Deals take flight: Alabama’s huge unclaimed luggage secondhand store

unclaimed baggage center
Whoops, all those nude selfies are now for sale at a thrift store warehouse. via Facebook

Air travel, despite being a miracle, is up there as a terrible way to get around. What’s worse than air travel though? Realizing that you left something on board by the time you get to where you’re staying, or learning that your luggage has vanished in the ether. Where did your lost iPad or suitcase go, though, if not back to you? There’s a decent chance that it’s at the Unclaimed Luggage Center, an enormous secondhand store in Alabama stocked entirely with lost and unclaimed airplane luggage. And here we were impressed with our fancy Lower East Side Ecology Center.

The New York Times profiled the Unclaimed Luggage Center, a  40,000-square foot warehouse in Scottsboro, Alabama that takes in 7,000 items of lost luggage per day and resells it to shoppers eager for bargains on iPads, headphones and uh, suits of armor. The warehouse gets all sorts of crap that gets misplaced by airlines, people accidentally leave behind or just don’t want, hence the weird mix of things like wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and tribal breastplates mixed in with iPads that people leave in seat-backs and crappy headphones they just decide not to take any further than the airplane door. All of the lost luggage is sold for less than you’d find it somewhere else, like a deal the Times witnessed where someone got two iPads for $625.

The good news for you, if this has made you paranoid about airlines plotting to sell your stuff, is that airlines have to wait 90 days before dropping your stuff off in the Scottsboro warehouse. So you don’t have to feel any more paranoid than usual about getting on an airplane. Still, given that it’s getting close to Christmas and you need to take the deals where you find them, is anyone else thinking about a road trip?

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