Excess baggage

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My list of things-I-want-to-hate-but-can't grew by one this morning when I logged on to the Unclaimed Baggage Center Web site.

The Scottsboro, Ala., UBC store has always struck me as kind of a K-Mart for cannibals, inviting all and sundry to paw through, and purchase, the personal belongings of airline-ineptness victims. But its Appalachian location gave the enterprise a hill-country patina that made it seem less, well, indecent.

So when I ran into the UBC's on-line store, I just knew I'd loathe it. "What do you imagine a wealthy retired couple might have packed to go to Hawaii?" the home page asks. Aha! No rustic charm, just greed, greed, greed!

But as I surfed through the site I became hooked. There's a "What Is It?" page that asks users to guess the identity of bizarre luggage items, a page of upcoming events such as the just-concluded Independence Day sale (there's something great about a lost-luggage sale calendar) and, perhaps most perversely, a page of travel tips that offers advice on how not to lose your luggage.

In the end, of course, I shopped. The 16" fur-covered Santa I wanted was already sold, but there's a hardcover copy of Richard Branson's "Losing My Virginity" that I've got my eye on. I've become one of them.

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