28 Replies Latest reply: Dec 5, 2019 9:07 AM by martyp RSS

    Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?

    mvphawaiicondo Contributor

      So here’s a good one for you.  I have a lot of joy in hosting my guests as I’m sure many of you do.   It’s not just about bookings but for me it’s about providing an excellent experience. I always have a treat basket with foods from our area in Hawaii (macadamias, coconut and pineapple candies, Hawaii cookies, etc.) I find out what people are celebrating and I buy special celebratory things.  Sometimes I leave a bottle of champagne (prosecco) if the guests are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or graduation.  I have a graduation banner.  It says “You did it!” with a cap and diploma and a chalk board spot where I can write the graduate’s name.   I’ve used this banner several times for graduates. Recently I had a graduation booking…booked out a year in advance.  During that year the mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was on the mend when their trip rolled around.  She had endured chemo, hair loss etc.  I wanted to make this trip special for the graduate and cancer survivor so I bought a bottle of prosecco and two special stemless wine glasses to match the set of stemless wine glasses in the cupboard except these were etched.  One said “the tassel was worth the hassle” with a graduation cap and the other had etched wings with a cancer ribbon that said “warrior”. I figured I would add these to my collection of celebratory things to pull out for special occasions.  Of course, my graduation banner was proudly displayed with the graduate’s name. 


      As a matter of fact, I visited them in the middle of their stay as I needed to take delivery of a new washer.  They thanked me for the gifts and for everything that I provided for them.  I took the “thanks for the gifts” in stride assuming they meant the snack basket.  You know where I’m going with this….they took the wine glasses home with them.  I sort of wrote it off, not wanting to embarrass them by telling them that they were only to use but not to take.  Each one cost me about $20.  Not only that, but they took the graduation banner.  I stewed about the banner for a while.  I would write to them, then…delete.  I’d write again, then delete.  I just reordered the same banner for $29 online.  It wasn’t worth embarrassing them or making them have ill feelings over a $29 banner even though I think it’s really dumb that they took it.  They live out of the country so to ask for them to mail it back would be dumb too. 


      Please don’t chastise me for being a softy.  I’m all about my guests. I don’t feel as if they tried to steal from me or rip me off. I just feel that they really thought the wine glasses were gifts and they didn’t want to insult me by leaving the banner behind (ok maybe “insulting” me by leaving the banner behind is a bit of a stretch).


      Just adding an opportunity for discussion on what people have taken from you and how you deal with it. By the way, I HAVE charged people for blatant negligence and for missing things like boogie boards and other things that are too large to take home…..just saying. 

        • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
          feibus Senior Contributor

          We stock our homes with toys for the kids and one enterprising family decided to take about $50 worth of toys with them on their way out the door.  Wasn't an accident, this was a HUGE tub of toys that they walked off with.  Don't know which guest it was, though, since our cleaners never look at the toys to determine what should be there and what shouldn't.  Surprisingly, in 6 years, not one of the XBox games has taken a walk.


          C'est la vie.

          • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
            ohst8er Premier Contributor

            I Would’ve totally thought those wine glasses were for me. 

                • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                  twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                  Me three!


                  It's so kind of you that you do this.  But without clear guidance on whether it is a gift or not, it's surprising you have not had more people take these things home.


                  Perhaps a note next to the glasses with "We're happy to share our special wineglasses and decorations with you to help you celebrate.  When you are finished with them, please put them (in the cupboard next to the sink, in a box you set in the corner, etc)  That way it's clear that they are not intended as a gift.

                    • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                      scowol Active Contributor

                      As a guest...


                      • If the glasses were stocked in the cupboard with other glasses, I would have left them at the house.
                      • If they were left out with the bottle of Prescco, etched with a custom message for my event, next/below the graduation banner with my name on it, I would reasonably assume they were gifts and taken them home with gratitude.

                      IMO, you are at risk of this continually happening by placing out "overly" personalized items intended especially for a specific guest, yet you don't want them to take them home.  I would take it down a notch and stick with the bottle of wine/prosecco and/or the gift basket with Hawaiian treats and a nice card.  The guests will appreciate the sentiment alone with just those and probably still leave you a 5-star review sans personalized etched crystal and banners.

                  • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                    Senior Contributor

                    ohst8er wrote:


                    I Would’ve totally thought those wine glasses were for me.


                    As others have said, I was thinking the same thing!


                    oceangrover wrote:


                    One set of beautiful, 100% pima cotton sheets.  By the time I realized they were missing, I couldn't pin point on whose visit they walked.


                    This could have been the cleaners.

