February 21, 2013 at 3:14 pm
by Christina Tynan-Wood
My son is a notorious loser of things. And as he gets older, the things he owns and could potentially lose get more expensive: Cell phones, tablets, computers, high-priced text books.
My husband isn’t much better at keeping track of his keys or wallet. And, though I never have, I would hate to lose my purse.
So we all plaster our gear – and our luggage and pets — with QR codes printed on metal tags or weatherproof stickers. If someone finds something we have lost, they can scan that bar-code like image with their smart phone (Or enter a code online) and go directly to a Web site with information we provided. We can offer a reward for returning the item, or just provide a phone number and thanks to make it easy for the finder to reconnect us with our stuff.
QR codes have a couple of advantages over just writing a name and number on something. When someone scans your code, you go online and see on a map where they are. (Great if you lost your luggage.) And you can update your contact information — even after you’ve lost your stuff.
So if you are traveling and lose your cell phone (and that phone has a QR-code sticker on it), go online and add the hotel you are staying in, a phone number where you can be reached now, or an appeal to the finder to return it for a reward. And you can do this even if you have password-protected your phone so no one can look at your contact information – or if the phone battery is dead.
These things are like the label-sewn-into-underwear for everything you own. And they are easy to use. Just buy pre-printed stickers and tags, go online to register them, add your contact information, and stick them to your stuff.
Here are a few options.
Go online to buy a package ($25 each) designed for pets, kids, electronics, luggage, and other things people tend to lose. You’ll get an assortment of stickers and metal tags with QR codes printed on them. Then download the smart phone app (or log on from your computer) to register your stickers and metal tags as you attach them to your goods.
This works much like FinderCodes – with a wide range of choices in tags and stickers – but it also lets you use the codes for more than finding lost object. You can link your QR code to your online resume (print that code on your business card), events (put that code on the invitation), profiles that include photos (great for students who lose things in class; the finder can just hand you your phone), or use the tags to keep track of information about objects, such as the VIN number, insurance, and registration for your car or boat.
These tags ($13 and up) are for pets only. They have a cute image – bone, heart, paw print, etc. – on one side and a QR code on the other. You create an online profile for you and your pet that helps anyone who has found him to locate you and return him to you. No matter how often you change your address or contact info – or take your pet on vacation, this tag will keep up with you. Just log on to update it.