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Thursday, September 23, 2010

1.9 Losing, Misplacing or Accidentally Breaking Valued Things - Prevent

Physician's Notebooks 1 - http://physiciansnotebook.blogspot.com - See Homepage

  This is a long chapter on losses I have suffered. It is meant as a reference or source of a seminar. Read slowly and in small sections.
Losing, Misplacing or Breaking - Update 19 Aug. 2018
  Descending column of headings in order as they appear; use for search & find or scroll.
Opening Statement
Stealing Loss -A Recent Event  
The Good Samaritan Loss
Pocket Loss
Overhead rack
House Key and Objects Left in Slot or Plug-in
Money/Paper/Plastic Card Loss at Home and Office
Throwing away valuables or frequent-use objects
Loss in container – bag, box, briefcase
Mail Loss
Break-in and Thievery
Con artist
Travel Increases Risk of Loss
Alertness to Finding Recently Missing Valuable
Traveler-Check Pocket Loss
Dropping-From-Top Pocket Loss
Breakable Loss
Bookcase
Leaving House or Room and Absentmindedly Forgetting
Not Following Through on Search for Missing Object
Item Knocked or Dropped to Floor, Seemingly Lost
Misplacement of Item between Pages of Book
Missing Item That Blends into Surrounding
Misplacement in Blanket or Sheet of Bed
Misplacement on Body or in Recently Worn Clothing
Personal Paper Forgotten in Public Copy Machine
Sound, Feeling, Smell and Visual Should Warn of Catastrophe
Medical Loss
Cash, Check or Credit Card
Bank Money Cards Risk Huge Loss. Do you Really Need? 
Scroll Loss or Shift to Screen's Side Edge Loss
Shortchange
The Singling Out Loss
Neglecting to check purchase, or actually leaving it behind
End Notes; washing machine, eye drops in refridge, drip,drip water, and trashcan 
Throw-out-itis

Opening Statement: When something is misplaced or seems to disappear it usually is due to a loss or misplacement of one's attention that is often hard to control. Based on long experience with losing or misplacing there are certain situations that ought to be a red flag. For example putting small bags or containers on overhead racks, putting important small card documents like credit cards in pockets already crowded with small change and other bric-a-brac -- especially in the pocket of a jacket that will become separate from your body --, leaving an important small object alone on a table you will not return to. Putting important, don't-want-to-lose object in your carry bag and then leaving the bag somewhere.  Thus, make it a good habit to firstly have losing or misplacing on the brain (Constantly be aware of the possibility and especially avoid the toxic above-mentioned situations).

Stealing Loss -A Recent Event 
"This Saturday, Don was coming home from band practice. His friend let him out of the car, and then Don propped the outside entrance door open while he brought his 2 guitars (one worth $3000) upstairs and left them by our apartment door. He left the outside door propped open because our across-the-hall neighbor was also bringing in groceries. He went back out and brought a box to our garage. In the time it took to do that, someone came in and stole his 2 guitars."  
   The above is a story of losing because one is in a hurry, a bit overexcited, wants to be a too good neighbor, and makes the lazy-minded assumption "Well, it will only be a minute so no one could steal something in that short time." The result was, for Don, a negative, mind-blowing experience. With stuff you value, make no assumptions, do not be a too good neighbor and lock the stuff inside your home immediately.

The Good Samaritan Loss is closely related to the above. It is when you try to help others but your good intention causes you to lose a valuable. For examples, several years ago my company got me a local cell phone and a little later they got me an international plus local cell phone. They forgot I had the local phone but I thought I'd be a good Samaritan and save the company money so I handed in my local phone without being asked. It turned out I could have made great use of that phone but my good-Sam impulse lost it for me. In another case I bought an expensive Braun Electric Shaver and, as I believe in living a communist life and the Shaver was a type that cleaned itself and could be used by my male coworkers, I left it in my company's male WC for anybody to use. No one chose to use it except me but 14 months later, someone stole it. So I lost the expensive shaver because I tried to be a good Samaritan.
   I do not want these examples to turn the reader off to being a good Samaritan but always consider what you risk losing and if it is worth trying to be the good Samaritan, as it clearly was not in the case of the electric shaver.