                  • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                    margaret CommunityAmbassador

                    The wine glasses were personalized in a way that I am not surprised the guests thought they were gifts. I would have thought they were gifts and taken them home as well.

                    • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                      bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                      Set of king size bed sheets - long story - got them back

                      Binoculars - got them back

                      Thick informational binder - got it back

                      Towels and pillow cases - we let it go

                      Handmade by me ceramic pot - we let it go

                      Coolers - we let it go

                      Light Bulbs and batteries - we let it go

                      Plastic deck chair - 23 years ago and before reviews - we asked for compensation and it got ugly - learned our lesson on that one


                      That said when we have provided gifts - we expect them to be taken

                      Celebratory items usually consist of special confetti scattered on the dining room table, bottle of wine or champagne, and a card



                      • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?

                        I think all we've "lost" so far are small things: a pack of playing cards, a bottle opener, for example. We seem to gain more stuff than we lose, all small stuff too, though last time we were at the house, I found a large saute pan that wasn't ours. I have no idea who it belongs to because no one has asked about it. It wasn't an expensive one, but we tell the guests that we provide cookware, so I'm not sure why they felt the need to pack this big thing. We've stayed in VRs that didn't have much in the way of necessary cookware, so we provide a pretty nice spread of stuff so our guests have everything they need (including a saute pan!). But, it's always interesting to go back to the house and see what's been left behind.


                        I would've also thought the wine glasses were mine because of how they were so specifically personalized for the guests. It's nice that you do stuff like that for your guests!

                          • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                            ohst8er Premier Contributor

                            I had a guest leave a beach cart in a known place on the beach (known to the regulars at least) where you leave things you are done with.  Basically "garbage that can be repurposed."   Items are things like coolers, old boogie boards, tents.  Not a lot of stuff gets left there, but it's kind of understood, if someone parks this item HERE it means they don't want it.


                            The guest thought someone stole the cart, and I guess technically they did, so they replaced it.  The reason they left it there was because one of the wheels had started to give out and they were tired of pushing it.  So, tired cart got repurposed and we got a new cart!


                            We had a guest leave a giant floor fan.  Not sure why, the AC cranks and all the rooms have ceiling fans.


                            We had a guest put a decorative bathmat in our master bath because they thought it needed one. (we provide the hotel type washable mats).


                            We had a guest who bought and left two throw blankets because she wanted a blanket to snuggle with while watching tv.


                            We've had guests leave beach chairs they bought while at our condo.


                            We've had guests leave beach toys, books, and boogie boards.


                            We've had coasters go missing.


                            A TV remote go missing.


                            And once we had a guest take all our beach chairs.  We had just arrived, did our usual look around, and the chairs were gone.  Looked thru the guest book, and three guests ago had said "and they even provided beach chairs."  Two guests ago did not comment, so I asked them if they used them and they said yes, grandma used them when she took the kids to the beach.  About an hour later GRANDMA called, super apologetic, she had taken the kids to the beach, put the chairs in her trunk, then promptly forgot them.  She had them back with her in Atlanta.  She offered to send a check, we instead just deducted it from the security deposit and told her how much it was so she could reimburse her daughter.

                          • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                            oceangrover Contributor

                            Gone missing:


                            One set of beautiful, 100% pima cotton sheets.  By the time I realized they were missing, I couldn't pin point on whose visit they walked.


                            One very cute (in my opinion) throw pillow for a bedroom that says "When you wish upon a star."  Just went missing over the Memorial Day weekend.  I wrote the guest and said I couldn't find it and whether they had put it somewhere for safekeeping.  They didn't fess up and I didn't take it out of the security deposit, but I wrote a note to self not to rent to them next year.


                            Extension cord--okay, who cares, right?  But it's a very old house and in one bedroom you can only plug in the two bedside table lamps by using an extension cord.  I sent the guest a txt--she had moved to hotel in town for a few more days and responded that she had thought it was her daughter's and I could come get it at the front desk of her new digs.  I had already made an effort to return an iPhone charger that she left.  I felt uneasy that she took the extension cord--she had to unplug it from two of the bedside lamps so I didn't buy her story--and so I didn't rent to her the next year when she asked.

                            • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                              jl11 Senior Contributor

                              US-to-EU power adaptors. People treat them like party favors.


                              I tried to keep at least three in the apartment at all times but when I arrived for my 2X/year visits they were always gone. I put labels on the adaptors with our "apartment name" but that didn't work. Then I put two (expensive) power strips that allow people plug in up to three of their US appliances without adaptors and even those were labeled "Please do not remove from the apartment". After four went missing, I gave up.


