Unclaimed Baggage Center Receives Over 7,000 Items Daily
Unclaimed baggage and other items are left on major airlines, trains, buses, and taxis. Some of those items end up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, where they are sold at deep discounts. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has received national attention over its 30 years, and it was back in the news this week on the Today show.
NBC reported that the Unclaimed Baggage Center covers more than a city block. The main store has over 40,000 square feet of floor space. Another building, located next to the main store, offers three stories of children’s merchandise, household goods, beauty supplies, as well as special clearance deals in their Last Chance department.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center is visited by over a million customers every year to browse through some of the 7,000 items added each day.
Brenda Cantrell, brand ambassador for the Unclaimed Baggage Center, explains what happens with people’s lost luggage and other items.
“We actually buy unclaimed baggage from planes, trains, and automobiles, sight unseen. We have no idea what’s in the bags when we purchase them. Visitors are drawn here from down the street and all over the world.”
Many of the items are brand new with the store tags still attached, such as clothing, books, and household items. The electronics department has more items than the average electronics store. Last year, the Unclaimed Baggage Center sold 3,400 iPads. They also sell iPhones, headphones, cameras, laptops, cases, covers, tripods, and chargers that people have left behind.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center says it cannot return items to owners because it has exclusive contracts with carriers to buy the items after the airlines and other companies have settled claims with customers. Therefore, the items no longer belong to the customers.
By the time Unclaimed Baggage has purchased the luggage, every effort has been made by the airlines over a three-to-four month period to return it to its owner. After this point, claims have been paid out, and the items are sent with no identifying information to Unclaimed Baggage to be repurposed or sold.
“Sometimes, lost bags and other belongings instead are left behind come from beaches, ski resorts, and big theme parks, such as Disneyland.”
Not everything sent to Unclaimed Baggage is suitable for sale in the store. Items not sold to the public are either repurposed or discarded. They are given to local and national charities around the world. Millions of dollars of clothing, eyeglasses, medical supplies, and other useful items are refurbished and donated to those in need each year through their Reclaimed For Good program.
The Today show displayed a $4,000 bracelet that the Unclaimed Baggage Center was selling for $2,000. One might feel sorry for the original owner, but keep in mind that the owner probably has already been compensated for the lost bracelet through the airline and her insurance company.
Have you ever lost a valuable item on an airline, train, bus, or taxi? If so, know that your lost item probably ended up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in the small town of Scottsboro, Alabama, where it found a new home.
[Image via Unclaimed Baggage Center]