Millions of Americans return from long-distance trips by air, but their luggage doesn't always come home with them.
Airline identification tags can come loose, and the bags go who-knows-where.
Amazingly, some people never pick up their luggage at airport baggage-claim carousels .
And passengers leave all kinds of things on planes.
The airlines collect the items and, for 90 days, attempt to find their owners. If they have no luck, they are literally left holding the bags of thousands of travelers.
They don't keep them, since they're not in the warehouse business. And by law, they cannot sell the bags, because the airlines might be tempted to deliberately misplace luggage.
So once insurance companies have paid for lost bags and their contents, and they no longer belong to passengers, a unique store in the little town of Scottsboro, Alabama, buys them - sight unseen.
The "Unclaimed Baggage Center," is so popular that the building, which is set up like a department store, is the number-one tourist attraction in all of Alabama.
More than one million visitors stop in each year and take one of the store's squeaky shopping carts on a hunt for treasures.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center displays one-of-a-kind items lost by individual travelers, plus whole racks of identical items found in freight shipments that for some reason never got delivered.
Each day, clerks bring out 7,000 new items, and veteran shoppers rush to paw over them. You can find everything from precious jewels to hockey sticks, best-selling novels, leather jackets, tape recorders, surfboards, even half -used tubes of toothpaste.
That's right - used toothpaste for 50 cents or a dollar.
The store's own laundry washes or dry cleans all the clothes found in luggage, then sells them. Need a wedding dress? There's a selection of beautiful lost and unclaimed ones.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center has found guns, illegal drugs - even a live rattlesnake - inside bags.
The store has a little museum where some of its most unusual acquisitions have been preserved. They include highland bagpipes, a burial mask from an Egyptian pharaoh's tomb, and a medieval suit of armor.
Less than one-half of one percent of luggage checked on U.S. carriers is permanently lost and available to the store. Still, that's a lot of toothpaste and wedding dresses that never made it home.