#15 Bad Idea: Lost & Found

Here, at last, is a different breed of bad idea. This is not a terrible comic book idea, a crappy movie premise, or just the cast-offs from the vile worm of my imagination. This is practical lifestyle advice for the economically squeezed. It’s also a really bad idea.

I call it Lost & Found shopping, and it’s pretty much what you think it is. Any downtown contains a number of hotels, malls, doctors’ offices, what have you. Lost & Found shopping consists of going into these places and asking for items that other people have left behind.

There are a few ways to go about this - some worse than others. The worst technique, I think, is to walk in and claim that your “uncle Steve” recently left a box full of random items behind the desk, and you’ve come to pick it up. Even though the contents of the box will definitely match your description, someone will eventually track down your uncle Steve, who never liked you and will relish the chance to blow your story out of the water.

Second worst, and also second best, technique is called The Fake Mustache. The Fake Mustache demands a lot of chutzpah, and a little something that the Latin world calls huevos, which means mustaches.* Its execution is simple: approach the front desk of a hotel, say, and ask for your lost wallet/gloves/nachos. Remember to keep your request vague but convincing. If you’re successful on the first pass, you are said to be at Mustache Zero for the attempt.** If the item sought is not in the Lost & Found, or the clerk is suspicious, leave the area and come back a few minutes later in a “mustache,” which is any convincing disguise. Arrest or eviction from the premises is known in the trade as a Mustache Dozen.

The best technique is to walk in naked and covered and filth, screaming obscenities between sobs. Not only will you be showered with gifts, you may even get a job as the head of the Lost & Found department. Or maybe, if you’re walking into a financial institution, the board of directors will offer you the job of CEO. After all, a naked stinking lunatic can’t do much worse of a job than the recent crop of smooth-haired golfers.

*Lots of people think that huevos means ‘eggs’. This is ridiculous. What better symbol of confidence and courage can there be than a mustache? Eggs are generators of explosive chaos, and as such are better suited to be Spanish for 'Donald Duck' AND NOTHING ELSE. Besides, mustaches, unlike eggs, are never tasty.

**There are two kinds of Mustache Counts: Incidental and Cumulative. The incidental count is the number of passes per attempt; the cumulative count is averaged out over at least ten attempts.