Pocket Loss:  An important, potentially catastrophic loss of money card and my Japan foreigner registration card happened to me because I stupidly entrusted these 2 very "cannot lose" cards to my inner suit jacket lower pocket made for this size card. Little did I realize how easily such cards can fall out of such pockets by merely sitting down and having the lower part of the jacket crunch up! Never again to use that type pocket for that type card!
   In choosing clothing, priority should be button- or zip-over, deep pocket. You ought to be able to go into side pocket to wrist, and the shirt pocket should be passport-size and button-over. In pants, baggy side-pockets. Test for hole often.
 Important object, like house key, should be in small zip-over pocket.
Don’t keep a valuable apart from your body, in coat and suit or jacket or, especially in carry bag that is easily misplaced and lost.
Remember! Clothing one is not now wearing is where one may misplace important small item like medicine or small document or important plastic card. If these items suddenly go missing, go to your clothing rack and search pockets or recently used clothing.
   Much loss occurs in rush to pull money, ticket, or key from pocket because as you withdraw hand it brushes out valuable(s) that fall(s) out unnoticed. Also do not handle valuable ticket, card or paper object unnecessarily (Taking them out to look at them) because such papers or cards easily fall from fingers unnoticed. Before leaving home or office, or subway train or taxicab, have necessary coin and cash change or ticket ready so you do not have to reach for it in rush. Do not carry a large-loss-in-small-volume valuable. (Large cash bill)
   Removing clothes makes high risk for loss. In public toilet next to commode where you sit, a wallet, falling out of lowered pants or from jacket draped over partition becomes large loss for you and great gain for one who cleans the toilet. The wallet is an easy place to find important pocket item, but it is a bottomless pit of loss. I gave up losing wallets after losing my last and now substitute a large zipper pocket and limit what I carry.

Overhead rack: Be alert to leaving behind on overhead rack, which happens much in Japan on trains. Putting anything on a top rack is asking for loss. In commercial jet on debarking make sure no small item has fallen out of your large bag that you placed in overhead rack by actually getting a look even though it needs stepping up on your seat; don't rely on blind finger-feels.   

House Key and Objects Left in Slot or Plug-in: When leaving home you lock door, and out in corridor remember you forgot something so you unlock door and rush back in to get the neglected item, forgetfully leaving key behind sticking out of door. Another scene is you returning to flat, unlocking door, leaving key in slot because arms full of packaged goods, hurrying in to stow them and then forgetting key. You usually discover it in door at next go out, but a thief of opportunity may discover it sooner. This is a forgetting of inserted object that includes recharge plug and wire  and cell phone or other battery charged electronics in office or hotel or other place where you forget and leave it charging.

Money/Paper/Plastic Card Loss at Home and Office: My file is a bottomless pit of loss due to putting important paper in wrong folder or having it accidentally get attached to or included with other file item. A maneuver when missing a document is to review files A to Z. Frequent place of loss at home is behind or under furniture or appliance. Look behind fridge and you may find that lost letter with the $5,000 pension check. Or search behind or under sofa, or bed, or dresser, or bookcase, or movable bathroom fixture. Or on desk, look underneath and beside the desk and also under things on your desk, like under a desktop computer keyboard for a lost plastic card or behind monitor-screen where common use items may get hidden from your view and presumed lost. Or in a niche just under your seat for a lost cell phone that dropped from your pocket as you slouched in your office chair. Best to make sign: “Look under or behind”  for posting on wall near furniture. Also this points the benefit of room cleaning. So many misplaced objects are found while cleaning a room or rearranging file or drawer. (But keep in mind a room cleaning is also high risk for misplacing) With plastic card loss, especially important one like a credit card, never forget that you may have left it in an outer jacket that got separated from your body or otherwise misplaced as recently happened to me. (And don't immediately cancel the credit card. Wait a couple of days until you are really sure it's permanently lost because you'll be charged a fee for the loss)
Throwing away valuables or frequent-use objects: I have done it as an unthinking automatism or out of lapse of attention or in not wanting to check what may be inside a seemingly empty container. I ignorantly threw out negotiable check (the baby) in envelope (with the bathwater), my mom’s silver 25-cent coin collection in old can (Collect valuables in glass), or needed medicine. Keep trash as long as tolerable and review content before throwing out.
  Loss in container – bag, box, briefcase – is also important point of misplacement of valuable item, especially during trip when you may put small valuable in container or carry bag used for other item and then forget you put it there. (This happened with passport, specially placed in backpack and the placement there forgotten, resulting in a seeming loss of passport and in a panicked search on an aircraft about to take off on international trip)

