Most unusual item found?

Hi all, part of my morning has been spent clearing out the office where I am currently based in anticipation of a pending office move and I have been sitting at a desk where various individuals have come and departed, leaving behind an array of personal and work items.  I'm sure many other colleagues have done the same or had to clear out the workspace for individuals who have been escorted from the workplace or perhaps threw their toys out of the pram and refused to return.  And this got me thinking ...  the items I have come across today have not been particularly noteworthy - a broken necklace, memory sticks, pain relief, software disks, sunglasses - however one item caught my eye: a pair of chop sticks although I can't work out why they would be in an office ...

So, if you have been tasked with a similar clear out please do share your experiences of what prompted the clear out, any unusual items found and perhaps if (and how) you reunited them with their owner?  :-)

  • At a previous employer, they had over the years appointed a number of temporary and interim HR personnel, and the most notable was a girl who was absolutely obsessed with her looks. I never got to meet her as she was long gone by the time I got there, but for some reason, she left her very expensive ceramic hair straighteners in her desk cupboard and left without taking them. The team and I never really understood why. They became the communal straighteners for the HR office, and anybody else in our building who wished to borrow them.

    At my current employer, our H&S manager was clearing out a leavers locker last year and found t-shirts and jeans. Why would you leave your clothes behind? We boxed all the possessions up and wrote to the individual asking them to come and collect the items, but they never did.

  • I recently reunited a former employee with a huge collection of personal effects.  He had been sofa-surfing and living with relatives whilst working for us, so had never really had somewhere to put down roots and his desk had become a de facto dumping ground for pretty much his whole life.
  • Much to my dismay I've found the most common item left behind seems to be shoes. I've found endless pairs under departing colleagues desks. The 'winner' was one gentleman who hadn't left the business but moved sites and had to be reunited with the 6 pairs of smart black shoes that he had left behind.  

  • Files of original evidence for two fitness-to-practice cases which had resulted in two default acquittals several months before, kept in a personal effects drawer.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    13 Mar, 2014 13:31

    Yes same as Claire C, a box of shoes under a desk - also a pair of steel toe-capped boots. Just what you need in an office! Plenty of mugs; new job - new mug seems to be the general consensus! 
  • At a previous employer I was given the office of a manager who had left the business rather abruptly due to personal reasons.  I decided I would have a clear out and rearrange the seating / desks etc and throw out any accumlated rubbish like one does. Whilst clearing out one of the filing drawers I came across a beautifully wrapped present with a label on it with something along the lines of "to my darling wife" etc etc.

    I managed to get of hold of the manager in question by ringing him and explained I had found this present and would he like to come in and get it or for me to post it to him and he responded no - it had been a present for his wife who had left him for another man and that is why he left the business. He told me that I could have the present with his blessing and hoped I would enjoy it!  Unwrapping I found a huge bottle of Miss Dior perfume and a voucher for a very expensive dress shop in our town!  I really did think twice about keeping it (especially as I really liked the dress shop) but I decided that this was not a good idea so rang him back and said whilst I would like to keep both would he be ok if I donated to the company's Christmas raffle if he really did not want them back.  He again reiterated that he did not want them and to do with what I please and I duly donated for the raffle a few weeks later.  Sadly I did not win either in the raffle!!!!  A lost opportunit there

  • Part of an artificial leg, a set of pornographic magazines (not all the same person), some false teeth,  pet food......the list is endless and yes loads of shoes
  • I'm pretty unsure as to how you would leave the office without part of your leg............
  • It was their spare.....
  • Some years ago, we dismissed someone for theft. He got in touch with us after his appeal failed with a list of his belongings to be boxed and sent to him. The list included the items he had stolen. Was that very silly, or was it a cunning trap? If someone had packed and sent him the jars of coffee from the staff kitchen (among other items), would he have used that as evidence that we didn't really believe he had stolen them?

  • What absolutely FANTASTIC replies!  Thank you, please keep them coming. 

    Julia and Fiona - your stores are simply wonderful, Julia's especially.  It's brought me some much needed and therapeutic laughter.   :-D

  • Steve, is this worthy of consideration for an HR Confessional in PM magazine??? 
  • LIKE!

    A much needed funny, and a realisation that my HR life has been particularly uneventful in this regard!

  • Give it time Joanne, give it time ...  :-)
  • Two dresses, mortgage statements, coats, kite, beachball, children's books, hair braiding set and endless pairs of shoes...

    Oh and a stack of one workers team attendance sheets that were signed off by his manager.  The manager had repeatedly reported him for not submitting his attendance sheets to her stating she had never had any from him.   They were all dated and signed off by the Line Manager and stashed away.   Sadly the employee had been the receiver of disciplinary procedures (he left before the outcome) both he and the line manager have long left and they were found in the back of a cupboard after the managers departure.