If you've ever flown, you've probably experienced it: baggage anxiety.
You've arrived, but did your bags make it? And so you wait... and watch... and wonder...
In most cases, it eventually pops out. But sometimes it doesn't. Where on earth does it go?
There's a very good chance it will go to Scottsboro, Alabama.
And there's somewhere else it goes. It goes on sale!
"It IS Unclaimed Baggage," says Brenda Cantrell. "It is a store like no other. We purchase, site unseen, baggage from the airlines after they've spent 90 days trying to reunite them with their owners."
You'll have to drive about 6 hours to get there. Take I-65 north to I-59, make a left at Fort Payne, drive about 45 minutes, and you are in Scottboro. The home of Unclaimed Baggage, surely one of the most unique stores in America.
Brenda has worked there for 14 years. She shops there, too!
"We have a tremendous amount of people who come through our store. We're actually one of the top tourist attractions in the state of Alabama. We're the only store in America that does what we do."
What they do is sell what they find inside those unclaimed bags at a very deep discount.
"Oh, absolutely! Absolutely!," says Brenda, enthusiastically. "We price anywhere between 20 to 80 percent off the suggested retail price."
First, with the clothes. Unclaimed Baggage processes thousands of garments each month... laundering and dry cleaning each one in their own cleaners. Then, they are tagged with the price.
Ann Taylor blouses? $12.59 and $20.99
Designer Jeans? $15.59.
But it doesn't stop here. Jewelry, watches, necklaces, even diamond rings valued by their in-house appraiser and then discounted.
"We price at half the appraised value," Brenda explains.
Not into the bling? Maybe electronics is your thing.
Kindle II readers are $34.99! A 4 GB Thinkpad laptop? $122.99!
4th generation 32 or 64 GB iPads are almost always available for a flat 249.99... that's 50% off the price of a new one.
By now, you may be asking a couple of the same questions that are running through most visitors' minds. Like, has anyone ever found their own lost item here?
"We only have one documented case of an individual who bought back his wife's ski boots, but he didn't know it at the time. He'd never been to the store before and bought this pair of ski boots for 45 dollars and took them back home. And she said these look really familiar, and she lifted up the tongue of the boot and there was her maiden name. And she had been actually reimbursed by the airlines a couple of years before for her loss," Brenda recounts.
No, you probably won't find you lost bags here. But you will finds some bargains. And for savvy shoppers, lost luggage and low prices are a marriage made in heaven!
If you want to know more, like store hours and directions and plenty of fun facts, visit the Unclaimed Baggage website at www.unclaimedbaggage.com