Some re­tail­ers turn to liq­uida­tors es­pe­cially for hol­i­days

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Dana Bran­ham The Dal­las Morn­ing News

Turns out that re­tail­ers like Ama­zon aren’t too in­ter­ested in re­stock­ing your re­turned im­pulse buys.

In­stead, they’ll of­ten wind up in ware­houses like one in Gar­land, where re­turned goods (in­clud­ing some that have never been opened) are auc­tioned off for cheap.

The Dal­las Morn­ing News re­ports as hol­i­day sales pick up, so do re­turns. The end of Novem­ber marks the be­gin­ning of busy sea­son for peo­ple who work in re­turns man­age­ment, so the Gar­land ware­house where Liq­ui­da­tion. com sorts, pack­ages and auc­tions off re­turned goods will kick into high gear through the new year.

There’s a “Christ­mas ef­fect” that comes with shop­ping at the ware­house, man­ager Scott Bir­lew said.

Liq­ui­da­tion.com has con­tracts with com­pa­nies like Ama­zon, The Home De­pot, Bed Bath & Be­yond and plenty of oth­ers, so what gets re­turned to those busi­nesses can end up bun­dled in “mys­tery” boxes and pal­lets, where items are grouped and sold off for much less than their nor­mal re­tail prices.

“You don’t know what you’re go­ing to get, and you’re pretty sure there’s some­thing there you’re go­ing to like,” Bir­lew said. “You just don’t know what it is yet.”

That mys­tique of the re­turn bun­dle has in­spired a niche genre of YouTube videos, in which vlog­gers and pro­fes­sional re­sellers buy pal­lets of re­turned goods and open them in videos that can last any­where from 20 min­utes to nearly an hour.

YouTu­ber Frank Pas­salac­qua, who makes tech-fo­cused videos as ran­dom­frankp, posted a video in Au­gust ti­tled: “I Paid $250 for $1,932 Worth of MYS­TERY TECH! Ama­zon Re­turns Pal­let Un­box­ing!”

In it, he takes out each item one-by-one, ex­am­in­ing them. Among the gems in the boxes: a pair of wire­less head­phones that nor­mally sell on­line for about $328, which is more than he paid for the whole lot.

But of course, the bun­dles aren’t without their duds. YouTu­ber Safiya Ny­gaard bid on a health and beau­tythemed mys­tery pal­let that in­cluded a few hair-re­moval items and some hair stylers, among a slew of other un­ex­pected items in the lot. In her video, she tested out each prod­uct. Some didn’t work, and oth­ers were clearly used, like an elec­tric ra­zor with hairs stuck in the blades.

At the Liq­ui­da­tion.com ware­house in Gar­land, one of the com­pany’s five ware­house lo­ca­tions in North Amer­ica, staffers sift through boxes and boxes of re­turned items, sort­ing trash from trea­sure.

Each day, any­where be­tween two and 20 trucks drop off loads of goods that other re­tail­ers don’t want to deal with. The ma­jor­ity of the items are re­turns, but there are also shelf pulls — new items that a com­pany had too much of, or items that have since been over­shad­owed by a newer ver­sion — as well as sal­vaged items, Bir­lew said.

/ The Dal­las Morn­ing News-Daniel Carde

The end of Novem­ber marks the be­gin­ning of busy sea­son for peo­ple who work in re­turns man­age­ment, so the Gar­land ware­house where Liq­ui­da­tion.com sorts, pack­ages and auc­tions off re­turned goods will kick into high gear through the new year.

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