“Every year thousands of items are lost (and found!) on the Playa. There really is no such thing as a Playa gift; what you find in the dust belongs to someone who has lost it. Besides, picking up and turning in items to Lost and Found is a leave-no-trace action.
We VOLUNTEERS at Playa Info try our best to reunite items with their owners. That is one of the service gifts Playa Info provides to Black Rock City (BRC). In 2012 we reunited 50% of the found items to their rightful owners. We returned 70% of the items with owner contact information on them. Yep. Many a happy dance was done.
There are steps you can take pre- and on-playa to help yourself and us BEFORE you lose something! The No. 1 action is to show you love your stuff by labeling it. See the great help-yourself video below:
Prevention is the best cure. While you are packing for the playa, consider putting a label or a luggage tag on anything precious, or better yet on everything! Think about the ”real estate“ area on the item. If you have a large space (big real estate) label the item with your name, phone number, email address, Facebook page and playa camp location if you are sure of it. If space is limited, label with minimum of name and phone number or e-mail address or other reliable way to contact you. Airline counters are great places to get free luggage tags.
For cameras, write up your info on a sheet of paper and take a photograph. Leave the image as the first one in your photo set, then, better yet, label the camera. We get hundreds of cameras and it takes a long time to look through each camera for your information. Take address labels with you so you can tag everything you didn’t think you needed to tag. The mighty wind can whisk away the most essential items. Yes, we have had tarps, small tents, backpacks and sleeping bags all turned into Lost and Found. Label everything you want to get back!
Leave precious items at home: your childhood bike, your great-grandmother’s ring, or that special item of clothing that means so much to you.
Speaking of bikes, they are the only things we don’t take at lost and found. BUT, we collect information about your lost bike throughout the week of the event. The info is sent to the bike team after the event. Better yet, simply lock your bike at all times. After your bike is stolen once, you will probably lock the next bike.
You don’t want to lose your car keys, right? Get a hide-a-key box, put you vehicle key in it and hide it on your vehicle, where you’ll remember where it is a week later. We get a lot of car keys turned in to Lost and Found–bummer huh? Lock up your wallets, passports, and airline tickets in your vehicle; hide your spare key, and party/sleep easy.
Next, check your ID! Many passports and driving licenses are mailed to the owner every year, only to be returned because the owner has moved on. Write your current address in permanent ink on your ID. For on playa travels, make a copy of your official ID and health insurance and carry it instead of the original, UNLESS you are young enough to get carded at the bars.
AT BRC, if you lose something, come on down to Lost and Found, behind Playa Info, in the Center Camp key hole and let us help you. We are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm every day. If you find an item, turn it into Lost and Found or to a roaming Playa Info Ambassador. If you lose your bike bring a description of your bike to Playa Info and you send your lost bike description to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also get the lost luggage from the airport. Although our primary goal is to return as much stuff on playa to the rightful owners as we can, post-playa we take all of the remaining items back to BM in San Francisco. There, a dedicated number of volunteers continue to reunite people with their lost stuff for the next five months. So, you can see that labeling you stuff is sooooooo important, to you and us.”