Gee Whiz Job: Grab-Bag Retailing

“Funny, I Feel Like I’ve Left Something Behind…” More than 810 million air travelers took off and landed somewhere in the USA during 2008, from all around the world, on 10.7 million flights. That’s a lot of baggage, and one humongous lost and found room. Where do orphaned suitcases and their contents go?

Enter Unclaimed Baggage, based in Scottsboro, Alabama. These smart folks buy left-behind luggage, unclaimed after 90 days of intensive back-tracking to find owners, and re-launch the goods into the retail world, as one-of-a-kind buys for creative shoppers. Over 1 million items pass in and out of Unclaimed Baggage’s store, which I imagine resembles a very well-organized rummage sale without the funny smells. There’s even a concierge … go ahead, check to see if your AWOL bag of Tijuana treasures ended up there!

“Oh, I Dunno What I Want… Just Buy Me Something…” Recapture that lost thrill of reaching into a grab bag and pulling out… Something. Or satisfy that vague yen for Something new and different. The brains behind the online retailer SomethingStore have reduced the retail transaction down to the lowest common denominator: You, $10. Me, thing. We, trade. That’s it. I’m trying to imagine what their inventory control system must look like, or if I could make heads or tails out of their POS data reports. Oh, well. Pay the 10 bucks, sit back and wait for Something to arrive. I think I will try this out, and let you know what I get.

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