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News - Miscellaneous - 20 Jun 2019

News Item 48 of 1403 

Miscellaneous: 20 Jun 2019
Feds make cool $35k from warehouse surplus sale, but diamond bracelet, barber chairs and horse tack could still be yours

Shoppers line up to get into the GCSurplus government surplus sale on June 15, 2019 in Ottawa. Patrick Doyle for Postmedia

OTTAWA — After making almost $35,000 from selling odds and ends such as mittens, headphones and chairs at an Ottawa sale Saturday, the federal government is considering opening the doors to more of its surplus warehouses.

GCSurplus’s first “Cash and Carry” sale attracted more than 1,500 people, according to a spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada. There was furniture, camping gear, cameras, clothing, tools, and more. Specifically, an abundance of winter boots, rain pants, office chairs and electrical power generators. Cars, motorcycles and other large items, which are auctioned off online, weren’t part of the offerings.

The National Post is reliably informed that there were lineups to get inside, some people waiting for longer than an hour in the rain, with their umbrellas.

For $25, payable by cash, credit or debit, you could buy, for example, two toques, a wool shirt, a pair of mittens and some noise-cancelling ear muffs — the kind construction workers wear to protect their hearing — or that parents put on their babies’ heads at concerts.


You could (but I trust you didn’t) buy a broken microwave for $15.

In an email Tuesday, Marc-André Charbonneau conveyed the department’s alarmingly bureaucratic response to the Post’s questions. “After an initial assessment, the event is being considered successful,” he said. Most of the inventory was sold, at a total revenue of $34,860.

The event “appears to have delivered both operational efficiency for the Crown and client satisfaction for buyers,” said Charbonneau. Similar events are “being considered” at other locations.

GCSurplus, with its 10 offices and eight warehouses, famously offers some pretty bizarre items, since, aside from leftover government items, some of what it sells was forfeited to the Crown as part of criminal investigations. On behalf of provincial and federal law enforcement agencies it makes millions in the sales of these items every year.

The offerings online offer a glimpse at the sort of thing you might be able to get at a fixed price should GCSurplus host more sales at its facilities. The price, the department says, gets decided based on the item’s condition, what it’s going for on other second-hand websites and what similar items have sold for in the past.


For now, anyone can get a free account and put in bids on particular items, but it’s a competitive process and, frankly, a crapshoot.

Some examples:

If you’ve got the horses in the back but the horse tack is not attached, consider this $60-minimum “horse’s harness and halter set,” which “has some decorative brass detailing.” That’s in Ottawa.

If you want to do some kind of courthouse roleplay (no judgment), six sets of gavels and sound blocks — the thing you hit with the gavel — are also available in Ottawa starting at $50.

In Regina, there are several “vintage” barber chairs available, and the coolest, a teal colour, goes for a minimum bid of $200.


Some very fancy jewelry is listed in Montreal, including diamond rings. Tiffany. Cartier. A bracelet that features 400 brilliant round-cut diamonds at a staggering minimum bid of $10,900.

Finally, ever been so under-caffeinated that purchasing 58 coffee makers in one shot sounds like a good idea? Drop a cool hundred bucks in Oromocto, N.B., and they can be yours.

• Email: mdsmith@postmedia.com | Twitter:

Marie-Danielle Smith-National Post/AA
 

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