Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Inside the CES Lost & Found

A couple of days ago, just before I headed to the theater at the Las Vegas Hotel & Casino for our AllThingsD FootBallmer dual-blog, I realized I had misplaced my laptop charger. It sent me into a mild panic.

How would I survive CES?

Fortunately, I was able to locate a spare charger (they’re not hard to find in the vicinity of the Consumer Electronics Show). But in case some Good Samaritan had returned mine, today I made a trip to the CES Lost & Found. A treasure chest of lost iPhones.

I made my way down the crowded central hallway at the Las Vegas Convention Center to a dark, elevated booth. A security dispatcher was sitting on a chair in front of it. Two others worked inside the forbidding-looking structure.

In order to inquire about the lost item, I had to stand on tiptoe and speak through a hole in the protective glass, as if I were making a bank deposit or talking to a cabbie back in New York. A dispatcher shook her head at me through the window when I asked if a charger had been brought in.

No luck for me.

But for most CES-goers, it seems, all is not actually lost: The Lost & Found department at CES has a better than 50 percent return rate, according to the security dispatcher, whose name is Olivia Huguet. During a conference like CES, she said, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority fields about 50 misplaced items a day.

“It depends on what’s going on, obviously. If it’s not so busy, people don’t bring in as many things,” Huguet said. “We try to return every item, even after CES is over. We take the time to investigate if there’s some way to identify the owner.”

“We get a lot of iPhones. Tons of iPhones,” Huguet added. “We’re able to return almost every one. But we get other things, too.”

When I asked what the strangest item is she’s seen so far at CES, she shrugged. “Nothing too off-the-wall. Some tripod case today. But other times, we get everything. We’ve gotten hearing aids, we’ve gotten teeth. Entire sets of teeth. Sometimes we even see drugs.”

No comment on whether visitors try to reclaim those.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik