The Umbrella Bucket

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

If when headed out of a place of business, you see it raining, and there's a bucket of umbrellas by the door, do you ...

See your umbrella in the bucket and take it
29
66%
Forget that you hadn't brought an umbrella, but take one that looks similar to one that you have or might consider getting at some point (like now)
0
No votes
Forget that you hadn't brought an umbrella, but take one that looks similar to one that you have or might consider getting at some point (like now)
0
No votes
Realize that you hadn't brought an umbrella, see one you want -- and take it
6
14%
Other (please specify below)
9
20%
 
Total votes: 44

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Harold
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The Umbrella Bucket

Post by Harold »

It's raining in San Francisco today, so I took my umbrella with me when I went out. I entered a place of business with about a half dozen patrons, and dropped my umbrella into the bucket by the door. There was no umbrella in the bucket even remotely similar to mine.

After finishing my business, my umbrella was no longer there.

I'm partly annoyed by having to walk home in the rain, and partly because I don't particularly want to buy another one. But mostly I wonder about what kind of person would steal an umbrella and let the owner get soaked? It's not even total anonymity here -- I saw the half dozen or so average looking patrons, yet one of those decent looking folks has ethical standards quite different from mine and stole my umbrella.

It's a distinctive umbrella, so there's no chance of confusion on someone's part. Actually, if I see it on the street (and I'll keep an eye out) I'm going to have a conversation and take it back.

Not that I expect many of you to be the type to swipe umbrellas -- or any who might, to actually admit it, but there is some anonymity on this site. And either way, you could probably give a little insight.
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Harold
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Post by Harold »

I had an "other" option, but it didn't get posted. (This is my first time doing a poll, so I probably did something wrong.)
[Added 'other' option for you - Mod CyberBob]
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Post by chaz »

A sad event being the victim of an umbrella theft.
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Post by cinghiale »

A no brainer. The Golden Rule applies. I would be monumentally pissed off if I bought an umbrella into a store, dropped it in the bin (to be considerate and not let it drip all over the place), and then came back to find it AWOL. I would not want to be the cause of the same happening to someone else. And, stripped of euphemism, it would be theft.
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Harold
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Post by Harold »

chaz wrote:A sad event being the victim of an umbrella theft.
Sad and wet.
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DA
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Post by DA »

Had I brought an umbrella I wouldn't leave it in the bucket. I'd shake off the excess water by opening/closing it several times and then bring it into the store with me.

If the business has the plastic umbrella bags at the front door I shake off the excess water and then place a bag over it and bring it into the store.
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Post by Harold »

cinghiale wrote:I would be monumentally pissed off if I bought an umbrella into a store, dropped it in the bin (to be considerate and not let it drip all over the place), and then came back to find it AWOL.
More like some kind of disbelieving disappointment in people, tempered by a bit of anger. I was looking all directions as I headed home. Even took off on a dead run towards what I thought was mine a block or so away -- as I got closer I realized the writing was different and stopped about five feet short of the guy (who didn't seem to notice).
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Harold
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Post by Harold »

DA wrote:Had I brought an umbrella I wouldn't leave it in the bucket. I'd shake off the excess water by opening/closing it several times and then bring it into the store with me.

If the business has the plastic umbrella bags at the front door I shake off the excess water and then place a bag over it and bring it into the store.
I'd probably do that now -- if I had an umbrella. (Actually I've done variants of that before.)
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Post by Rosebud »

DA wrote:Had I brought an umbrella I wouldn't leave it in the bucket. I'd shake off the excess water by opening/closing it several times and then bring it into the store with me.

If the business has the plastic umbrella bags at the front door I shake off the excess water and then place a bag over it and bring it into the store.
I agree. The one nice umbrella I had lasted only a very brief time because I put it down by a phone in the BART station and walked off without it. When I returned about 30 seconds later, it was long gone. Leaving an umbrella in a bucket by a door is just too tempting to anyone who might have forgotten theirs and wants to avoid getting wet, and I would not be at all surprised to find it had disappeared
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Post by Harold »

Rosebud wrote:Leaving an umbrella in a bucket by a door is just too tempting to anyone who might have forgotten theirs and wants to avoid getting wet, and I would not be at all surprised to find it had disappeared
No doubt true -- but this was a small place with just a few people in it! And there were other umbrellas in the bucket -- yet they took mine!

Oh well, live and learn.
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Post by Harold »

[Added 'other' option for you - Mod CyberBob]
Thanks Bob.
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jimgour
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New Mexico

Post by jimgour »

Since we live in New Mexico I was going to respond with:
"What is rain?"

However, we live in northern New Mexico where we get a lot of rain at certain times of the year.

I chose "other" because I've never seen the bucket of umbrellas you speak of. Either we don't have them, or I 've never paid attention.

