If you've ever wondered what happens to the millions of items the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) seizes at checkpoint searches, Scott McCartney of The Wall Street Journal will tell you: they're trucked to a store in Austin, Texas and sold.
A store here, in a remote industrial area not far from the airport, has two big shelves of seized snow globes, all nabbed as potential liquid explosives and now bargain-priced at just $2. The state agency that runs the store also sells government surplus like file cabinets and firetrucks from the summer-hot warehouse. But its storefront is filled with TSA loot: knives, power tools, baseball bats, sunglasses and jewelry.
Here you will find belts for $5. Swiss Army knives are sold by the pound. Corkscrews and nail clippers are all 10 cents each, scissors are $3 a pair. Every Friday, there is an auction of collectible knives.
The TSA sends truckloads of prohibited and left-behind items to state-run agencies set up to sell surplus government equipment. Many states take the best and auction it off on eBay or GovDeals.com, a site that sells surplus government property online. Among the Pennsylvania offerings this month on GovDeals.com: three pounds of "assorted gold-toned jewelry,'' not tested for quality, that sold for $6,885.
Wait... did he say firetrucks? Oh, now I want one.