Even in the infinite marketplace of the Internet, one of the last places a bride might turn for her wedding dress is the federal government.
Yet, the General Services Administration can help women find their fairy-tale dresses — if they know where to look.
On GSA’s public auction website — GSAAuctions.gov — the agency is selling a mish-mash of items once used by federal agencies. Everything from real estate to laser printers and from fire trucks to furniture is being auctioned off for pennies on the dollar through the government’s rudimentary version of eBay.
The site was catapulted into the spotlight this week by President Barack Obama’s executive order calling for behavioral science lessons to be integrated into federal programs. Over the course of the next year, the newly-formed Social and Behavioral Sciences Team will work with agencies to send tailored alerts for government surplus goods to over 40,000 registered bidders to help match them with items they are looking for.
“We’re always looking at ways in which we can expand our business and operate a little more efficiently,” said Kevin Stallings, who works with GSA’s Office of Personal Property Management division, which oversees GSAAuctions.gov.
While the majority of things up for auction are mostly discarded computers, end-of-life vehicles and unneeded office furniture, FedScoop poked around to find some peculiar things that the government doesn’t regularly deal with. Take a look at some of the stranger things we found:
Yup, GSA has its own bridal shop. After the U.S. Marshals seized a bridal shop in Alaska that operated as a criminal front, they needed a way to get rid of the forfeited merchandise.
The listings are the third iteration of GSA’s “Down the Aisle Wedding Extravaganza,” which kicked off in June when the agency’s Atlanta location held a bridal show in their office.
“This is definitely unique for us,” Stallings said. “I don’t remember an instance before now where we’ve sold bridal attire through the website.”
There are several auctions still going, including one for men’s tuxedos and other assorted formal wear. Auction winners will have to head to Atlanta to pick up their merchandise.
What better to go with your new wedding dress than some discount rims for your car? GSA has four rims at its San Diego office, courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Caveat: CBP has no idea what kind of rims they are or if they will fit your car. Hope you have your socket wrench handy.
This doesn’t jump out because of the item itself (although good on Immigration and Customs Enforcement for getting rid of legacy technology), more so because of the price tag. Why pay $64 for a cassette recorder when Olympus sells digital recorders for half that? How much do these things really go for?
Wait, Amazon sells them for $284.50 a pop? Well, then, by all means, step right up for your discounted, end-of-life technology.
1965 Bell Helicopter
If those rims don’t work out, you can ditch automobiles altogether and plunk down $100,000 for a decommissioned helicopter from the El Paso-based office of CBP. The only details given on the condition of the chopper are that it’s “flyable” and “maintenance records are available.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
If $100,000 is too rich for your blood, or you are set with your vehicles, maybe you would like to turn to GSA’s primary forte: real estate. For nearly $40,000 you can buy a floating lighthouse in Lake Huron. However, as a condition for the sale, you must continue to let the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration collect data from sensors aboard the station. If you want a lighthouse, but don’t want the government poking around in your business, you’re in luck! The GSA has another lighthouse for sale off the coast of Massachusetts.