Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Please keep all personal belongings with you at all times

Twice in the past two months, complete strangers have asked me to keep an eye on their bag while they went to the toilet or bar. The first was in a taxi queue, and the guy turned to me and said "can I leave my bag in the queue for a minute?" and then walked off to the toilet. My turn for a taxi came before he got back, so I had to leave, and ask the guy behind me to watch the bag - he wasn't keen, but luckily the bag guy came back at that point. I would NEVER leave my bag alone with a stranger. Strangers are untrustworthy, evil, and possibly insane. Just like my mum told me all those years ago.

Apart from anything else, if you leave a bag unattended the bomb squad might turn up and destroy it. People blowing stuff up has become a bit of an issue in the past few years, you may have noticed things on the news. You leave a bag alone, people panic. But let's pretend they don't. Let's pretend that we can see into your bag, and there is nothing explosive inside. That just means it's a more tempting target for thieves.

The other week, it happened to me on a train. "Excuse me," said the guy opposite me. "I just need to get some food, is it all right if I leave my laptop bag here?" Yeah, sure, of course it's all right. Is it all right if I steal it? You've even *told* me it's a laptop! Don't say "laptop", just say "bag". Maybe I had no intention of stealing his bag, until I found out there was a laptop inside - he didn't know me, or what I was capable of. Again, I wondered if it was a bomb, and if I was being incredibly naive. But he came back shortly after, with some food. So it was definitely a laptop. That he left alone with a stranger. My laptop is never out of my sight if I take it outside, not for a second. Because it's a laptop, and they're expensive, and I don't want someone to pinch it.

Don't leave your valuables alone with strangers. They'll nick them. This isn't some technicolour 1950s world where people leave their doors unlocked, and put freshly baked apple pies on window sills to cool, and stay a virgin until they get married. People nick stuff. Don't give them the chance.

So anyway, if anyone wants to buy a second hand laptop, one careless owner, only 50 quid, contact me at the usual address.

19 comments:

Tina said...

Wait til the smoking ban comes in-people will ask you to mind their drinks/coats/bags etc etc a great deal.

Also a lot of drinks get stolen as the bar staff presume you are gone and take them.

Oli said...

Of course, one of the problems in most recent bombings is that the bag hasn't been left alone. It's still been sitting happily on the bombers back.

This will of course lead to the bomb squad doing controlled explosions on things you're still wearing.

"Excuse me, sir, do you mind if we blow your bag up? It looks a little suspicious."

"But... I'm still wearing it."

"Won't take a minute. I mean, you can take it off if you want..."

Trust me. It'll happen.

Peter Pan said...

I used to regularly do the Paddington/Swansea run before I moved down this way ... if I went to the loo, I just left evything in my seat! How naive am I? Not only did I leave clothes, food and books for people to steal, I didnt even bother asking people to pretend to look after it and steal it for me. Its amazing my marmite sarnies werent splattered from here to Didcot Parkway by the disposal boys.....

Sarah Dobbs said...

I've never understood this - I have the same feelings as you towards my laptop, which are MY LAPTOP YOU STRANGERS CAN'T HAVE IT MINE.

But people frequently ask me to look after their stuff too. We must have trustworthy faces or something.

Probably something.

Pffft.

Robin Kelly said...

The mind boggles. Are people really that trusting? Even if I'm with friends or family I never leave my belongings with them to look after. You can never be too careful.

lou said...

people don't put apple pies on window sills to cool any more because they've finally realised that apple pie is better hot.
what do you mean i missed the point?

kaiki said...

a friend of mine told me once that while watching a police raid on a house in chinatown a few years ago a man knocked sharply into his shin with a briefcase.
“sorry,” said the man “it’s just that this bag is really heavy.”
my friend smiled sympathetically.
“no, it is” the man continued and held out the briefcase, “feel it. feel the weight of it.”
“you’re alright.” my mate replied.
“take it.” the man whispered. “take the bag. take the bag. run.”
my friend ran. he did not take the bag.
we speculated that it may have had stacks of hard cash in it, but i’ve always thought it was bloody body parts….

jackharkness said...