Jim
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Rosebud
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Post by Rosebud »

Harold wrote:
Rosebud wrote:Leaving an umbrella in a bucket by a door is just too tempting to anyone who might have forgotten theirs and wants to avoid getting wet, and I would not be at all surprised to find it had disappeared
No doubt true -- but this was a small place with just a few people in it! And there were other umbrellas in the bucket -- yet they took mine!

Oh well, live and learn.
While for some reason I would not be surprised to find my umbrella gone in those circumstances, I would certainly be very annoyed (both with myself for having left it and humanity in general on behalf of whoever took it).
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Post by Triple digit golfer »

If the store sold umbrellas, I'd turn around and go buy a new umbrella.

That would piss me off and if I saw the person who stole it, there would be words and a person impaled with said new umbrella.
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Post by Triple digit golfer »

One time I was leaving the barber shop and my leather jacket was done. I was pretty pissed since it was a gift from my parents and a pretty darn nice jacket.

I left my phone number with them and not an hour later I got a call that the person returned it and said to tell me he's very sorry that he grabbed the wrong jacket.
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Post by jellelo »

the wife might use an umbrella.
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Post by White Coat Investor »

Umbrella buckets? Never noticed one.
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Post by nisiprius »

Oh, what a setup.

"The rain it raineth on the just,
And also on the unjust fella;
But chiefly on the just, because
The unjust steals the just's umbrella."
--Baron Charles Bowen

(That in turn is a reference to the Biblical passage Matthew 5:45 in which God is said to "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.")
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what if there were enough umbrellas in the world?

Post by raisin mountaineer »

There is a training center I occasionally visit for work. They keep umbrellas in buckets by every door. The thought is that you take an umbrella, and drop in at the next place. Most likely, umbrellas stay distributed appropriately (i.e., at night they all travel to the dormitories-- motel-like units on the property-- and in the morning you bring them back to the classroom.)

I'm sure that occasionally someone has to re-distribute all of them, but I have never needed one and not found one available.

That said, if I was at an office or facility that was NOT set up like this, I would never steal someone else's umbrella. It's just wrong to steal, and I try not to do it (cheap pens excepted, of course).
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Post by VictoriaF »

I have several umbrellas at home, but I don't like to carry them, because they require the use of a hand. If I took an umbrella out and it got stolen, I would regain the use of my hand -- a silver lining for a dark cloud.

Victoria
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Harold
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Post by Harold »

Though it's just impossible that someone picked it up by mistake, I may stop by tomorrow and ask whether anyone's conscience got to them and returned it -- then leave my business card or name/number if it's not there. Should've done that already, but I was so surprised.

That poem is perfect. I'd think it ought to be posted on umbrella buckets, but then fewer would use them.

Glad one honest person (probably just a smart aleck) admitted to stealing in the poll. He didn't comment though. I'm still wondering what's going through the umbrella-thief's mind ...
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Post by BigFoot48 »

I see a business opportunity for Umbrella Dye Packs, like they use in banks. Arm it when you drop your umbrella in the bucket, and if someone takes it and opens it, they get their head dyed purple. Remembering to disarm it would of course be critical to the owner.
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Post by jh »

...
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Post by CaliJim »

..
Last edited by CaliJim on Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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graveday
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Post by graveday »

For someone who would take your umbrella and leave you to get soaked, my first guess would be Bernie Madoff, but he's in jail. So a wannabe.
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Post by ryuns »

No other choice but to get soaked or search nearby stores for a cheap umbrella for sale. (If it weren't SF, I would have suggest grabbing a cab, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a cab in SF.)

Ethically, there's nothing else to do. If it was a Chicago winter and someone stole your coat off the racks, you couldn't very well take a different one to compensate.

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Post by lazyday »

http://www.amazon.com/Sociopath-Next-Do ... 0767915828

Supposedly 4% of the population are sociopaths.

On top of that, many people commit small and large crimes even with a conscious.
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Post by Beantown85 »

I answered "Keep on going out the door while thinking that you'll plan better for the elements in the future", but the reality is I still don't have any plans to buy an umbrella. I just get wet.
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Post by Random Musings »

Typically, I don't stand out in the rain very long - so I rarely use umbrella's (except when wearing a suit or golfing which could make one stand out in the rain).

RM
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Post by Harold »

Well I stopped back by yesterday -- the umbrella hadn't been returned (no real surprise).

I almost don't want it back now, knowing that some low-life has had his/her hands on it for a while. But I'd still like to find out what he/she was thinking. There have been a lot of really good comments on this thread -- but still no real insight into what goes through a thief's mind ...

Also, if you're running a business and ask people to leave their umbrellas at the door (to keep your establishment dry), what goes through your mind when one gets stolen?
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

In some rainy places those umbrella buckets contain 'public' umbrellas that may be used by anyone to walk from store to store. Each store has a bucket and you simply leave your umbrella at the last store you visit (or not).

