Story By: Lisa-Maria Goertz, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This is the man who has spent the last 25 years selling lost items forgotten on airplanes ranging from prosthetic legs to watches.
The local entrepreneur, Aziz Korkmaz, buys the items after they have spent a year in a warehouse awaiting their owner to claim them and then sells them in his two shops in the district of Avcılar, in the northwest Turkish city and province of Istanbul.
According to national newspaper Bursada Bugun, Korkmaz says he has received anything from suitcases to antiques and even prosthetic teeth.
The items left on planes are reportedly kept in the lost property warehouse of the Turkish Airlines Luggage Services Management Directorate and are sold through tender if an application is not made within 1 year.
Korkmaz, who sells the items in two large shops located in a passage in Istanbul Avcılar, said: “We buy them from the state through a tender and offer them for sale. We started in 1995.”
The businessman explains how anything that people can carry on the planes they can also forget, adding: “For example, the man forgets his denture. When he forgets his bag, he forgets the denture in it. Everything that can be carried in the suitcase can be forgotten.
“Among the forgotten interesting items, prosthetic feet and legs are also found. You take a look at the forgotten suitcase and a prosthetic leg comes out. We evaluate them. For example, it has a market value of TRY 500 (GBP 49), we sell it for TRY 150 (GBP 15). We sell the dentures. If they want a prosthetic leg, we will sell that to them too.”
Kokrkmaz says they have often even found soiled nappies and food leftovers from one year before and often owners follow them on social media and come back to retrieve their things directly from the shop.
He said: “Those who lost their belongings on the plane sometimes come to us. For example, if he forgot it a month ago, he will come to us at least 1 year later.
“We keep the photographs from the suitcases. Someone came from Tekirdag recently. We took out what we had, and they took their photographs back.
Besides watches forgotten during the security check, we have a large number of mobile phones, laptops, tablets. Some of them leave their luggage or bags in order not to pay an additional charge to the luggage.
Korkmaz went on to describe all the other items in his shop, saying “There is a very old gramophone in our workplace, a radio turntable of at least 50-60 years, a 100-year-old foot-operated sewing machine wherever you look, very old records, radios, paddles, clothes, shoes, hats, strollers for all sizes and ages.
“It takes time to get back the money we invested. It has become a hobby of a sort.”
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