Mail Loss: Send no cash by mail! Postal worker or letter-box thief looking for welfare or social security check may steal it; the one you send it to may falsely claim not to receive it in order to have you send more to cover loss; or you may be suspected of falsely claiming to have sent it and lost it for your own bad purpose. When cash is lost in mail, even if registered, you will be left holding an empty mailbag. Another loss is letter delivered in your box: it happened to me because the letter got stuck in my outside mailbox in a place normally not visible, and lay undetected for months.
   Even sending personal checks through the mail can be problematic if the check is large enough to tempt a money-launderer. A good control is to forward-date your check to one week after you expect it to arrive. Then you will have time to check expected arrival and put a stop on the check (But putting a stop costs you $35).

Break-in and Thievery: My landlady in the Bronx, wrote me of a break-in with every room turned upside down. She was out of house 8am to 6pm, Mon – Fri, leaving it empty. It is 2-story in row of private homes on quiet residential block with obscuring trees. Back in Bronx, I found nothing taken from my room. The burglar was out for cash & carry so after entering by cutting hole in window, he emptied every drawer; overturned every mattress and rug; opened every cupboard and closet, even down to smallest cookie jar. I recently read about a chap who invited a new friend home and later had his house burgled and was himself killed because the friend, noting how easy it would be to burgle the house and suspecting much money hidden there, sold the intelligence to a gangster who promptly broke in and, because he found the occupant there who might later identify him, killed him.
   We keep cash, negotiable paper and credit card lying openly around at home and rarely consider someone may get inside and steal them. We should not hoard cash at home but many do. Best way to secure your home is to be paranoid about home robbery, or as I like to say “Have burglary on brain.” Keep in mind close friend, lover, or relative, may go thief or more likely be source of info to thief, either out of greed or envy, or because of something as slight as slip of tongue. That my landlady lives alone and is at work weekdays could have been the key info that decided the burglar to hit. It could come from her talk or someone nearby noting her invariable behavior. And knowledge about inside house – window lock location – could come from repairman, meter-reader, friend, relative, boarder.
Secure the home: “To lock or not to lock?” needs to be harped on.  From Chechnya the headline: Fourteen staff escape death because… lock … door at bedtime.  …  The terrorist systematically tried all the doors. He murdered five … who had not locked themselves in.  (I do not wish to obsess about locking doors; the where & when of it is important. In Japan I rarely lock my door. but in USA, always!)

Street thievery: Minimalist principle is not to appear rich: no fine clothing, no bulging wallet, no visible jewelry, no sumptuous purse.

Con artist: Use judgment before you supply anyone with personal check, credit card, or anything bearing your signature, account or card, or SS or PIN. You may unknowingly give it when you buy by check or credit card, especially over Internet, and also by leaving such easily copied info lying carelessly around home or in office desk drawer.

Travel Increases Risk of Loss: Luggage should always top awareness. Do not have it to lose. (Remove unnecessary stuff, leaving only single carry-on piece) If you must check-in luggage, take out of it any item you cannot tolerate losing. In my international medical practice, the most frequent emergency is losing an important, medicine mostly due to loss of luggage.
  Keep top of overfilled cart or bag closed to prevent fall-out loss in overhead compartment or bus bottom.

