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    I recently got into a conversation with an airport official about what happens to items confiscated by TSA. The stories being told about attempted carry-on luggage ranged from silly to downright funny – and begged one question: Where do things like that go when they die??

    Turns out, the answer is: a large portion of such items are regularly sent off to be parceled and placed in something called a “government surplus auction.” Basically, no one can take used junk from government-related facilities like one might at a private office because of fear of corruption, bribery, etc. (This might be slight oversimplification…) So instead, items from such places are gathered and sold off to the paying public.

    Now that is just entertaining…

    Years ago, I imagine “government surplus auctions” to have been like the one live real estate auction I attended as a small child with my aunt and uncle. There was cigarette smoke, noise, cowboy hats and popcorn (or at least that is how I supplement that incredibly boring evening in my memory…)

    Now, though – thanks to the advent of the internet – things aren’t nearly as quaint. Like a laundry list of other once time-intensive tasks, browsing your local government’s leftovers only takes a broadband connection and a few clicks.

    Meet Yes – it is essentially Ebay with much more legalese in the margins – but it offers some interesting insight into what our local government has been sitting on.

    What does Possibility City have in the closets (and holding sheds) at City Hall? Fifty bucks and a search for “Louisville, KY” on could currently yield you some of the following treasures:

    1) No less than 4 wrecked vehicles - My favorite line that appears in most of these vehicle descriptions: “This truck may have been cannibalized to some degree.” How in the world does a truck eat another truck?

    2) Computer equipment - There are mostly monitors and a few CPU’s up for grabs. Of course, all hard drives had to be removed. Or maybe they were cannibalized, too…

    3) Cuff links (My FAVORITE!) – You HAD to wear them if you worked in these parts in 1971. And if you are really into dressing like a swingin’ government official of yesteryear, you can wear them now (though current bids are above $30!) Best part of the description: “Gold content, if any, is not known.”

    Photo by: Anita Patterson/


    Brian Eichenberger's picture

    About Brian Eichenberger

    I love Louisville neighborhoods, live music and hanging with friends and family!

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