I was so excited to take a road trip to the Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) in Scottsboro, AL, last week. Seriously, this place has been written up in Vogue, The Wall Street Journal and has been featured on the TODAY show as treasure trove for fashionistas and bargain hunters. So why wouldn’t I
waste spend an entire day driving there and back to check it out? Well, I’m warning you that what I saw didn’t stack up. I left fairly sick to my stomach at the pilled bath robes, used and unmatched bikini bottoms, half-used containers of perfume and lost wedding rings. It’s simply a sad, sad place.
I struggled about whether or not to write about my trip, and I couldn’t find a silver lining. In the end, I am writing about it because I was seething mad that I wasted 5 hours driving to and from this arm pit, one that had been given such great press. I know, that’s really harsh. But, first and foremost, we know that women are busy and I don’t want a single person who reads StyleBlueprint to ever be duped into this road trip like I was. With overstock sites on the Internet, Gilt Group and Rue La La, Ebay and end-of season sales at locally owned stores, I promise you that there are far better bargains, in better condition, than you will find at the UBC.
UBC is full of the .01% of orphaned luggage that airlines have been unable to reunite with their owners. For over 40 years, UBC has kept this 40,000 square foot warehouse stocked daily. My guess is that before the Internet, this truly was a bargain hunter’s paradise. But, the competition today is simply too easy to access and boasts better products.
For example, I had heard that the designer handbags were a bargain. Most of the handbags I saw were 50% off. They were cheaper if they were truly terrible and stained to the point of not being usable.
You can find a better deal at the end of the season at any shop in town, and the bags are in perfect shape and are current. The UBC ones are, many times, damaged and years old.
This bottle of perfume is half off, but it’s also practically half empty:
There are enough straw hats to top every head at Steeplechase or Derby:
All the bikini bottoms made my stomach feel a little queasy.
I was hoping the shoes would make this trip worth it.
This bathrobe, to me, epitomized my shopping experience.
I guess if you need computer cords, this is your place to load up. My guess is that you could also stop by any local hotel and say “Hey, I stayed here last month and I left my iPhone cord. Do you have it?” I bet they have a box of 150 to choose from, for free. Or, you could go buy one, full price, and know that it works and you can return it if it doesn’t. Or, you could check out Amazon. Or, I guess you could drive to Scottsboro, AL, and get a used one for 50% off…
I had the brilliant idea that I should check out their luggage, as surely they would have tons considering each item there arrived in a suitcase, right? No, that logic doesn’t work here.
The items they had on their walls were pretty cool:
Sure, this place is a hit-or-miss destination, and that is to be expected. But with paperback books still at $6, damaged bags at 50% off, used bikini bottoms being sold for $4 and Target-brand clothing being sold for more than Target sells it on sale, I’d firmly say, don’t go.
You know us, we write positively. We LOVE to write about the stuff we LOVE (and yes, we know we use that word too much) and simply not write about that which we don’t. But, really, we are about you, our readers, and if we can save you the frustration of a wasted day like the one I’ve just described, we will. So, now you have a heads-up. Whew. Glad this one is done.