                              Now my check-in instructions include the address of a nearby shop where guests can purchase power adaptors when they arrive. The irony is that now I have at least six or eight adaptors ... guests are buying them and then leaving them in the apartment when they checkout. 

                              • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                The only thing that I can think of is that one guest called to say that his wife had accidentally brought my hairdryer home. They allowed me to deduct for a new one and called it good.


                                I am thankful and blessed that I have not encountered things missing, AND if something is missing.....I haven’t noticed and so therefore must not be that important.

                                • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                  planthealth Active Contributor

                                  I do inventory once a year, spoons, bowls, glasses disappear through the year and I replace. This last week I had 1 of 4 bed pillows missing. So far no one has confessed other than one woman flew in from the midwest in the spring, delayed several hours due to snow etc. Wine glass broke her first night. She emailed us a photo to tell us to take it from her deposit. We were so grateful someone ACTUALLY TOLD US about the glass, we told her she had had a bad enough day, its on us. But it would be helpful to know in advance so I could bring things from my supply closet at home and not always have to run to the store when trying to get work on the VR done!

                                  • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                    awhitleycrew Contributor

                                    I bought a couple of Bibles from a Goodwill Bookstore to put in our bedroom night stands and had a guest contact me that she was going to mail it back to me because her husband accidentally packed it up when he was getting her books from the nightstand.  Sweet lady.


                                    We don't get a lot taken but periodically have things left behind: clothes, teddy bear, costume jewelry in a case (knew the guests so easy to return), and a whole suitcase (our preacher's mother-in-law and he called when they were halfway home, she thought her husband was going to load it for her).


                                    The most interesting thing was one of our pillows with a decorative pillow sham that matched our bedding set went missing.  Our cleaner looked everywhere, I emailed the last guests, no where to be found so I had to get a plain set of brown shams to replace them. Months later my cleaner texts me saying you aren't going to believe this but the pillow and sham are back!  I looked back at guest names and they weren't the same people nor from the same town! Guess they were friends and first group was embarrassed when they figured out they really had it.

                                    • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                      bhorsnround Contributor

                                      My cottage is in the south where Antiques are plentiful and I have a antique store on the property.  There is a pamphlet that helps them with any questions on possibly purchasing if interested.   I try not to leave items with too much value in the house but it does bother me when they deliberately take something home.  For example just recently I have these little cast iron skillet ash trays on the porches and somebody took it.  That has really bothered it didn't cost me much it is the principle of taking something you know doesn't belong to you.

                                      • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                        mermaidforlife New Member

                                        All when we still had a realtor. None since we went VRBO.




                                        pillow shams


                                        fridge magnet (not a big deal but was given to me by a friend when we bought the place)



                                        light bulbs (left one in each room plus took all the extra ones)

                                        • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                          hickmanhideaway Contributor

                                          Watched a guest walk out with the pillows from the master bedroom. Sent her an email and she said she thought they were hers. Sent me a check for two new pillows and mailed the cases back to me.


                                          I've returned several things to guests. Always ask if they want them back. The big things, like the Kindle Reader, I had my daughter hand deliver back to the guest since she lived within 30 minutes of the guest. Most are little things and the guest just says to keep them. Once had a very nice 2 ct diamond wedding ring left behind. The guest had me fedex it back to her with insurance. We do all of our own cleaning so know which guest left what.


                                          What really irritates me is the missing silverware and plates. Seems silverware either gets taken home with leftovers or thrown away. Must break the almost unbreakable plates. But no one lets me know so I can bring replacements. Our cabin is in a small community with the closest stores 30 minutes away.


                                          But I agree with the others about the champaign flutes. I would have thought they were for us.

                                          • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                            msmelmelaustin New Member

                                            I think I would have taken the glasses also!  Since they were etched with gradation things. 

                                            • Re: Have people taken stuff home intentionally or accidentally?
                                              martyp Contributor

                                              I am a 3 ½ year cancer survivor who has beaten the odds (48% survival chance). I can not comment on the graduation “gifts”, but I can provide some insight regarding the cancer survivor wine glasses.


                                              It is obvious that the bottle of wine was a gift; the only question would be the wine glasses. Since not many people have cancer survivor glasses sitting around,  it is obvious that they were special for her. Since those cancer wine glasses were specific to her situation and they were presented with the gift of wine, I also would have presumed that the glasses were a gift. I would have also taken them home with great gratitude.


                                              As a survivor, I can assure you that you really touched the heart and sole of that woman. I am sure that the woman did not stash the glasses in a cabinet; she uses them regularly and each and every time that she uses them for many years to come, she will think of you as a kind, warm and caring individual. She will think back of this vacation above other vacations and how you made it special for her.