By Mr Kevin Stabinsky (IMCOM)May 31, 2011
From the way money flowed at the cash-and-carry sale at Murray Hall (Bldg. 133) on Fort Gillem May 25, it would be hard to believe its a time when most Americans were tightening their belts and budgets.
Less than one hour into the event, the former lodging hall was well on its way to being barren. "Will it last three days? I doubt it," said Valerie Brown, U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) lodging manager.
The sale was originally supposed to last three days, with the option of closing it early if all merchandise, approximately 250 pieces, was sold out.
With $1,415 of merchandise sold the first hour, an early end happened. The sale ended after one day. Part of the reason behind the merchandise selling so quickly was the cheap prices and the functionality of the items being sold, Brown said. "Items are really reasonable and priced to sell,” she said. “We set prices at a fair market value."
Value was determined by age and general market depreciation. Thus, people could walk away with deals like $35 for a refridgerator/freezer, $25 for a stove or $4 for a small appliance like a toaster. Great prices for functional items brought Barbara McKee, owner of the nonprofit organization Lift, to the sale. Lift is a community development project that lifts people out of poverty and puts them on the road to success with shelter, food, clothing, counseling, job, debt relief and transportation assistance. "I know the government buys the best furniture that lasts years," McKee said. "I knew I would get good deals."
McKee ended up with a refrigerator and stove, which will go into her nonprofit. Like McKee, Wanda Cloud, a recently retired Civilian employee with the USAG Budget Office, stocked up on goods, even if they weren’t for herself. "I’m filling up for the Family," she said. Wanda filled up with a variety of things " tables, lamps and a bed " for her children and niece’s homes. While most were pleased with the sale, there was also a sense of sadness to the event.
For both Annie Holland and Brenda McCarter, the sale marked the end of a place they had spent much of their time at. Both women work as custodians with the Garrison lodging office and worked at Murray Hall at times.
"It’s sad," McCarter said, adding it will hit even harder once Army lodging on Fort McPherson begins to close and conduct their own cash-and-carry sales. "We’ll definitely miss it," Holland added. Still, if you can’t beat it, join it. Both ladies ended up purchasing some items for themselves. "Though it is going we can take a part with us," McCarter said. And in purchasing items, everyone who participated will ensure some connection continues back to the Army as well.
All proceeds from the sale will go back into the Army-wide Army lodging fund, Brown said.