Bon Voyage

When Airlines Lose Your Luggage, It Ends Up Being Sold in Alabama

unclaimed baggage center
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* After 90 days, this retailer buys and sells lost luggage
* Discounts are offered up to 80 percent off MSRP
* It’s becoming a tourist attraction

If an airline has ever lost your luggage, never to retrieve it, it may very well have ended up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a brick-and-mortar store that sells the contents of bags that haven’t been claimed in 90 days.

“The lost bags arrive by the tractor-trailer load at our processing facility to be sorted and priced,” explains their website. “Clothes are dry-cleaned and laundered at our in-house facility, the largest in Alabama. Fine jewelry is cleaned and appraised. Electronic equipment is tested and cleared of personal data.” The merchandise is then sold for 20 to 80 percent off suggested retail.

The store has become a beacon for bargain shoppers in the northeast corner of the state. A recent shopper found a Bulova watch, for example, for only $4.00.

The store is so popular that one million tourists come through its doors annually, a huge number considering the sleepy town only has 15,000 inhabitants. As for how to navigate the store: a Plan Your Visit section of the website explains the services of personal shoppers, who provide “a personalized ninety-minute session… to build a style profile just for you and help you shop the best of Unclaimed Baggage’s clothing and accessories.”

Can’t take all the bargains home with you in one go? The Unclaimed Baggage Center also offers a shipping service. Let’s just hope your new purchases don’t get lost in transit.