Mornings were always a struggle for Rosy. When she was at home, her mother would dutifully awake for college, quietly explaining the value of being an early bird. This failed around 60% of the time, paving the way for her father, and his far less diplomatic approach of shouting at her while he took the duvet downstairs. 

But now she was at uni, and there was no one to get her up. At first, this was great. Often nursing a hangover, she would leisurely lounge in her dorm until hunger forced her to slink into the kitchen. One bowl of nutritionless food later, she could get back into bed and remain horizontal until it was time to go out. Not a bad life really. 

For the first 9 months of her academic career, this minimalistic approach to her studies was perfectly acceptable. All she needed was a meagre 40% in her exams and coursework to stumble into her sophomore year. This was easily achieved. However, now that her work would actually count towards her final grade, lying around watching Desperate Housewives in bed didn’t feel so sweet.

So, on one fateful morning, Rosy – feeling rather smug that she was ahead of schedule for her latest piece of coursework – left home for the library. She carried with her a battered, sticker clad laptop, an equally battered rucksack, and lofty intentions of having her work signed, sealed and delivered before the day was out.

Her feelings of self-satisfaction were only heightened when she saw the states of some other students in the library. Nervous energy permeated the room – with deadline day a week away, those who left things till the last minute were feeling the sting of the lackadaisical attitude to their respective fields. 

Sadly, Rosy’s feeling of Nirvana-level calm soon gave way to sheer panic, when she realised she didn’t have her laptop. Where is it she thought, her brain unable to comprehend what was happening. Her concerns were quickly compounded when she realised that she hasn’t backed up any of her work. She could almost hear her father’s voice urging her to do just that. That just annoyed her even more. 

Retracing her steps, she realised that there were a few places she could have left it. The meandering journey from bed to library had taken her on two buses and through two separate campuses. She’d also stopped off for a coffee, and at that weird hotdog stand that smelled inexplicably of burgers. 

Mind racing, Rosy sprinted to the main reception, where, to her horror, she found a ruthlessly inefficient team of two receptionists, neither one seeming to know how best to waste her time

“I really don’t know what to say” said Karen, scratching her chin while staring longingly at someone having a cigarette just outside the front door.

“All I can tell you is, that it hasn’t been handed in here” She popped her head under the desk, as if to magically conjure a laptop, but returned with only a shrug.

“Sorry” added Darren, gawping aimlessly on his laptop

A moment of silence passed where Rosy expected further assistance, but was greeted with blank stares.

“Actually” Darren groaned, as if the prospect of being of service caused physical pain.

“I think we started using some lost property software recently, it’s called Lost Bot”

“I’m pretty sure it’s Get Lost” Responded Karen

“It’s NotLost” said an observant security guard, who had clearly decided to step in to prevent the conversation from carrying on any longer

“If you call this number, there’s someone who can see all the items that have been handed in. Or, if it’s not urgent, you can just fill out a form and one of us will get back to you”

All Rosy could muster at this point was “urgthanks”, before snatching the card out of her nameless heroes hand, followed by a hurried apology, followed by a frantic sprint to find somewhere quiet.

When she called the number, she was asked by a terse, but seemingly competent woman called Angie, who asked for a quick description of the missing laptop. A few moments passed as Angie supposedly searched for it, this, only supported by the unmistakable pitter patter of fake nails on a keyboard.

“Does it have a sticker that says this is not a sticker?” Angie asked after a few moments, and was rewarded with an exclamation of pure joy, thanks, and requests for a location to pick it up.

Turns out she had left it on the bus. However, the technology at the disposal of the uni staff had meant that the bus driver had been able to take a quick picture of the laptop, along with a brief description of its distinguishing features aka, its confusing sticker collection.

This was then instantly logged on the universities dedicated NotLost platform, so, when Angie searched, she could see it had been handed in, and where it currently resided.

When Rosy arrived at one of three lost property storage facilities on campus, she had to quickly verify the laptop was hers, explain what on earth these stickers mean, and then get back to the library. She even finished her work by 7, which meant she could still head out for a night on the town, armed with a renewed feeling of satisfaction and a great story to tell. After she’d dropped her laptop home of course.

Could Rosy’s laptop have been found without the help of NotLost’s software? Perhaps. Would it have been done quickly and easily, minimising staff time searching for it, alleviating the student’s mental anguish, and allowing her to get her work done with a minimum of fuss? Almost certainly not.