Alertness to Finding Recently Missing Valuable: I misplace things but am saved by fast becoming aware of loss and searching it out. In searching after missed item keep aware of what you carry with you and where you stow it. This starts with making inventory, on leaving home either for nearby chore or doing world trip. Soon as you miss anything, don’t let it slide. For every moment delay, the probability of never recovering it multiplies. When you mislay important item: sit down (Before rushing around excitedly searching) and, in your mind, visually recall and think when last held in hand and then follow it up to the point where it disappears from memory. An example is missing passport. You recollect seeing it when handing to travel agent and putting it back in pant pocket. As you visualize that, you realize you have no memory of pulling passport from pocket afterwards. Here is where memory of passport winks out. And that was last night. And today you can’t find it! Suddenly, you realize you are not wearing same pants as yesterday. This morning you sent yesterday’s pants to cleaner. Red marker flares in mind’s eye! Immediately, you call the cleaner, he searches your soiled pants, and – Voila! – the passport still in pocket you forgot to remove it from.
This may not reveal missing item, but it can localize it to particular place. Then, solution is to search room, closet, file. In searching, keep in mind the missing item may be in the open, “staring you in face,” yet you may have blind spot because it’s not where you expect. Recite, “I know it is in here, in front of me” – and search systematically, slowly and without excitement.
   A guide in looking for the item is to search close to its usual place. If it’s a key you keep in cup atop refrigerator, look in nearby cup or on floor below, where it may have fallen. Just now my favorite tea or coffee cup went missing and I was about to give up and buy a new one when I said to myself, "It's got to be where I usually leave it; on my desk. And - Eureka! - I pushed aside my computer  monitor screen and there it was - hidden by the screen's blocking vision at rear of desk.
   Falling of important card or paper from clear plastic folder that has open edge and is carried in hand has happened to me. First, do not put an item that may easily drop - like card or letter - in such folders that are meant for soft papers. Second, search on floors it may have fallen to.
    Also, train ticket, coin and cash bill are dropped on subway or other stair by commuter rushing from train or home. Do not take stuff out of pocket in such rush situation. Have ticket, cash ready in hand or pocket.

Traveler Check Pocket Loss: When someone pays you an unsecured check, immediately cash it. A while ago I got paid with $500 blank TC and carried it on me, neglecting to write in my name and number. Even worse I did the ultimate stupidity – taking TC from pocket to look at gloatingly while walking outside and then thrusting it back in jacket to put in inner pocket but missing the pocket and it dropped to sidewalk. Bye-bye Big Buck that did not stop here!

Dropping-From-Top Pocket Loss occurs from shirt in which you place item that can fall out when you bend down to fix shoe or look at fish in pond. Do not put small weighty object in top pocket (or on ledge or edge). Use top pocket button-over or zip. Similarly for open top of carry luggage.

Breakable Loss: Not only dropped from pocket but also knocked off edge of furniture where you carelessly and precariously place the fragile item results in big replacement bill. Prevent by attention to securing important equipment by button-over pocket that you make sure to button-over. And keep in mind glass breakage. I now use unbreakable clear plastic for all drinking and eating receptacles. Another equipment breakage comes from rough handling: neglecting to grasp the piece firmly and safely by handle when picking it up, banging it against wall or furniture out of unthinking roughness, and even too violently flipping on/off toggle switch or banging typing key on keyboard – all are causes of prematurely shortening life of equipment. Just today I shut the door of a microwave oven too hard and it broke its turn-on control. Here you just have to pay attention and have breakage on your brain. Put colorful, attention-attracting FRAGILE warning on equipment to help. Soft floor at home (tatami or plastic tiles with bounce) is ideal prevention against damage from dropping fragile equipment Best of all stop carrying expensive item when you do not need it - like camera when cell phone can replace.

Bookcase: I missed an indispensable prescription booklet and had to expend effort, time and money to get it replaced. Day after it arrived in mail, I found the missed booklet scrunched up between and behind books on a bookcase shelf. So when missing small soft-cover pamphlet or booklet, look between and behind books. Also make rule in Sunday cleaning to remove books from bookcase before brushing off dust.

