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January 14, 2009 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-14

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0

9

W e ,n 42 -h c a i0

ABOUT CAMPUSSTR N
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST

THE JUNK
DRAW.I...ER

I

QUOTES OF THE WEEK
I just wanted to burn his "Long ago, I decided that
pei soi.eog om age really didn't matter and
,, as long as the ladies ... feel
and no one else."
the same way, that's fine
- RAJINI NARAYAN, a 44-year-old woman
from Australia, as quoted by prosecutor Lucy with me."

The campus flea
market
Property Disposition: where
the 'U'sells its old junk
When the Department of His-
tory no longer needs a filing cabi-
net or it's time for the University
Hospital to replace its helicopter
launch pad, the used items could
end up at Property Disposition -
the University's equivalent of the
Land of Misfit Toys.
The little-known department,
operated out of a warehouse on the
outskirts of -North Campus, sells
discarded University property to
other University departments or
local bargain hunters. w
A maze of office chairs of every
color and condition, along with
bookcases, laptop computers,
other electronics and the occa-
sional industrial kitchen mixer or
piece of lab equipment makes up
something like an academic flea
market.
Nearly anything could poten-
tially be found in the 15,000
square-foot warehouse, which is
open to shoppers Monday through
Thursday.
When asked if there were any
items Property Dispositionrefused
to accept, Sales Manager Steve
Sinelli paused, unable to come up
with a quick answer.
"I know there is something," he
mused.
Prices can range from $5 to $15
foran office chair to $15 or $20 for
a bookcase or filing cabinet. A cou-
ple hundred dollars could also buy
an upright piano marked "non-
playing," a Dell laptop or a digital
projector.
But Sinelli admitted haggling
the price down a few dollars is not
out of the question. Warehouse

regulars tend to have "a garage
sale mentality," he said. }
The warehouse is run like a,
consignment shop, as 97.5 percent
of the proceeds from the sales are
returned to the department that
sent the item. All items are sold as N.
is.
Last year, sales generated
between $1.5 and 2.5 million for
University departments.
Property Disposition is also
partly a recycling center. Univer-
sity computers, electronics and'
other items that can't be resold
are sent on to recycling plants for
proper disposal.
Property Disposition processes
about five moving trucks worthW
of new items on average each day,
Sinelli said.
While computers and office
equipment like filing cabinets tend
to be the most in-demand items,
Property Disposition also orga-r
nizes closed-bid auctions for large
or specialty items and University +11 ,--
vehicles, Sinelli said.
Last week, a Kawasaki Mule
utility vehicle and a banged-up M
Dodge Avenger collected snow in
the warehouse parkinglot, waiting
for the next auction. In the past, inexpensively furnish their apart-
items like a fire truck and a small ments, he said.
plane have even passed through Now, only a handful of bed
the department. frames priced at $25 each remain.
Property Disposition will also Students, especially interna-
make special arrangements with tional and out-of-state students
departments when acampus build- who can't bring furniture from
ing or residence hall closes. home, frequent the warehouse.
When Stockwell Hall closed last But for the most part, Property
spring for renovations, shipments Disposition clients are members of
of the bed frames and desks were other University departments or
staggered so as not to overwhelm outgoing University researchers
the warehouse, Sinelli said. who buy their own lab equipment
Sinelli said he will often work to take with them to their next job,
with University Housing to time Sinelli said.
new shipments of furniture with In an effort to encourage more
the move-in rush in the fall. inter-departmental sales, Prop-
The Stockwell bedroom sets erty Disposition also offers first
sold quickly to students looking to priority and exclusive sales hours

TALKING
POINTS
Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Impeachments
2. Sanjay Gupta
3. Internet porn sweeps in China
And three things you can't:
1. Obama's Blackberry
2. Sidwell Friends
3. Below-zero weather

Boord, explaining why she set her husband's
genitals on fire while he was sleeping. Narayan
said she suspected her husband of an affair
after she saw him hug another woman.

