Vol. 12. No. 2
Fall 2002

If you love a garage sale, there's no need to get up early and scour the neighborhood for quirky items at bargain prices. Instead, consider visiting University Surplus and Salvage (USS) at its new home at 210 Connor Road in Fort Douglas. USS is responsible for taking in and either selling or disposing of all equipment, furniture, and anything else deemed "surplus" by the University. Sometimes that means getting rid of some really odd items.

Take, for example, the surplus item sent over by the U's medical community: a kidney stone table. Not an item typically tagged and displayed on a driveway on Saturday morning, the table was a challenge for USS — but one they met, nonetheless. A medical supply company bought the table and sent it off to South America.

USS serves all departments on campus, including the hospital and its clinics, satellite campuses, and other departments located off the main campus. Workers take in about 33,000 items a year, selling about 90 percent of the inventory. Anything that USS can't sell, even at a bargain basement price, is disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Clearly, USS staffers have to be good salespeople. Sometimes that entails contacting trade organizations or other universities that might have an interest in an item most people would never be able to use. For instance, USS has sold University shuttle buses, a garbage truck, golf carts, and University Police Department motorcycles.

Still, those are fairly straightforward sales; at least USS personnel can put a price tag on the vehicles and interested buyers can come kick the tires. But how do you sell a cemetery plot?

Surplus and Salvage manager Clifton Grindstaff BA'84 was forced to do just that. "The plots were given to the University by a well-meaning donor," he says. "I had to search out some buyers. Fortunately, there is a section in the newspaper where we advertised them — and we made a good bit of money for the University."

Any item that sits for very long has its price reduced drastically, sometimes by as much as 90 percent. Grindstaff says because the new Surplus and Salvage building is a bit smaller than the old one, his staff will be more aggressive in moving merchandise. That should make for a bargain hunters' paradise.

—Remi Barron is media relations specialist in the U's public relations office.

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