Military retail outlet salutes bargain hunters

January 08, 1995|By Shirley Leung | Shirley Leung,Sun Staff Writer

Nothing is guaranteed at Fort Meade's version of a rummage sale, except the prices: an IBM printer for $30, a plush orange armchair for $1, a rotary phone for 25 cents.

d,3 Starting tomorrow, the military retail outlet, called the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, will open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. The store had been open only once a week.

Sharon McMillon, chief of the outlet's distribution, said the increased hours mean more money for the government. Fort Meade's building T64, where the store is located, is always full of Department of Defense surplus goods that neither the DOD nor other federal and state agencies want.

Outdated electronic equipment is plentiful. You can still find computers that use 5-inch floppy disks and dot-matrix printers.

You can also buy unused rat traps for $1, industrial grade rubber gloves for $5, white Converse tennis shoes for $6.

Because most of the equipment is used, it's sold "AS IS, WHERE IS" and "CASH & CARRY." The equipment could have come from any of the area's military installations.

There are more than 195 such sales outlets around the world. Local ones can be found at the Aberdeen Proving Ground and the Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

The DRMO at Fort Meade opened about 20 years ago, but hours of operation have been erratic, says Ruth Stutts, the chief of DRMO.

The DRMO just started weekly hours last May. Before that, the store had been open only once a month.

Demand has been high. A line of about 40 people usually forms before the doors open.

Retail sales at Fort Meade brought in $50,000 last year.

"I highly suggest people come early to get the best bargain," said Ms. Stutts.

The DRMO doesn't have used parts for aircraft or boats on site, but the office can direct you to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service, a national catalog service for such equipment.

Sealed bids must be made in writing to the office at 2163 Airways Blvd., Memphis, Tenn. 38113-5211.

Items sold nationally include old sailboats and machine tools. Scrap metal can be bought in large quantities.

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