Purchasing lost luggage at airports to unpack on YouTube (german) now seems to have become a thing. Judging by the amount of advertising, the voyeurs of this world enjoy watching these kinds of videos. (Perhaps others would associate voyeurism with something else, I for me would consider watching other people opening the luggage of third parties to be voyeurism.)
1) The video above is a random example and I am not affiliated with nor in any other way connected to the people who made that video.
2) I am not criticising/blaming/finger-pointing anyone for making such videos nor for watching these videos, I merely wish to draw attention to the fact that people don’t lose their luggage for their personal enjoyment nor for the profit or enjoyment of others.
I question the morality of an activity that I personal find immoral and repulsive. Losing luggage can be quite dramatic and psychologically damaging depending on the contents. The thought of having that content paraded on YouTube would for anyone make for sleepless nights.
It seems that airports have a real issue with lost luggage. Since Covid, it appears airports have been struggling to handle the quantities of luggage. I personally know of one airport (not mentioning any names here) which has an entire hanger full of lost luggage. They don’t scan the baggage tags and they don’t notify the passengers that their luggage has arrived. Instead a passenger may (provided they have the correct documentation) enter the hanger and search for their luggage, and this they do on their own whim: they aren’t notified, they have to go to the airport and search by themselves.
Since they don’t get notified by the airport, there are quite a few people who never actually realise that their luggage has arrived and is waiting for them, having made the assumption that the airport will notify them upon the arrival of their lost luggage.
In addition, finding your luggage in a hanger full with other peoples baggage is a non-trivial task. So even if people do turn up at the airport requesting their luggage, they might well be overwhelmed by the sight of a hanger full of lost luggage.
Of course, I assume this is not the case for the majority of airports. I have heard of one major airport (as described above) and have heard of rumours that other airports have similar issues. Optimistically I make the assumption that not all airports have these issues nor deal with lost luggage in the same manner.
I have not viewed any videos on YouTube (not even the one linked in this article) and perhaps all people posting these video avoid personal items, I do not know. However if you imagine that someone on YouTube opens your bag and finds your dirty underwear or your personal sexual aids or your holiday gifts for those distant relations or whatever else you placed in that bag, how would you feel about it?
I know of at least one person who has a psychological fear of having her lost bag being opened by a stranger. I just hope this person has not yet discovered that people film this and put it up on YouTube.
Laws reflect the moral norms of society. Moral: Thou shalt not murder, hence laws against killing. Moral: Thou shalt not steal, hence laws against robbery. However the authors of the Bible didn’t envision airports and lost luggage, else: Thou shalt not open others peoples luggage might have made into the top-ten commandments.
Perhaps the closest moral precedent is do onto others as you would have them do to you. Of course, if you have no problem with having you dirty underwear going viral on YouTube, then this does not apply to you.
Legally this is perfectly ok thing to be doing. The airport waits for the passengers to turn up, if within a year, no one comes, the airport sells the bags to the highest bidder, who then becomes the new owner: lock, stock and barrel.
Now why does the airport not simply scan the baggage tag and inform the passengers? All these bags have baggage tags and a single scan would identify the owner. The airport I know of simply has not got the stuff to do that. I also don’t know which university degree one requires to operate a scanning device however, from my experience, scanning barcodes with a scanner isn’t rocket science, it can actually be a very meditative task.
My take is that this is an immoral activity. Morals for me being the misty grey zone between the respect for the family unit (would you open the luggage of your grandmother and parade her underwear on YouTube?) and the laws of society (the privilege to open and examining other peoples luggage, once paid for, is a perfectly legal activity).
Morals are personal and individual however provide the societal glue ensuring that a surveillance state remains unnecessary, and for me, opening third party luggage on YouTube is not societally beneficial.
To anyone intending to do this or anyone watching these types of videos, ask yourself how you would feel if it were your luggage?
For creators: sure you might be able to finance your next holiday from the advertising revenue, however I just hope you don’t lose your luggage.
[Part of the Taboo Tiles series.]