Leaving House or Room and Absentmindedly Forgetting: How often one leaves home and neglects item, for example, postcard you plan to drop in mailbox or credit card you need for important buy? And how often do you leave a strange room or house you do not normally inhabit (Hotel room, commercial aircraft seating compartment, hospital room) and leave behind valuable or otherwise important personal item? These fall under “neglectful, absentminded loss.”
   Prevent all these type losses by what I call “rote recitation.” When you leave house or room, at door, stop and recite (out loud if alone, or silently in your mind if others present): “Did I remember everything?” If you’re leaving hotel room or airplane seat, it should cause you to check for left-behind. If it is the daily leaving home, you add: “What my planned chore today? What item will I need on me to carry it out?” Making this rote would save money and make your life more efficient.

Not Following Through on Search for Missing Object in a contained area you know must hold it. At times I misplace, and after careful consideration, come up with probable location of misplaced object (My file, a closet, my briefcase, a desk, my pockets) but, because I am excited, I perform only cursory search and overlook the missing object. Lesson: If you think you misplaced something in particular place, search that place slowly, carefully and systematically.

Item Knocked or Dropped to Floor, Seemingly Lost: Your study desk is the frequent site; it also happens where you sit, and is most serious in aircraft seat because the item may be left behind and lost. Whatever you have on desk, or even in pants side pocket, may fall or get knocked to floor by movement. In this set of losing is medicine pill, pencil, pen, eraser, magnifying or eye glass, ruler, small tape recorder, wallet or clip with cash money. A search near your feet may not be successful because the dropped item tends to shift much further away from your seat than you guess and gets hidden beneath and behind other furniture. (On aircraft it shifts into other traveler floor space) And with small items like pill, it rolls beneath furniture, desk or table leg. Being aware such misplaced item can travel over floor, much more widely than you would guess, should cause you to widen search and find it. (With pill, move desk set and you'll almost always find it. On stairwell with larger object, look at bottom)
Look in Vacuum Cleaner for small missing Items Dropped to Floor like Pills, missing Jigsaw Puzzle Piece, Coin  or Other Small Valuable Piece:  I have vacuumed up valuable small lost items and found them in the Vacuum Machine catch bag.

Misplacement of Item between Pages of Book You Were Reading: Most often this is magnifying glass unthinkingly left inside thick book. Happens to me due to being old enough to need magnifier but it could also be an important letter grabbed unthinkingly off desk and used as bookmark then forgotten. One gets experienced in this misplacement, and now, as soon as I miss my hand glass, I quickly shake out the last thick book I used and – Eureka!

Missing Item That Blends into Surrounding or is Hidden Under Other Object. I failed to spot a searched-for item despite its “looking me in the face” because it blended in color into surroundings: Green rubber glove against green kitchen linoleum or bathroom tile! Or a sought-for item may become covered by larger object. Well do I recall time spent searching for favorite Dunkin Donut coffee cup! I gave it up for lost but hours later ran across it hidden beneath large saucer in jumble of drying, just-washed dishes. More serious was not being able to find microscope I had not used in a year but suddenly wanted to. It went missing because I chose to store it inside unmarked brown carton. Such cartons used to litter my house and on a cleaning, my wife put them in storage closet. If you must store in carton, mark and label.
  Another case of missing item happened to me recently. Suddenly I was missing my cell phone. Careful search in the vicinity of my desk where it had to be misplaced failed. Finally I made a telephone call to it and, by its ringing, located it right underneath the seat of my chair. (Note the locating of a misplaced cell phone in your vicinity by making a call to its number) While sleeping in my chair, a movement had displaced it from my side pocket and it got caught in a ridge just under the seat, hidden from view but not from hearing. When you are missing a small important article from your work area always check such seeming hidden places under seats or on desk under papers. 

Misplacement in Blanket or Sheet of Bed: Missing an item one morning? Consider it may have become hidden in sheet or blanket of bed after being used the night before. Or, if you live in Japan, under your floor futon mat! It happens most with letter or book you read in bed or eyeglasses or time alarm, but has also involved tape recorder and laptop. It is found when you or someone else makes the bed but one wastes time searching, and if it happens in hotel, a maid may make off with your valuable item.

