Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Uncertain Security

There's this weird phenomenon that goes on in the law school library. No, I'm not referring to studying. I'm talking about laptop-watching. You're sitting at a table with a complete stranger; this person is clearly a fellow law student, but you've never seen her before in your life. As she gets up to go to the bathroom, she says, "Would you mind watching my stuff?" And you smile, nod affirmatively, and then dutifully keep half an eyeball on her laptop.

Every time I do this (and I've been on the other side too), I shake my head. Why would a stranger care about your stuff? But personally, I can't help myself: if someone puts her most valuable possession under my watch, I gotta respect that responsibility.


jp flanigan said...

I've never heard anyone say NO to this request. I love it. I wish it could happen in more places. Like say at a bank:

"do you mind holding my money, i gotta go make a phone call"

Sansserif said...


"Do you mind watching my baby while I grab a coffee?"

"Do you mind sitting in my car while I run into the store?"

Lawyerlike said...

I do it, but I hate when they abuse the privilege. Case in point: the Frankfurt airport, guy asks me to watch his luggage (yes, the TSA would hate me) while he goes away. When he returns after an extended absence I say, did you find the bathroom?

He says: Oh, no, I was just doing some shopping. And proudly displays a bag of candy.

Metheus said...

that is an interesting, completely acceptable piece of law school society. in my 1L year a friend of mine would do that all the time, so i started putting up inappropriate pictures as her computer wallpaper. she couldn't figure out how to change the picture for a long enough period that she appeared pissed and perverted. and, yes, i do operate at a 15 year old maturity level :-)

Citations said...

It's a bailment! Voluntary or involuntary? Well, if she asks you to watch it and you agree, there you go. But I'm guessing you don't deal with laptops (selling them) in the ordinary course of business, so you probably can't sell it and pocket the proceeds.

Yeah, we do this all the time. I've even seen people do it at a public coffee shop. Heck, I've done it at a public coffee shop.

Sansserif said...

Bailment, nice!

Human nature is a strange and wonderful thing.