The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama is where items left behind on planes, at airports or lost in transit go to find new homes. It’s also a Christmas shopping wonderland. Nonetheless, this is the most unusual place I’ve ever gone Christmas shopping.
An Unusual Christmas Shopping Experience
Suffice to say shopping here is hit-or-miss but there are treasures to be found. You just need a little time and a keen eye for a bargain.
I start my adventure by grabbing a shopping cart and making a plan. However, I quickly realize it’s more about browsing the aisles to see what treasures are waiting. In fact, I toss my original strategy and decide if I see something I might even slightly consider buying I’ll put it in my cart.
At the Unclaimed Baggage Center if you snooze you lose. Put it in the cart even if you’re pretty sure you won’t buy it because it may not be there if you change your mind. Better to put it back later than be disappointed.
You Never Know What You’ll Find
Coats, sweaters, jewelry, strollers, ski equipment, golf clubs, kids toys, clothing, books, scarves, sporting gear – you name it they’ve got it. There’s even a rack filled with lost wedding dresses. (I still haven’t figured out how one becomes separated from her wedding dress but imagine it’s a good story.)
My big score for the day is at the electronics counter. I discover unopened games for my son’s DSi and a Kindle Fire. The salesperson is extremely helpful as I make my electronics purchase. My questions are answered and my mind put at ease by the return policy.
How The Unclaimed Baggage Center Started
The Unclaimed Baggage Center began in 1970 when entrepreneur, Doyle Owens, purchased his first load of unclaimed baggage from Trailways bus lines. Forty-two years later the Unclaimed Baggage Center, now run by Owens sons, is the place airlines send their unclaimed baggage and cargo.
The Alabama store has grown exponentially and in 1995 Oprah featured the Unclaimed Baggage Center as one of America’s “best-kept shopping secrets.”
No longer a secret, today, the Unclaimed Baggage Center takes up an entire city block, features a cafe, a museum, and is a famous destination shopping location.
I have to say, it was a fun experience. I found some deals, checked a few names off my Christmas shopping list, and learned a lot about what happens to lost travel treasures.
My visit also serves as a reminder to be more careful and look around my seat before getting off a plane. I’d hate for any of my things to end up on a shelf at the Unclaimed Baggage Center.
Unclaimed Baggage Center
509 W. Willow Street
Scottsboro, Alabama 35761
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