If you know me, you know I LIVE for fabulosity at a fraction of the price. I also love a road trip. So traveling to Scottsboro to spend a day treasure hunting at the Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) was right up my alley. I’d heard bits and pieces about this amazing place – where travelers’ unclaimed items wind up for sale – but there’s nothing like seeing it for yourself: it’s truly what Vogue has called a “fashion fool’s paradise.” Why?
For one thing, it’s HUGE: 40,000 square feet, to be exact. New and gently loved footwear (Christian Louboutin, anyone?), formalwear (one bargain-savvy bride outfitted herself and her bridesmaids at UBC) and casual clothing for the whole family, fine jewelry, sporting goods, electronics (I’m talking iPhones, iPads, and DSLR cameras, darlings) and more can be found within the space, at 30-80% off retail prices (you do the math). But you’re not scooping up dirty clothes or smartphones with someone else’s data. Items are thoroughly cleaned, tested and repaired (if necessary and possible) before they hit the shelves and racks. Offerings change frequently, and part of the fun in shopping is you never know exactly what you will find. What isn’t sold – or what doesn’t make it to the salesfloor at all – is repurposed or donated. The strangest item I saw (which is part of UBC’s permanent collection) was definitely the Hoggle, a huge muppet from the movie Labyrinth.
A few words of advice: if you snag something you love, buy it; leave it and it might not be there when you return! I am KICKING myself for not grabbing the Louis Vuitton clutch someone else snagged when I moved on to another rack. Also, wear comfortable shoes, and give yourself time to really dig into the racks. If you get tired, thirsty or need a snack, there’s comfortable seating where you can recharge, and the menu at the onsite Cups Cafe will give you a second wind.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center is located at 509 West Willow Street , Scottsboro, Alabama. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; UCB is closed on Sundays. You can also connect with UBC on Twitter and Facebook.