Monday, December 22, 2008

What Would You Do?: The Missing, But Not Really Missing, Gym Bag.

A few weeks back when I returned to work from paternity leave, I immediately noticed that my gym bag was missing from it's usual spot on the floor next to my desk. After having taken a month away from the Day Job, I was puzzled about how this might have happened. I vividly recalled leaving the bag there when I briefly came back after the baby's arrival to retrieve my laptop. "Why bother taking it home if I'm not working out for a month?" I thought. Famous last words.

The bag didn't necessarily have much of value in it. A pair of Nike slip-ons. Toiletries. Shower shoes. A set of dirty workout clothes (yes, by Champion of course). Weightlifting gloves. $50 total value if washed, $25 if not. Hardly the target of your typical after hours burglar.

I asked the receptionist if anyone had somehow turned in the bag. They hadn't, but since she was on her job (as usual), she immediately alerted building security. Before I knew it, I had 3-4 members of building management in my office, asking probing questions and apologizing profusely.

Thefts of personal property are no laughing matter for any property manager in this economic climate, given the rising vacancy rates in commercial real estate. They damn near treated my missing gym bag like an episode of CSI, dusting my phone for fingerprints (okay, not really) and asking me a million questions on my whereabouts. After much hand wringing, they determined that the cleanup crew had either outright stolen the bag, or inadvertently thrown it away. Neither made much logical sense to me, but they asked me if I'd like to file a formal police report, which I opted not to. I really just wanted the whole thing to be over. Still, they promised that corrective action would be taken after the cleanup crew was given the nth degree. Some heads would roll.

Fast forward a few weeks. I've since moved on with a replacement gym bag and cobbled together the rest of the items. Bag or no bag, I still have to work out, whether in my previous style or not. But everytime I'd run into Lou (not his actual name) the Dominican facilities manager, he'd keep on apologizing for the missing bag, as if his personal pride was effected by the loss. "I just can't figure out what happened to it.", he would continually say in a tone that screamed "I've let you down." I kept telling him it was no big deal, I'd moved on, but I could see the disappointment on his face. I partly wondering if the building management held him responsible for the bag, since he is more or less in charge of hiring and supervising the cleaning crew. I wondered if someone on the crew had copped to the thievery, or simply been accused of it and gotten subsequently canned. Inquiring minds wanted to know, but only so much.

Anyways, this past weekend, my wife comes in the house and is like, "hey, guess what? I found your gym bag, it was in the truck under the baby's stroller!" So, yeah, I feel like an ass because I'd had the bag all along, and in all likelihood, at the bare minimum, somebody has gotten reprimanded, at worst, given a pink slip for a personal property theft that never actually happened.

I saw Dominican Lou in the elevator today, and he gave me the same sad "I let you down" look. After all the weeks of (semi) crying wolf, and likely getting someone else in trouble for my own oversight, what should I do?

Question: What would YOU do? Would you tell Dominican Lou and Co. that the bag was actually at your house, not stolen the entire time, or would you keep this embarrassing episode of Cried Wolf to yourself?

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