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One for Nancy Drew or Nero Wolfe

Brief by Central Staff

Tourism – July 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

We were talking with a local restaurant owner, who need not be named here, and he said he was mystified by the comings and goings among his flatware (the knives and spoons and forks that most of us call “silverware,” but since it’s seldom made of silver, it’s really flatware).

Every May, some disappears, and since this restaurateur used to run the river, “I’m pretty sure it goes into some boatman apartments or campsites.”

But through the year, “I’ll find whole settings that aren’t ours. I can understand why people might forget a baby spoon — we end up with a few of those — but I can’t figure out why people would bring flatware to a restaurant and leave it there, and that’s the only possible explanation.”

Perhaps conscious-stricken thieves decide to return their plunder, but take it to the wrong place?

“That’s the most likely possibility,” he agreed, “but it sure complicates our work, trying to make sure the implements match when we set tables. These pieces doubtless belong in another restaurant, but I don’t know which one, and other places probably have some of ours and don’t know where it belongs.”

Stamping the restaurant’s name on the flatware would solve that problem, but it also increases the probability of theft, since a generic fork becomes a distinctive souvenir once it gets an identification with a place.

So, there doesn’t appear to be an easy solution, and the reasons for the arrival of new flatware are shrouded in mystery.