Thonni and Nolan Morikawa have never been to the OSUsed Store before, but they already have their hands full: three chairs ($5 each!); a projector ($15 and it just needs a bulb!); a Macintosh computer ($99!); and a tall, plastic, black plumed hat.
“We’ve been amazed at what we’ve found here,” Thonni said. “It’s the ultimate treasure hunt.”
Other treasures for sale today include a bag of packing peanuts ($4), “informational board” ($1 per diagonal foot), teal and purple plastic aerobics steps ($5 each), assorted golf clubs (priced as marked), pestles ($1 each), ceramic evaporating dishes ($1 each), centrifuges ($25 each), and two rectangular suitcases ($10 each).
Lost, abandoned, or simply no longer wanted—these items are just a few among many for sale at the OSUsed Store’s public sales, held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and from noon to 3 p.m. on Fridays.
Raye DeLay, surplus and recycling materials manager, says the store sells $2,500 to $3,500 worth of merchandise during each public sale. They also sell large, rare, or high-value items—cars and other vehicles, items in large quantities or that are unopened, antiques, etc.—in online auctions.
OSU policy requires that anything abandoned or no longer used by a department go to surplus, but surplus also sells for other local and state entities. From cities, they sell decommissioned fire trucks and ambulances. From schools with medical programs, they sell incubators, X-ray machines, and hospital beds. Recently, they sold an apple-coring machine. They have also sold “a barn full of rocks”—a professor’s geological collection—and they sell a field of hay every spring.
“Everything comes to us,” DeLay said. “That’s why we get all the widgets and small stuff as well as the big stuff.”
And while big-ticket items go for market price online, the items at the public sale are “sold at 10 cents on the dollar,” according to DeLay.
Hana Maaiah, an OSU junior environmental sciences major, says her best find at the OSUsed store was a 200-gigabyte external hard drive that she got for $13. Yes, it’s a “brick,” but a new one would have cost her $100. Plus, there’s something about its age that she finds charming.
“It’s almost an antique,” she said.
This kind of nostalgic charm is what drove the final item in Thonni and Nolan Morikawa’s haul: that weird plastic hat.
Nolan, a student at Linn-Benton Community College, has played the sousaphone in the OSU marching band for two years (the two schools join for major music ensembles). The hat, Thonni tells me, is called a shako.
Nolan explains: He has to pull his instrument over his head during the band’s routines, so he’s never worn this part of the uniform. “It’s kind of a novel thing,” he said.
Still, as sentimental as he feels about marching band, he’s not planning on buying the uniform.
“I wore it. I seated in it. I know what happens in one of these uniforms, so I don’t want one,” he said.
The OSUsed Store holds public sales 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and noon to 3 p.m. on Fridays at the OSU Property Services Building, 644 SW 13th Street.
Friday, Dec. 23’s sale will be an end-of-year clearance, with items an extra 50 to 75 percent off. Large, rare, or unusual items are also sold through online auctions. For more information, visit surplus.oregonstate.edu.
By Maggie Anderson