Monday, September 24, 2007

Paradise Lost and Found

For Scottsboro boys and girls, or anyone else who likes to hunt for bargains:

The building is situated on the edge of the sleepy town of Scottsboro in Alabama.
It does not seem like the kind of place that would attract a million visitors a year, but bargain hunters from around the world converge on the centre every day, eager to see what treasures the Unclaimed Baggage Center has uncovered.

It is a company that buys all the lost and unclaimed luggage from airlines across the US and then sells on everything from clothes to expensive jewellery at discount prices.

"When they come in, we always tell people to plan a few hours to go on their treasure hunt," says Brenda Cantrell, the centre's marketing manager.

"Dig through it, have fun with it, you never know what you might find."

....One woman discovered $1,000 (£500) hidden in the lining of a case she bought for pocket change, while another found out that the glass vase she had bought as a trinket was actually worth a small fortune.

"I was here Friday, Saturday, yesterday and today and I'll probably come back tomorrow," says Abby Gentry-Benson, who is festooned with diamonds, silver and gold jewellery all purchased at the Unclaimed Baggage Center.

Abby, who describes herself as a Chanel No. 5 girl, has been coming to the warehouse for more than 30 years and bought most of her jewellery for around half-price.

....The Unclaimed Baggage Center started down the road in a shack, when the founder began the business by buying lost luggage from the Greyhound Bus Company.

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