need some time, too (especially on days when school classes pay us a visit). One person is occupied with this work for roughly one to two hours a week. In addition, we need to make phone calls in order to find the owners of the EC cards, wallets or mobile phones. However, we are lucky that most lost properties can be returned to the rightful owner on-site. The postal charges for sending the items amount to approximately 300 €, which we are very willing to spend for our visitors.

Parkscout: What has been the most unique or bizarre lost property found in the tradition-steeped history of Freizeit-Land Geiselwind, and what happened to it?

Michael Mensinger: Once we took a sunken dental brace out of the Nautic-Jet pond and sent it back to the wearer afterwards. And once there was a lost number plate in the car park. However, the owner got in touch with us, after one week though.

© parkscout/MV/AF

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