Have you ever wondered where lost bags go to? Is there a black hole where lost luggage turn up in an alternate universe or a different world? Well, actually, there is a place where unclaimed baggage end up, and it’s not in Oz. It’s called the Unclaimed Baggage Center, and it’s located in Scottsboro, Alabama. It’s a great bargain center for treasure hunters or serious shoppers in search of the unique and the original.
According to their website, the items sold in the store come from the airlines, which declare baggage as unclaimed after at least 90 days of intensive tracking. Chances are, these are bags with torn or lost tags, or bags which the owners have accepted compensation for (in which case, they’ll lose all claim to the contents). The Unclaimed Baggage Center is the only one of its kind that sells unclaimed baggage in the U.S. Its concept started in 1970, by founder Doyle Owens, with 300 dollars and a used pick up truck. The UBC now occupies a 40,000 sq. ft. building, a retail store that covers more than a city block.
Over one million items pass through the store annually, with over 7,000 items stocked on the shelves daily. According to UBC’s website, about 60% of the merchandise is clothing, with the rest being cameras, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, designer optical, books and of course, luggage. For those squeamish about buying used clothing, UBC assures that every item is washed, pressed, and repaired before it reaches the floor.
UBC also has expert buyers to assess the value and market price of the items. They price merchandise anywhere from 20-80% off the retail value. Who wouldn’t want to shop for such great bargains?! And you never know what you’ll find! One lady bought a Barbie doll for her daughter, that turned out to have $500 hidden inside the head. A diamond solitaire set in platinum with 5.8 carats was found hidden inside a suitcase. And a F16 guidance system valued at a quarter of a million dollars (` a F16 guidance system valued at a quarter of a million dollars(!) showed up in UBC! Now that’s real treasure-hunting!