Misplacement on Body or in Recently Worn Clothing: Mostly glasses you flip back and forth over eyes to top of head and pencil stored behind ear but it can be what you shove in pocket and forget and key around neck but hidden inside shirt. Inspect your face in mirror and empty pocket in search for pocket-size object. Also, again, especially with credit card, never forget you may have left it in an outer jacket that got displaced temporarily. Recently, I stayed at a friend's home, and he had a lookalike outer jacket from my jacket and I mistakenly took his jacket and then thought I had lost my credit card which had been left behind in my original jacket. A few days later my friend discovered the loss, but I had already reported it to my credit card company so was punished by a fine.

Personal Paper Forgotten in Public Copy Machine: Preventive is making it rote behavior to open lid of copier when done. And don’t neglect also looking on nearby table and counter for just copied sheet, which often gets left behind.
   Other copy machine error: Copying multiples without checking first copy page sheet and, after doing 20 or so, discovering you made wrong size or other setting and having to recopy. Or copying while wearing long hanging outer garment like coat or jacket, whose lower edge may strike copy machine control, unnoticed, and change it to wrong setting during many-page copy run, ruining the run. With a big copy job, pay attention at the start and be in comfortable, relaxed state of mind, and with outer, heavy garment removed. A particularly expensive error occurs when making color copies with a copy credit card and pressing the copy button too firmly and too long, causing repetitive copies you do not need. (Instead of the one copy you wanted, you get 10)
   Recently I did copy error because I am Good Sam. I was copying a 50-page document; suddenly an old gentleman asks if he can interrupt to make a Medicare card copy. I say OK but when he finishes I overlook that his copying had changed the size of the copy sheet and it took many wasted pages for me to discover it.

Sound, Feeling, Smell and Visual Should Warn of Catastrophe: “We heard a sound like a plane and thought people had come to rescue us. But 15 minutes later the land began to tremble and mud and stones came down on top of us.” From survivor of mudslide in Nicaragua. One’s senses are constantly invaded by low level sense signal - heard, felt, smelled or seen. Experience and education teach us to ignore all but a few of these signals and when just above the threshold of one’s senses, they are easy to ignore. A touch-feel signal I ignored brings me to how I nearly died one night. I was living upstairs in a 2-story wood house in Tokyo: It was winter, bitter cold, so I bought an electric heater and every night turned it up full. For a month after, I noted slight warmth in wall around switch outside my door but this subliminal noting of electric circuit overload that should have kicked off red flasher of danger in my brain passed-by without my acting upon noticing it. On Christmas Eve I went to sleep as usual with heater on high. I thank the telephone for helping me to continue living because I was a light sleeper with good hearing so I got awakened by a ringing telephone downstairs. Normally, that would not have been enough to stir me out of a warm bed on a freezing night but my sense picked up a smell suggesting fire. That got me up and out into the hall where I spotted the area around the wall-switch smoking and just starting to glow from overload-circuit heating wire. I doused it with pail of water, just one second before it would have burst into flame causing the house to be consumed and me with it.
   Other warnings: Vibration of car engine predicting imminent serious engine glitch day before 1000-mile motor trip and – sticking with car – the slight extra give of foot-pedal brake that should have warned of imminent and life-ending brake failure; and in another case the so frequently reported faint rotten-egg smell of leaking gas-line an hour before violent gas explosion. Lesson: Be paranoid for warning sign; check it out immediately, and don’t use the system or machine that has given you warning until it is explained as benign or the danger removed.

