So THAT'S where it went...
January 30, 2006 11:45 PM   Subscribe

Unclaimed Baggage Center is where lost luggage goes to die...and then live again. This huge warehouse buys the stuff we leave behind by the truckload, unpacks it, and then sells it to the public in an ongoing junk sale. Items range from the mundane to the merely puzzling to the somewhat disturbing (this was found ON AN AIRPLANE, for Chrissakes.) The online store cannot compare to shopping there in person. And yes, it is located in THAT Scottsboro.
posted by BitterOldPunk (32 comments total)
My wife and I were in Alabama in November, and we -nearly- made this place the one side trip away from visiting family. Unfortunately, we chose to go to Atlanta instead and that really sucked. I'm sure the unclaimed baggage center would have been a lot more fun.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:52 PM on January 30, 2006

I try to go yearly. It's actually a great place to pick up camera equipment on the cheap. And the crowds it draws make for good people-watching.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:55 PM on January 30, 2006

Great, the airlines actually have a profit incentive to lose your luggage?

Just FYI, when the airlines lose your luggage, one of the things they do is ask you to desecribe some identifying objects in the bag (they do this in part to start limiting their compensation to you, under the argument that most people will identify expensive items in their suitcase first).

When they ask, tell them "oh, hard to tell - somewhere between, oh, maybe one or two kilos of cocaine". Guarantee they'll find it toute suite now that the police are involved.
posted by Davenhill at 11:59 PM on January 30, 2006

Hey! That's my falconry book! Bastards.
posted by brundlefly at 12:08 AM on January 31, 2006

Why is it disturbing that a knife was found in lost, checked luggage? We're not talking carry-ons here.
posted by nightchrome at 12:58 AM on January 31, 2006

At a glance, the prices are otrageously HIGH for used stuff.
posted by elpapacito at 2:06 AM on January 31, 2006

I was just about to say the same thing. Those prices suck. It's like airport giftshop prices for thriftstore grade goods.

The "as is" broken stuff in the electronics department is ebay competitive for parts, but even then it's pretty damn iffy you'll get the parts you want as the descriptions suck.
posted by loquacious at 2:09 AM on January 31, 2006

Is this where I get to complain about the sucky design of the site? Brown-on-brown menubars? C'mon.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:43 AM on January 31, 2006

Buying seized knives on ebay is much more of a bargain. Although I guess their inventory of scissors and such is going to be depleted with their new more lax policy.

(I can't find the auctions at the moment, but they sell stuff by the pound.)
posted by smackfu at 6:12 AM on January 31, 2006

I was also suprised by the high prices. I love this kind of store, though, and I'm glad to know where this one is now.
posted by OmieWise at 6:24 AM on January 31, 2006

Cheap? Bargain? This used stuff all has new or near-new prices!
posted by rolypolyman at 6:42 AM on January 31, 2006

It's amazing how often people apparently travel with broken cameras and computers.
posted by Witty at 6:48 AM on January 31, 2006

Why would the knife be disturbing at all?
People are allowed to check their handguns/rifles and their ammo (which is another reason that metal detecting baggage handlers is stupid as a terrorism prevention method).
posted by Iax at 6:56 AM on January 31, 2006

Great, the airlines actually have a profit incentive to lose your luggage?

Yes, but it's significantly less troublesome than the profit incentive they have to confiscate your property.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:13 AM on January 31, 2006

Great, the airlines actually have a profit incentive to lose your luggage?

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised by this!
posted by agregoli at 7:16 AM on January 31, 2006

"THAT Scottsboro"?

Which Scottsboro is THAT one?
posted by Jesse H Christ at 7:30 AM on January 31, 2006

I'm not sure I get the "THAT Scottsboro" reference.

Terrible prices.

I'm also baffled at the rate of luggage loss. How can it be that difficult? Every bag has a tag with both text and barcodes.

They only have to move it around a terminal and one vehicle (plane). Your luggage is generally never more than a mile away from you. How does it get "lost"?

UPS and FedEx loose very few packages, which are processed through at least a couple of sorting facilities and sometimes several vehicles.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:32 AM on January 31, 2006

Its always annoyed me that there's only one location for this sorta thing. I demand regional branches.
posted by Atreides at 7:53 AM on January 31, 2006

Hard to believe this hasn't been linked before. It made the net/tv/radio rounds years ago.

That said, I've been a couple of times. If you haven't been, you're not missing much.
posted by justgary at 7:57 AM on January 31, 2006

I knew I'd get snarked for pointing to that damn buck knife.

*shakes it off*

This is THAT Scottsboro.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:00 AM on January 31, 2006

I agree that the prices weren't much of a bargain. The stuff they're selling is yard-sale quality stuff, but at almost full retail. It is a great place to watch people, but as a bargain center my wife and I were quite disappointed.
posted by darren at 8:05 AM on January 31, 2006

No way man, I used to find all sorts of great stuff there at dirt cheap prices!

Cameras, designer clothes... you name it. Lots of stuff still had tags on it. Plus there was the weird stuff, green tea toothpaste, electronics... for a boy in the Tennessee hills it was a great place to go!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:17 AM on January 31, 2006

Oh SHIT! There is a small fixed blade and a folder in a luggage compartment! Vector F-15s to intercept!
posted by c13 at 9:32 AM on January 31, 2006

Cher's panties?
posted by Smedleyman at 11:01 AM on January 31, 2006

And yes, it is located in THAT Scottsboro.

I'm also curious why you made this reference.
posted by jca at 11:07 AM on January 31, 2006

But did you see the inscription on that knife?

Don't go breakin' my heart,
love, Ayman al-Zawahiri"
posted by mazola at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2006

It's lost and UNCLAIMED baggage, folks. You'd be surprised at how many people refuse to claim their luggage. During my gig with a ground handling company in Seattle (SeaTac Airport) we'd run across this all the time. We'd go through a lot of effort to contact the owners of the luggage. We'd leave voicemails that would never be returned. We'd send letters that would never be answered. We'd deal with the airlines (Sun Country was very helpful) and try to contact any passengers that filled out lost baggage claims.

Most of the time the stuff would simply go to charity or a local woman's shelter. We heard that a lot of people don't claim their stuff because they want to try to sue the airlines for a profit instead.
posted by drstein at 11:19 AM on January 31, 2006

At a glance, the prices are outrageously HIGH for used stuff

Actually that's a good price for Classical Falconry. You could buy it and double your money, it looks like.
posted by beagle at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2006

Since when was a knife in checked baggage disturbing? I'm more disturbed by this, I mean ick.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:18 PM on January 31, 2006

posted by deborah at 1:51 PM on January 31, 2006

A good rule of thumb for travelling is to take a picture of your luggage open for just the instance where they lose it.

And the site is annoyingly bad, just give me a damned link to the auctions, I don't care about your press coverage in the least.
posted by fenriq at 2:01 PM on January 31, 2006

So what do they do with all the sex toys they find in this lost and unclaimed luggage? You can't tell me that they haven't found any. Hell, the number of times where I've been going through security and seen the x-rays of other people's toys is at least up to count-on-two-hands numbers now. :)
posted by antifuse at 1:17 AM on February 3, 2006

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