- HUGH HEFNER, the 82-year-old founder of
Playboy magazine, to John Roberts of CNN about
his new girlfriends, who are 19-year-old twins

"Our government was one big pimp for the U.S. military."
- KIM AE-RAN, a 58-year-old former prostitute from South Korea, criticizing the country's former
leaders for encouraging South Korean women to have sex with American troops who were protect-
ing the country from North Korea in the 1960s through 1980s

to the departments.
Sinelli said the rest of sales
come mostly from Michigan and
Ohio residents, including a small
contingent of about 10 regulars
who faithfully line up outside
the warehouse before disposition
opens its doors each morning to
take the first crack at trolling for
bargains.
Many of these regulars buy up
items to later resell on eBay or
other auction sites to make some
extra cash, he said.
Other customers turn to Prop-
erty Disposition to capitalize on
trading trends. Several years ago,
when scrap metal prices boomed,
a surge of scrappers visited the

ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA GARAVOGLIA
warehouse, Sinelli said. But when
steel prices plummeted dramati-
cally this fall, scrapper traffic all
but stopped.
In the last year, Property Dis-
position has begun cutting out the
middleman by occasionally post-
ing items on eBay to expand its
customer base beyond Ann Arbor.
Sinelli, who has worked at
Property Disposition since 1978,
said he hasn't seen a dramatic
spike in interest corresponding
to the state's mounting recession
but added that business has been
steadily growing in recent years.
"Every year, it seems to be
increasing," he said. "Word has
gotten out."

YOUTUBE
VIDEO OF
THE WEEK
A farewell to W
After eight long years of George
W. Bush's presidency, many people
are starting to wonder how he'll be
remembered by future generations.
Here's one possibility.
This video comprises some of
Bush's most notorious gaffes during
his tenure. Considering he'll be out
of office next week, it seems like an
appropriate time to revisit some of
his classic blunders, or Bushisms, as
they came to be known.
The video starts with Bush butch-
ering the name of his State of the
Union address. "In my state of the,
my state of the union, or state, or
speech to the nation, whatever you
want to call it," Bush says, the crowd
roaring with laughter at his bum-
bling. In another clip, he states that
"America needs a military where our
breast and brightest...are proud to
serve."
In addition, Bush is shown say-
ing, "Rarely is the question asked, Is
our children learning?" And, during
another speech, he laments that "too
many OBGYNs aren't able to practice
their love with women all across this
country."
One of the only notable clips miss-
ing is when Bush creates the word
"misunderestimate." (You can almost
hear Noah Webster weeping in the
background.) Otherwise, this is a
solid tribute to our 43rd president.
-BRIAN TENGEL
See this and other
YouTube videos of the week at
,mityhp /,.n_.,./rh;nai;&,

BY THE NUMBERS
Number of votes by which Democrat Al Pranken beat the incumbent
Republican Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate race
Total number of votes cast, in millions, in the election
Number of days it took to complete the manual recount
Source: The New York Times

THEME PARTY SUGGESTION
Inauguration ball - Barack Obama will be inau-
gurated as the 44th President of the United States
next Tuesday. And you'll be festering in jealousy
toward your friends who ditched class and made the
trek to be there. But you don't have to feel so left
out. Have your own inauguration festivities. Dress
up. Or better yet, stop by J.Crew and pick up some-
thing Michelle would like. You'll be stylish while
doing your duty for the nation's economy.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu
STUDY OF THE WEEK
Many people unconsciously harbor racist views
Despite the fact that many people see themselves as tolerant and fair-
minded, they unconsciously have some racist sentiments, according to a
study published last week in the journal Science.
In the study, the researchers placed 120 non-black participants in two
groups, "experiencers" and "forecasters." The "experiencers" were put
in a room with a white and a black person, who acted out three different
scenes in which the black person accidentally bumps the white person.
In the first scene, the white person doesn't say anything after he's
bumped. In the second "moderate" scene, the white person says, "Typ-
ical, I hate it when black people do that." And in the third "extreme"
scene, the white person says, "Clumsy n****r." The "forecasters," then,
predicted how they would feel in the situation.
Researchers observed that the "experiencers" found nothing wrong
with the moderate or extreme comments, while the "forecasters" were
only a bit more conflicted abut the comments.
- BRIAN TENGEL

WRITE FOR THE STATEMENT

E-mail vosgerchian@michigandaily.com

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