Medical Loss: Because of test or drug or other treatment, or even an inadvertent movement, you may experience loss of health or even of life. As 10 y/o, I got a lot of dental x-ray up into my skull. Twenty-two years later I got cancer of scalp just where the x-rays hit the top of head from below. It was cured by removal of a section of scalp. 
   My late wife had tuberculosis in her left lung in 1965 and needed special x rays. Because of x-ray technician error, it had to be repeated so she got double dose of the already high-dose x-ray to a field that included her heart. In 1982, she died prematurely of coronary artery occlusion probably partly provoked by the x-rays’ causing coronary artery wall damage. I do not mean to obsess you neurotically but to alert you that good health and longevity require much consideration.
   Here are some serious inadvertent causes of loss due to brain strokes in younger persons from tearing of neck arteries: A rapid and extreme rotation of neck as in turning the head to back up a car.  Or with chiropractic treatments on the neck or the extending of neck to have one's hair washed or the swinging of a golf club or even a forceful coughing. Again, one should not obsess but, after all, a brain stroke in a young person is absolutely terrible so be aware and be careful and slow with movements and avoid undue exercises and massage treatments on vital parts of the body.
   At the time you get surgery, keep close watch on everything that is done to you. For a case where a major operation had a ruinous result because I carelessly disregarded a nursing error, click and at your leisure read
17.1a A Complication of Aging .

Cash, Check or Credit Card (CC): Paying for item purchases by cash has the advantage of being able to bargain for a lower price because retailers penalize check and credit card payment by adding on to the purchase price. The reason most of us end up paying by check or CC is a combination of convenience, of multiplying buying power by borrowing on credit, and to lower the risk of carrying large amount of cash. Early on, sit down and figure out type of payment best done by credit card or best done by check or cash. Then be a bug to get the max for your cash at least risk.
Paying by check you may stop payment on day you make your buy if not satisfied. (A check stop-payment may be put by telephone, usually during daytime hours only, but one must report it by check number or it will be a No go; also $35 charge is usual regardless of amount of check) Another protection is to date your check at several days ahead of the purchase to insure it cannot be cashed until you have had a 1-day experience with product or, if you send check by mail, date it 1-week ahead)  A credit card opens you to fraud. And, in addition to paying extra to the retailer, you pay interest on the money the credit card company advances for your payment. 
Always get and keep receipt in easily retrievable place.
Avoid use of semi credit cards that do not identify by name. Such cards are valuable cash in small plastic volume but if you lose it you lose big bucks. (If you do purchase such a card, get & keep the receipt so if you lose the card you can report it and get immediate refund)

Bank Money Cards Risk Huge Loss. Do you Really Need?  Recently, I suddenly noticed my bank money card had gone missing. An icy hand clutched my heart. I had a lot of money in the account. All that stood between losing it now or not was a 4-digit PIN that any scam artist finding the card could succeed at in less than 24 hours. I ran to my bank nearby and first put my bank book in for updating. The icy fingers relaxed when I saw that no one but I had taken money out. Immediately I told the bank to make my PIN invalid and when the clerk asked to make a new replacement card, I said Yes although, actually, I have no real need for the card. Without it I can withdraw money during banking hours, and I have a top Visa card that delivers cash if I wish at a small interest rate. (Of course we all end up needing credit cards for various reasons of convenience but be sure you are part of that "we all".
    Postscript for readers in Japan: A few days later I got  a letter from the bank telling me they had run my lost bank card on the Tokyo Police lost and found internet and - Lo! - had located it at the local police station where it was brought after having been found on a subway train car where it had dropped from my overloaded pocket.  (Lesson: do not too immediately cancel money or credit cards after a misplacement)
Scroll Loss or Shift to Screen's Side Edge Loss on Computer:  You may sometimes not find an important instruction or application on your monitor screen. It could be at the very end of a scroll-down list because you mistakenly assume the bottom of the list is reached and neglect to try to continue to scroll down. Or the instruction may be on one side of the screen and hidden because the screen view overlaps your monitor size. 
   So if you cannot find an item on a screen list, make it a rule, in a vertical list, to be sure you have maximally scrolled down to bottom or check especially the right side of screen for an edge shift.

