Consumer alert: Big sale coming up in Iraq


In the late 1970s, when I was a kid, my grandmother and a favorite aunt of mine would take my younger brother and me along on their favorite leisure pursuits: shopping at garage sales throughout rural southwestern Ohio. It may sound awfully hokey, but we loved it.

But I don't think I'll be calling my grandmother or aunt and suggesting that we go to arguably the world's most unique garage sale on March 8-9. First, my grandmother and aunt are now in their 80s, and while some octogenarians enjoy traveling, they don't. And also, well, the garage sale is in Iraq.

Another little obstacle: You need an invitation. You also need to be part of a business with ID stating that you can operate and/or travel in the Green Zone to attend. Admittedly, that's going to be a problem for me.

But in all seriousness, according to Wired magazine's blog, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is holding a "garage sale." For the record, the U.S. Embassy is calling it the "First Annual U.S. Embassy Baghdad GSO Property Sale." (A GSO is the person in charge of getting all of the goods and services for the embassy.)

Still, call it what you want, it does sound like a garage sale, albeit a corporate one, full of high-end odds and ends. They'll be selling industrial equipment, computer equipment, automotive parts, building supplies, communications equipment, furniture and -- if my own embassy sources are right -- a lava lamp and a velvet painting of some dogs playing poker.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist, primarily for Entrepreneur magazine, and is the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).