New York City Transit has found a new way to generate revenue: By selling your stuff.
Technically, it's not a new idea -- they've been holding the auctions for four years -- but in an effort to expand the agency's opportunity to bring in cash in tough economic times, officials are tapping into social media to get the word out.
The agency's Twitter page has been aflutter with snapshots of items in their Lost & Found stash and info on buying them. Any L&F loot – from portable DVD players to televisions, guitars, golf clubs and, yes, a jukebox hot air popcorn maker – can be yours.
Michael Zacchea, assistant chief operations officer for NYC Transit, told NBCNewYork that state law requires the agency to hold the items for 6 months and 15 days at minimum before putting them up for auction. Items deemed to be more valuable, such as jewelry, may be held a bit longer.
As for how much the agency stands to make from the auctions, "It's not going to close the budget gap," Zacchea said.
"A lot of the material doesn't generate a whole lot of income," he added. "It hardly covers the cost to collect it, catalog it and transfer it for sale. We probably make $25,000 a year on it -- but that's $25,000 more than if we didn't."
NYC Transit groups the items into lots to make them more economical to sell. While they encourage the purchase of an entire lot of similar items, officials can make changes as needed.
The auctions are run out of the agency's Surplus Material Sales division.
Oh, but if you did in fact lose something in the transit system and want to get it back, NYC Transit has all the info on its website you need to make a claim. And both Zacchea and NYC transit spokesman Charles Seaton pointed out that's why the agency has a Lost & Found in the first place.