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Lost Samples and Sample Gifts

Sometimes samples get lost; sometimes you give them to editors. Here's how to account for these in Sparkle.


Sometimes samples get lost; sometimes you make them a gift to a helpful editor. Sparkle can now account for these situations properly -- giving you a fully accurate record of what happened to each sample.

Lost samples

If a sample gets lost, go to its Details page and click the "This sample is lost..." link at the bottom of the page. You'll then get a box where you can write some notes about the loss if you want. Finally, click the "Mark this sample as lost" button.

Lost sample

Note you can only do this for samples that are available or checked out.

If the sample turns up -- hooray! -- go the Details page again and click the "This sample has been found" button.

Naturally you can see when a sample has been lost (and found) on the its history page.

Once a sample is lost, Sparkle doesn't expect it back any more. It no longer appears when you search for samples to check out, nor in the Late samples report on the Dashboard.

Sample gifts

There are two ways to tell Sparkle that a sample is a gift.

If you know a sample is gift when you check it out, you can simply tick the Gift? checkbox on the page where you add samples to a story.

Alternatively, if you decide later on that a checked-out sample should be a gift, you can:

  • Either go to the sample's Details page and click the "This sample is a gift" button;
  • Or edit the story (follow the "Change this delivery note" link on the delivery note page) and tick the checkbox as described above.

Once a sample is a gift, Sparkle doesn't expect it back any more.

How Sparkle handles lost and gifted samples

Delivery notes separate their samples as follows (where appropriate):

  • Samples you want back
  • Samples which have already been sent back
  • Samples which are gifts (and you don't expect back)
  • Samples which are returns to the client (and not expected back)

This happens both on the main delivery note page and on emailed delivery notes. Reminder emails always show an up-to-date delivery note, so it's clear to the recipient which samples they still haven't given back yet.

Each collection's Manage Samples page shows the number of samples, broken down by sample state. For example: "47 samples (0 in, 9 out, 1 lost, 2 gifted, 35 returned to client)". The Stock Report does this too.

Finally, the Dashboard reports don't expect lost or gifted samples to be sent back to you by your journalists.

The sample lifecycle

Like a caterpillar metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly, samples go through a number of stages in their lifecycle. First you receive them from your clients. They get sent out to journalists, and sent back -- hopefully many times -- and finally they are returned to the clients they came from. Along the way they might get lost, or be gifted.

Sparkle handles all these events properly, keeping a complete history so you always know what has happened to each sample.

I think Sparkle has the full sample lifecycle covered...but if there's any event I have missed (e.g. spontaneous combustion, hijacking, etc) let me know.

Handling lost and gifted samples has been a popular request from our customers. It's live in your account now, so enjoy!