The US embassy in London is holding an online auction of “surplus property” and you only have until Wednesday next week to bid for rare finds such as 1,200 toilet rolls, some broken vacuum cleaners and a scuffed coffee table.
None of the items have any official US insignias or historical value.
It is a curious jumble of items: desk lamps, a Volvo S80, boring bookcases, a circular saw, 22 plastic stacking chairs, five broken Dyson vacuum cleaners and a defective photocopier (price: ?1; condition: scrap). Most useful, perhaps, is the pallet of 1,200 loo rolls, which, at the time of writing, had no bids from its ?100 starting price.?
These aren’t even the weirdest things being sold by US missions. There are auctions happening, or about to happen, in other countries with a similar car boot sale-style load of tat. Yerevan, Armenia, has several rugs “with stains”, office chairs (also “with stains”) and a broken fridge among its 45 lots. The embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, offers several household appliances and a load of printer-ink cartridges, as well as computers and mobile phones “with cracks and scratches”.
The auction in Ankara, Turkey, has helpfully split its lots into furniture collections, so you could kit out your flat with a ready-made curated collection comprising beige armchair, office chair, lamp and end table. Tirana, Albania, wants to offload a few generators; Lisbon’s lots seem mostly to include office furniture, but without pictures. Stockholm’s catalogue is grander, with a lot of dark wood ornate furniture, chandeliers–and a step machine. Three of Belgrade’s five lots are unused eight-foot ladders.