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How Far Would You Go To Find A Lost Ring?

November 11, 2011 · 160 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

Today I was at a Wendy’s restaurant for a quick lunch with my daughter.  We ate our lunch, I tossed out the garbage on the tray, and we headed for our car.

When I got to the car, I couldn’t find my keys.

I was horrified at the thought that my keys may have been on the tray next to my leftover fries that were just dumped in the garbage. The image of pulling out that disgusting garbage can inside the restaurant and sorting through it to find my keys made my heart race. Fortunately, the keys were nestled at the bottom of my purse, and I was only briefly terrified.

I then came home and read a story on Foxnews about how a Florida man accidentally threw out his pregnant wife’s engagement ring, which he somehow picked up when he threw out his used razor.   The problem was, they didn’t realize the ring was missing until it was too late- the garbage had already made its way to the city dump.

The wife was reduced to tears and the husband was reduced to….. digging through the dump to find his wife’s ring

With the help from the waste management company who provided protective clothing and guidance as to where the ring might be located, the man started searching through the dump.  The section where his garbage was dumped was reportedly 10 feet high, and full of everything unpleasant.  However, as you would think only would happen in the movies, the husband emerged with the $10,000 engagement ring after only 30 minutes of digging.   I cannot believe how lucky he was to find the ring so quickly.  (And also how unlucky he was to throw it out in the first place.)  Think about it, since the ring was worth $10,000, he earned a $20,000 hourly wage by digging through the landfill!

So, my question to you is this:  Had you been the husband in this situation, would you have gone to the dump to find the ring?  Or, would you have considered it a ‘sunk cost’ and bought a new ring?


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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

retirebyforty@retireby40.org November 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

For a $10,000, I would work on it for a few days. That guy is really lucky, but people really spend $10,000 on a wedding ring??? My gold band, on the other hand, cost less than $300 and I can buy a new one without Mrs. RB40 noticing the difference….


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

I believe my husband’s gold band was $225, but that was back in 1990. Mine was around a thousand I think. Mine has more sentimental value than anything I suppose.


Roshawn @ Watson Inc November 11, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Wow, he was super fortunate. Hopefully, it was insured regardless. I certainly would be horrified if that happened to me and even more miserable if it wasn’t without covered.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

He was incredibly fortunate indeed. I wonder though, does the wife look at it every time she wears and think “this used to be in a dump..”?


UltimateSmartMoney November 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I have a friend who was driving to their parents house when they had a flat tire. After changing the tire and arrived at their parents house, his wife realized her wedding ring was missing. It was well over $10,000. They thought for a second and realized the ring might had come off when they were changing the tire. So they drove back to the place but the problem was they were not sure exact place where they stopped on 95. The ended up searching by feet covering what must have been like 0.5-1 mile span. The police came and ended up helping them find the ring too. After several hours of searching, they ended up finding it. It turned out to be a great story to share but I’m sure it wasn’t funny as it happened.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oh my gosh, that is amazing. I am surprised that it didn’t get swept away from the wind force created by semi trucks and such. Hopefully it hadn’t been run over or anything.


krantcents November 11, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I think I would try to find it, but the ring is insured! I could just put in a claim.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

Lets hope you never have to find out! 🙂


Ashley @ Money Talks November 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Yipes… I’d say I would not dig through the landfill. In fact, I’m surprised they let him. He probably found it quick when he recognized his own trash. lol. Hey this is my brand of toothpaste, and my brand of razor… yep! There’s her ring!


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:05 am

Ashley, the funny thing is, it wasn’t even in a bag, but in between two bags. He just caught that little glint of gold and got INCREDIBLY lucky.

I don’t know what I would have done in that situation. If I couldn’t get the money back from insurance, my husband and I would probably both suit up and go look around.


Crystal November 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm

First, I would hopefully never own a $10,000 ring cause that would be stressful. BUT, if I accidentally threw something away that meant alot to me, I would even dig through landfill trash to find it. I am so glad he found it!


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

Crystal, I can totally picture you in a hazmat suit, digging through the trast to find that ring. (Just as much for sentimental reasons as financial.)


YFS November 12, 2011 at 12:30 am

I probably would have looked for roughly an hour at the dump. Then called my insurance in to cover a replacement ring.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:03 am

It would be a tough decision. I think it would be depend on how easy it was to locate ‘your garbage’. Apparently it wasn’t even in a bag, but nestled between a couple of bags in the dump. He got incredibly lucky.


Sandy H @ Journey To Our Home November 12, 2011 at 9:19 am

Wow- this is amazing! $10,000 engagement ring- I’d be trying to find that baby. Of course I own a $40 wedding band that I don’t even wear. I’m always amazed at how much people spend on rings (and a lot of people are amazed I’m married since I don’t wear a ring.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:02 am

I don’t wear my ring either as I get a rash from gold. I guess a lot depends on if it was insured or not, and how easy it is to collect that insurance.


101 Centavos November 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

I think I would have dug for a great long while to find it. Ten thousand bucks is ten thousand bucks. Not to mention the bad karma of starting off a marriage on that note.


Kris November 15, 2011 at 9:01 am

It just seems so overwhelming to find something so small in an area so big. I guess you would probably want to give it an earnest effort just so you can say you did!


Husband of Everyday Tips November 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

I was on a field trip when our youngest was still a little guy. We were at an apple orchard in the fall and it was wet and muddy. As I trudged through the mud, I saw a faint gold glint in the mud where a tractor had just driven through. Sure enough, it was a wedding ring. I turned it into the farmers and I hope the owner got it back – it could just as likely been buried forever in the mud!


Kris November 15, 2011 at 8:58 am

Nice story! I too wonder if the rightful owner ever got their ring back. I guess we will never know…


Daniel November 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

My fiancee’s engagement ring is worth over $10,000, but that’s exactly what I got it insured. With large purchases you better make sure you can’t just lose it!

I used to work for a diamond store and one day a man walked in with a $40,000 ring that he found in a parking garage. He knew it came from out store and tried to return it. It took about a week before we matched up the ring with its owner, who couldn’t have been happier to get that ring back!


Kris November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

That is a nice ring you bought Daniel! So would you have dug through the dump or just called the insurance company? I wonder how you prove that it is really lost and that you didn’t just hide it somewhere?

That man that returned the 40k ring deserved a huge reward. What a generous man.


Invest It Wisely November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Good lord, that guy must have felt so elated when he found the ring! The thought of something like that happening is a nightmare…


Kris November 15, 2011 at 8:53 am

Especially since his wife was pregnant, might have made the situation a little more stressful!


Squirrelers November 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I’d be out there digging through the trash, in order to recover the treasure. Kind of like a squirrel trying to find a nut 🙂 Put it this way, it’s either find the ring or shell out another $10,000. It’s worth one day to try to save that money. Not many regular folks make that kind of money in a day, let alone week.

Plus, aside from the money part, he might never hear the end of it either if he doesn’t look. Rather, he’ll win back a few points for looking, and could be the hero for finding it 🙂


Shelly Slader July 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Wow, that is impressive! I once dug through a garbage dump in Toronto to find an earring that somehow had been thrown away. I don’t think I would have ever gone to the actual city dump, though! 10 ft of garbage! Yuck!


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