Remember that suitcase you checked on your return flight from god-knows-where that never showed up on the carousel? I found it for you-- it's in Alabama, and they're selling it, along with the unclaimed luggage of thousands of other people. Don't worry, they threw out the dirty underwear you shoved in the ripped lining so the TSA wouldn't see it.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) in Scottsboro, Alabama began in 1970, when Doyle Owens filled the back of his pickup truck with unclaimed suitcases he had purchased from a bus company in Washington, D.C. Once he was back in Alabama, he sold the items on card tables in his apartment. Forty years later, UBC is housed in a building that takes up an entire city block, and is still run by Owens, his wife and sons. They've built quite a name for themselves in the community, and many people travel for all over to hunt for treasures. Their annual ski sale, in particular gets people pretty excited:


So how does all of this stuff end up here? Only a very small percentage of lost luggage actually gets "lost," and an even smaller percentage of those bags remains unclaimed -- airlines go to great lengths to return your bags to you, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. With so much air travel in the US, even that small percentage of failure translates to thousands upon thousands of unclaimed bags every year. Some of them containing weird, awesome things:


UBC is set up like a thrift store, except everything inside is pretty high quality -- these are things that people still wanted, not the things they were giving away. There is also a UBC Hall of Fame museum, which includes the actual Hoggle puppet, from the movie 'Labyrinth, ' which is so awesome, because WHO PACKS THAT?


If you're a treasure hunter at heart, UBC might just be your Mecca, so make sure to pack an extra empty suitcase. A carry-on, obviously.