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Selling Lost Items

Ever wondered what happens to all the things lost and forgotten on the many trains and busses in Switzerland? I always imagined some giant storehouses with tons of old stuff simply aging and collecting dust. That wouldn't be very Swiss though, would it? Especially with all the dirt and dust since we are generally such clean freaks. :) Turns out that many public transportation companies sell their lost and found items to a shop in Zurich that makes a business out of selling lost items.

lost and found - brit berlin  /
About 60'000 items reach the lost and found shop every month. And there are some very funny, some expensive and some very strange items for sale there. You want examples?! If you have a look at their online shop you'll understand what I mean. Currently on sale are:
  • different kinds of jewelry
  • sex toys
  • second hand underwear
  • paintings
  • clothes
  • sports gear
  • a machine for counting bank notes
There's two central questions that have been bothering me ever since I found out about this shop:
  1. who loses such items on a bus or train? 
  2. who would want to buy them? 
I guess its all part of the free market after all. If there is a demand, then there is a sale. And there are probable some pretty neat things in the huge pile of lost and found also. Like snowboards, books or maybe a nice handbag. And it's all legal! Public transportations companies (like SBB, the airports in Zurich and Geneva) simply cannot store items longer than a few months and therefore they sell them to this shop (and others I assume). However, if you by chance find an item that you yourself lost on a train some time ago, you have a legal right to it up to a year after you've lost it. That is, IF you can prove that it is in fact the very item you lost... :)



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