Shortchange is an art. James Michener’s novel The Fires of Spring gives delightful detail in its Part 2, “Paradise.” Every time you pay cash, visualize your being cheated by slight of hand or diverting attention. Also sometimes it can be an honest mistake. Best prevent by mentally estimating the bill you expect to pay while on cashier's line. When you hand a one-item cash bill for change, loudly announce its number and carefully count change while it is in front. Recently, I bought something and unthinkingly walked a few steps from the register before counting change and seeing it a dollar short. But it was too late because it became my word against another.


The Singling-Out Loss is when you unaccountably find something missing, eg, personal photos went missing. I noted it shortly after a major sorting out. I’d singled out the photos to send to friend. Always consider singling out for purpose and then forgetting you did it. Includes when you purposely store an object (like a passport) in a particular place because you consider it important and do not want to lose or misplace it, and then - later - you forget you stored it separately for the purpose and it goes missing. In such case, best to make a note about the special storing. Also when an important object goes unaccountably missing, consider this possibility and it will jog your memory.

Neglecting to check purchase, or actually leaving it behind: When you buy something, while at the counter, open the bag to see what you bought. With food it’s not uncommon for a 2nd hamburger or French-fry you paid for to not be included. And at any store, be alert to not forgetting to take the additional bag you just bought. Always get the receipt. Also be sure to always double- or triple-bag breakable goods like soda in bottle. Especially with heavy load a single layer plastic bag may tear a bottom as you walk on street and you bottled beverage cracks open on the pavement.
   Recently I suffered a variation of this loss. I bought a delicious lunch snack at a 7/11 store and then several foods at nearby grocer so that I was carrying several plastic bags of purchases. Finally I stopped by the supermarket to buy a dessert and inadvertently the bag with delicious lunch slipped from my finger and landed on the dessert counter. I had not noticed its slippage but did see the free bag lying on the counter and thought it was another shopper's purchase so I left the store and thereby lost my delicious lunch. A couple of lessons here: though obvious, do not carry many items in too many bags, try to single-bag them all together; but also be alert to unusual situations in a market where you see what looks like bagged food left behind, and at least check what is inside the bag. In my case I neglected to even look inside and just walked away with an incurious attitude. Always be curious and check: in the best case it may be someone's loss and your gain; in the worst case it was my loss.
End Notes; washing machine, drip,drip water, and trashcan throw-out-itis
1. Losing a button may be bad if it is one matching with others on your expensive designer suit. It happened to me once. I searched high and low. A month later, emptying my washing machine of just wash-machined items – Lo! - the sought-for designer button, lost during a machine cycle and unnoticed at its bottom! So, missing an important button or even cash? First and immediately look inside wash machine and check the pockets of the wet clothing in the machine. Also empty and look in vacuum cleaner floor dust container.
2. Somewhat similar is missing my eye-drop bottles. I looked high and low for days. Then, opening my refrigerator - Lo! - the eye drops, where I'd specially placed them against deterioration from warmth and then promptly forgot I did it.
3. Losing water because you did not stop the drip, drip, drip? Occasionally I inadvertently neglect to firmly tighten the stop-start turn-on water handle to my shower/bath, Once I lost more than 24 hours worth of pouring water. To prevent this loss, make a mental note of it and, if you have a system where you can switch the water tap to shower, make it rote to end your water-tap turn-off by flipping it off tap and onto shower. You can almost never miss a shower drip,drip,drip because the sound forces your attention; while on the other hand, sometime an open water tap is hard to hear.
4. Throw-out-itis is a weakness I (and maybe many others) have in which we throw out something too fast and then too late realize it is really valuable. For example, pages I had copied for reading that I did not realize I would want to reread later; or in another case, throwing out a can of old stuff from my closet without realizing that my mother had put silver quarter coins in it for storage. Or, more recently, losing my false teeth set because I unthinkingly piled it in my trashcan with dishes meant for cleaning and then forgot and it went out in the trash. The lesson is: Do everything slowly and carefully inspect and think about potentially valuable things you may be putting in your trash basket and/or throwing out as in the story about the mother throwing out the baby with the bathwater. 
    END OF CHAPTER . To read next now, click 1.10 Mistakes to Avoid: This Has Saved My Life Oft...





















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