Couple years ago in Stowe someone took my poles, which had left leaning near the door of the lodge that's under the gondola. Now,these are crappy cheap aluminum poles, and one of the baskets has a piece taken out of it. But they left me their even worse, mismatched pair.
So I walked around the racks and found my poles and took them back, and left them their mismatched poles.
When my wife and I got on the gondola a couple rides later there was an older (60'ish) man and woman riding with us...and I see he has those nice mismatched poles. So I whispered to my wife about the poles, and then we start talking very clearly and out loud saying that I am shocked that someone tried to steal my poles, who would do such a thing, I'm glad I got my poles back...etc. The other couple was stone silent the whole ride up.
We got a good laugh out of it. To be (somewhat) fair, I did leave my poles with my wife's near the door - without skis - so he might have thought they were abandoned.