I'll have the laptop...

Martin said...

Only £50? Im sure you could get more for it.

I'd probably do the train thing, but not outside, in a queue. If you're inbetween stops on a train, only going to be a few minutes.. You're fairly safe leaving your bag. There's only so far a thief is going to get with it. In a queue, outside, you could quite easily have walked off with his bag.

Amanda said...

You think you're cynical? I can trump you (ooer) easily.

You know when you get on a train for a long distance journey and you're going to stay at the destination? A length of stay that necessitates luggage, because it's smelly to wear the same clothes everyday?

Well, I do NOT put my luggage in the designated huge rack thing which is NEAR THE DOORS because I'm convinced someone will make off with my suitcase. The one time I did put it in said designated area I sat watching it like a hawk, and narrowing my eyes at anyone who went near it. Even the tealady pushing the trolley through, offering me coffee I need a loan to buy and no tastebuds to drink. That journey wasn't the best I've ever had. Consequently the suitcase stays with me at all times. It's becoming quite cumbersome, the school run takes me much longer these days...

Dom Carver said...

As I type this I am sitting in the dark under the stairs, surrounded by all my possesions. The door is locked, you can't get in....hehehehehehehe.

Tim Woods said...

you know what? you're all wrong.

despite how the media might make it seem, the truth is - as hard as it is to believe - that the huge majority of us are decent, honest people. you CAN leave your stuff with random strangers for a short period of time. and except for movies, the people leaving you with their stuff are not bombers looking for a mug.

human beings are remarkably adept at judging whether someone is trust worthy or not. on both sides of it.

sad that we are all so scared of each other.

i'll watch any of youse guys stuff if you're alone and need to pop off for a minute. unless i judge by your face that you're a lying jerk, in which case you won't even ask me, because i'll already be avoiding your gaze before you ask.

Sylvia said...

It never ceases to amaze me how careless people are with their possessions.
everytime I go out, I only take what I need, not my complete collection of shop and membership cards, as some of my friends do.
In eateries and pubs, bags are slung on the backs of chairs, phones abandoned on tables, and people wonder why they lose things?

Probably, on a train, you're ok leaving heavy bags between stops, but I'd never leave anything worth nicking like a laptop, if I had one.....

does that make me strange???

Oh, and it amazes me how, on the London underground, people leave luggage by the door and go and sit down. Are they so blissfully unaware how nervous it makes people? Er yes, I think the answer to that question is.....

Sylvia said...

It never ceases to amaze me how careless people are with their possessions.
everytime I go out, I only take what I need, not my complete collection of shop and membership cards, as some of my friends do.
In eateries and pubs, bags are slung on the backs of chairs, phones abandoned on tables, and people wonder why they lose things?

Probably, on a train, you're ok leaving heavy bags between stops, but I'd never leave anything worth nicking like a laptop, if I had one.....

does that make me strange???

Oh, and it amazes me how, on the London underground, people leave luggage by the door and go and sit down. Are they so blissfully unaware how nervous it makes people? Er yes, I think the answer to that question is.....

The Moviequill said...

it makes me wonder about all the writers in coffee shops with bursting bladders that need to disppear into the restrooms... how many were missing laptops when they got back to their tables?

Oli said...

The media's also quite keen on capitalisation and punctuation, Tim. I know, they're crazy.

Dom Carver said...

I was the folk festival at the weekend and a mother asked me to look after her daughters balloon while she took her daughter to the toilet.

So there I was standing like a lemon holding a pink unicorn balloon...nice!

Amanda said...

Poor Dom. I guess being afflicted with Britishness, you found it impossible to say 'no'. Instead you seethed inwardly and all the while you were stood there with a pink balloon. Poor, poor Dom.

Lucy said...

Hah. Poor Dom?? I can beat that. I get people leaving their snot-nosed KIDS with me on trains. It's happened at least twice in the last year, the last one was called Octavia ffs.