Are you sure the bucket was intended for your 'private' umbrella?
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Post by cinghiale »

Harold wrote:
There have been a lot of really good comments on this thread -- but still no real insight into what goes through a thief's mind ...
Perhaps Bogleheads and indexers, as a whole, don't think like thieves.

Now, if you posted this thread on a site that caters to financial advisors...
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Post by CTBob »

CaliJim wrote:I don't worry about it - I have Umbrella Insurance.
Man - I love this forum
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Post by elgaeb051 »

Unless it is a total deluge, I don't even think about an umbrella. I'd rather not be bothered.

- E
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Post by Harold »

FrugalInvestor wrote:In some rainy places those umbrella buckets contain 'public' umbrellas that may be used by anyone to walk from store to store. Each store has a bucket and you simply leave your umbrella at the last store you visit (or not).

Are you sure the bucket was intended for your 'private' umbrella?
Absolutely no doubt.
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

Harold wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote:In some rainy places those umbrella buckets contain 'public' umbrellas that may be used by anyone to walk from store to store. Each store has a bucket and you simply leave your umbrella at the last store you visit (or not).

Are you sure the bucket was intended for your 'private' umbrella?
Absolutely no doubt.
I suppose the offender could have thought they were public. That's what I would prefer to believe anyway.
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Post by Harold »

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Harold wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote:In some rainy places those umbrella buckets contain 'public' umbrellas that may be used by anyone to walk from store to store. Each store has a bucket and you simply leave your umbrella at the last store you visit (or not).

Are you sure the bucket was intended for your 'private' umbrella?
Absolutely no doubt.
I suppose the offender could have thought they were public. That's what I would prefer to believe anyway.
Yeah, I know that's the healthy way to look at it.

But for the moment I'm choosing to imagine a guy living in a squalid SRO packed floor-to-ceiling with pilfered umbrellas.
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Post by JasonR »

FrugalInvestor wrote:I suppose the offender could have thought they were public.
Obviously the correct answer. Like those Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. You're supposed to take those, right?
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Post by DocHolliday »

I do not use umbrellas. Actually, I rarely even see them being used.
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Post by pitt76 »

I had a really nice and expensive brass umbrella stand in the waiting room of my office. No one ever stole an umbrella, but someone stole the umbrella stand. LOL
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Post by SP-diceman »

I guess thats why the handle on an umbrella is called a "crook" handle.


Thanks
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Post by MWCA »

I picked other. I dont use them. I welcome the rain on my face.
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Post by nvboglehead »

I thought that this was going to be a poll on umbrella insurance. Do we have it and what is our coverage? Perhaps someone would like to start that poll?

Umbrellas? I voted other - don't use them. We only get 3 inches of rain a year in this part of the Mojave Desert. So they are used as parasols here in the summer heat.

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Post by VictoriaF »

MWCA wrote:I picked other. I dont use them. I welcome the rain on my face.
What do you do about leaking mascara?

Victoria
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Post by MWCA »

VictoriaF wrote:
MWCA wrote:I picked other. I dont use them. I welcome the rain on my face.
What do you do about leaking mascara?

Victoria
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Post by SP-diceman »

VictoriaF wrote:
MWCA wrote:I picked other. I dont use them. I welcome the rain on my face.
What do you do about leaking mascara?

Victoria
A black swan. :)
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Post by jmbkb4 »

This is why I don't life in SF
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Whiggish Boffin
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Perpetual umbrella endowment

Post by Whiggish Boffin »

Sucks to be robbed and soaked...
I heard of a New York gentleman who was always losing umbrellas. He took to pasting a label on the handle:
"If you find this, don't try to return it. Instead, please send $1 to PO Box [nnn], New York, New York [nnnnn]"
The umbrella paid for itself and more.
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Post by Duckie »

When it's raining (or going to) I carry a small collapsible umbrella and a plastic sack. When I come inside somewhere I shake off the umbrella, collapse it, and put it in the sack. I don't leave it anywhere. If I am somewhere without it and it starts to rain I just mentally kick myself.
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Re: Perpetual umbrella endowment

Post by VictoriaF »

Whiggish Boffin wrote:Sucks to be robbed and soaked...
I heard of a New York gentleman who was always losing umbrellas. He took to pasting a label on the handle:
"If you find this, don't try to return it. Instead, please send $1 to PO Box [nnn], New York, New York [nnnnn]"
The umbrella paid for itself and more.
He would have to paste this label on each successive umbrella with an expectation of getting $1 per umbrella. The total amount he would have received could possibly cover one umbrella, but not all umbrellas he had to buy.

He would be lucky if whoever found his umbrella then lost it, and somebody else has found it and sent the second $1 for the same umbrella. But that is not very likely, because the first person who has found it -- and sent his $1 -- would probably discard the label afterward or replace it with his own P.O. Box.

Victoria
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