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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
Sometimes they come back
My wallet went walkabout somewhere between Oxford and King's Cross last Saturday, and I spent a frustrating three-quarters of an hour trying to sort out the fallout:

* phoning to cancel my credit/debit cards (easy)
* completely failing to convince the DVLA that there was any problem whatsoever with losing my driving licence ("well, you can apply for a new one on the phone, if you want, you just need your credit card" -- gnnnghh)
* explaining to London Transport Police that I couldn't absolutely swear that it couldn't have fallen out of my bag, though I didn't think it was likely, but I didn't see anything suspicious, and I didn't expect to get it back (at which they indignantly told me that their crime solving rate was the highest in the country) but I thought I ought to report it anyway, etc.
* being told by a patronising woman in Exam Schools that of course there was nobody in the University Card Office on a Saturday, and I'd just have to wait till Tuesday like everybody else

... and in between all that, texting the people I was meeting in Cambridge to explain that I was going to be even more faffy and late than usual but I had a proper excuse this time. And so on.

The main thing I was heartbroken about, though, was the loss of my IMSoc life membership card, which I'd had since, like, the nineties. A scrappy bit of laminated red cardboard with all the plastic broken at the edges, as irreplaceable as the hours lost to essay crises. (I mean, I don't even know why I carry it around everywhere with me, really. Maybe on the offchance that I'll want to go to the record fair on the first Saturday of the month, but won't have the £1.50 entry fee. Hmmmm.) I didn't think I'd ever see it again, because even if they fished my wallet out of the Thames in a year's time and the addresses were still legible, the scrappy bit of cardboard would have long since become fishfood.

But! But! Two days ago I got a phone call at work from a strange man in Reading who had found my wallet, with all the cards still in it (but not the cash, obv). It was a weird and awkward phone call, on a really bad line, & he was being very very cagey about posting the wallet back, apparently because of the cost, and he really wanted me to come to Reading to meet him, which I didn't want to do for obvious reasons, and I insisted that I would send him the money to cover the postage and he didn't have to send it back until he got the money, and so on and so forth, and eventually he sort of agreed and gave me his address. My office-mate said it all sounded Very Dodgy and I was a fool to send any money and I'd never see the money or the wallet again, and I'd probably get my identity stolen, but I decided it was worth it to try to get my IMSoc card back (and, like, my driving licence...), and sent him a tenner in a 'thank you' card, recorded delivery.

And today my wallet came back! In a parcel! And it still had my IMSoc card in it! And all the other cards, from driving licence (still useful) to credit card (now useless) to Staples reward card (still useless). And he'd sent it next-day-delivery, which I wasn't expecting, and that still only cost £5.05, so hopefully he doesn't feel too pissed off about the postage, & bought himself a pint with the change.

See, happy ending. And look, my IMSoc card. :-)

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james_r From: james_r Date: May 31st, 2008 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
> It was a weird and awkward phone call, on a really bad line, & he was being very very cagey about posting the wallet back, apparently because of the cost, and he really wanted me to come to Reading to meet him

He probably liked your photo and wanted a date? :-)
atreic From: atreic Date: May 31st, 2008 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd gone one paranoid step further than that and decided he found pretty girls, stole their wallets, and then used returning their wallets as a way to get a date with them. Leaving him with cash, a date with a pretty girl, and the bonus starting point of them thinking 'what a nice person for not just ignoring my wallet'

But, err, crazy paranoia aside, yay for nice people who return wallets!
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: May 31st, 2008 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Erk. After all, j4 is lovely, but in my limited experience, driving license photos never, ever endear anyone to anybody...
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
addedentry says my driving licence photo makes me look like Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS. I was trying very hard not to smile at all so it wouldn't be disqualified as a passport photo, and I certainly do look quite, er, stern.

I am given to understand that some men like that sort of thing, though. ;-)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: May 31st, 2008 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
like Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS.

*googles* :-/ Oh dear; LOL.

Well, apparently people _do_. But even if I _were_ especially fond of "evil sadistic buxom nazi pseudo-scientists", I do not think my advised course of action would be to ring one up and tell her where I live, let alone try to pickpocket her! :)

PS. Much sympathy for last Saturday. I'm glad it turned up one way or another.
hairyears From: hairyears Date: May 31st, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

A home for Depraved Children

* Googles *

* Goggles *


j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 10:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Blimey, that's devious. I'm not going to be leaving my wallet lying around near you! ;-) Well okay I probably would, hem hem
atreic From: atreic Date: June 1st, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sadly, although I have the plan, I haven't aquired decent wallet stealing skills yet.

*ponders* Maybe I should buy badgers and go for 'I found this badger and wondered if you'd left it at my house' ... 'what, you _didn't_?'....'oh, well I can't think of anyone else who would want it, maybe we should meet up' ;-)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: May 31st, 2008 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
But, err, crazy paranoia aside, yay for nice people who return wallets!


Now you're got me being paranoid, an aftermarket might make more sense. Pickpockets who just want cash pass on the rest of the wallet to a fence for a nominal fee, where it can be bought by identity thief, someone who wants a date, etc...

Now I think of it, that seems like a really horribly plausible idea...
From: ext_72852 Date: June 3rd, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
presumably it doesn't work all that well, or he wouldn't need to do it more than once ... ;)
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that was roughly why I didn't want to go and meet him... :-}
timscience From: timscience Date: May 31st, 2008 08:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe he intended to keep it but was influenced to return it by the power of indie.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I think that's the most likely explanation. :-D
brrm From: brrm Date: May 31st, 2008 09:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Hurrah, a happy ending! And I hope your banks suck less than mine at providing new cards/PINs. Not that that is actually hard :-)
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Amazingly, my new credit card turned up yesterday, & my new debit card today -- only 4 working days! Alliance & Leicester for the win.
venta From: venta Date: May 31st, 2008 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Out of curiosity, do you know how he had got your phone number ? I'm just curious, as I don't think either my mobile or my landline could be deduced from the contents of my wallet (landline is in my landlord's name, not mine, so even directory enquiries wouldn't help).

It does have an 'in case of emergency, call...' number in it, so I guess someone could ring my parents up and get a message to me.

I once found a wallet, which was completely the reverse - absolutely everything had been removed from it, except £230 in cash. Surely the most incompetent thief ever. I took it to the police station, but it was never claimed so I got the cash ;)
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, this was my work number, so it was easy -- the wallet had my University card in. A contacts search (from the front page of the University website) for my name gives you my work number.

(God, that's a point, the poor chap had to negotiate the University homepage. I should have sent him a bigger tip.)
j4 From: j4 Date: May 31st, 2008 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, also, my driving licence photocard has my name and address on it, and I am in the phone book, so that would have given him my landline. He may even have tried that too, but I'm rarely in!

Of course, everybody whom I've ever bought anything from on eBay knows my name and address; and if I paid them by cheque, they know who I bank with, too. They even know roughly what I look like from my eBay userpic!
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: May 31st, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
FWIW, I still carry my old Invariants life membership card around with me. (Sad? But on the back it has the autograph of Johnny Ball, damnit!)

Very glad to hear that things came back smoothly.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 4th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to hear you went through that stress, but TOTAL WIN that you found someone who was not only honest but had the initiative and energy to find you *and* a Post Office that's still open in this country (oooh, little bit of politics there). I think the guy in Reading deserves some major good karma.
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