California Holds 'Great Garage Sale'

State looks online and off to reduce deficit, cut waste.

by staff writer
- Aug 26, 2009

A little birdie tweeted in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ear recently and gave him the idea to make some revenue for the deficit-ridden state: Hold a garage sale.

And that's what the governor intends to do. Officials began posting items autographed by Schwarzenegger on eBay and Craigslist Tuesday and will hold the "Great California Garage Sale," a physical sale, this weekend in Sacramento. According to news reports, the governor got the idea for the venture from a message he received via Twitter.

A spokesman for the governor, Aaron McLear, tells the Lost Angeles Times the suggestion was an "innovative idea." "We're always happy to listen to the people about ways in which we can run government more efficiently," he notes.

Items for sale include 500 used cars, Dell laptops priced at $200 each, $25 Blackberries, jewelry, office chairs, CHP motorcycles, surfboards and more. Some items were confiscated by the California Highway Patrol; others are surplus inventory from state departments.

"By posting items online, Californians and people from other states and around the world can participate in the Great California Garage Sale," Schwarzenegger says. "This is a win-win for the state and for shoppers. Together we are eliminating waste and providing great deals in this tough economy. I encourage everyone to log on or attend this great event."

Most items in the Great California Garage Sale will be sold for a set price, but higher-priced goods and vehicles will be auctioned. Online listings were sold out as of Friday, Aug. 28.

The Great California Garage Sale is not just for Californians

Other states have looked to eBay and Craigslist in the past to find ways to generate revenue and reduce their deficits, but this sale is also about reducing waste, officials say.

"Part of cutting waste is getting rid of property that state government no longer needs," says Eric Lamoureux of the Department of General Service.

Buyers from around the country are encouraged to browse through California's offerings. However, items bought both online and at the physical garage sale must be picked up at a designated booth at the Great California Garage Sale this weekend. Buyers have five days to pick up the cars they buy.

"The Great California Garage Sale is not just for Californians," Fred Aguiar, the State Consumer Services secretary, tells reporters. "We want everyone to be able to have the opportunity to purchase unique state property and Craigslist and eBay are going to help us do just that."

California held a similar sale in 2004. It generated about $35,000 in sales but did not include a car auction, according to news reports.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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