Need Cheap, Random Junk? Penn State’s Got You Covered

So you’re looking for a cheap pong table for your new and (unfortunately) unfurnished apartment. Or perhaps your printer just crapped out on you, but money is tight. Or maybe you really want an industrial-size food mixer because… um… maybe you’ve decided to run a bakery out of your dorm room? Nevertheless, what is a cash-strapped college kid to do? Two words: Lion Surplus.

Lion Surplus is Penn State’s best kept non-secret. It’s like a big garage sale for the university. And when they’re well-stocked, you might find some pretty useful stuff — once you make the long trek out there.

It’s located out by the Blue Band Building. For those who don’t know where that is, it’s near the law school building. It’s a bit of a hike from the closest white loop stop, which is no fun in the weather we’ve had this week. But, if you’re shuttle-savvy, there’s a stop just outside in the parking lot.

Feeling a bit adventurous, my friend and future roommate, Zach, decided to come with and see if we could find some furnishings for our apartment for next year. Upon entering the warehouse, we surveyed the place. To the right were several long rows of desks and filing cabinets, spanning half the width of the place. Along the far wall, running parallel to them, were shelving units with various office supplies sparsely scattered about them — an electric stapler here, a laptop bag there.

Zach got my attention on the left side, pointing out a pile of old motherboards laying in a bin on one of the shelves. Beside them was a pile of computer mice and some hard drives. Across from that were three old printers the size of filing cabinets.

“Yo! These still look fine to me,” I heard Zach say from the side wall. I walk over to find him looking in a box labelled “Cracked Test Tubes.” I had to agree, they looked in great shape to me and you got a whole paper box full of them for only $10. Flat panel monitors line the other side of the middle shelving unit, along with some more manageably sized printers and a few CRT television sets.

Before walking ahead into the other section of the building, we stopped by a bulletin board full of postings with little tabs listing eBay IDs. Among the clutter one thing stood out — a blue and white university mail van. That’s right, you could be the proud owner of the Penn State mail van.

Rounding the corner into the other room, I had to stop and laugh. There stood, at seven or eight feet tall, the industrial-size food mixer. That wasn’t the only interesting item in this room. Against the fork lift stood two chemical fridges, complete with air-tight sealing doors.

“You could definitely use these as mini-fridges,” I mused. “I would be all about that.”

“Is this one of the old phone-booths from in the HUB?”

“Yeah man! Look, here’s the cord the phone line fed through,” I said, grabbing a thin, empty line hanging from the top of the wooden booth.

That was enough goofing around. Now to get back to looking at practical furniture.

“Ooh, these are nice,” I said to Zach, pointing out a collection of office chairs, only $5 each.

“This is legit,” Zach said, eyeing up a long, narrow table.

“That’s real cool! It would be perfect for pong,” I replied before getting distracted by some nice bar chairs, still in great condition and also $5 a piece. Too bad we won’t have a bar in our apartment.

In the end, we left empty-handed. But I’m thinking of going back to get myself one of those desk chairs. Honestly, none of the furniture or office appliances cost more than $25. Most of the electronics are old and junky, but if you’re looking for cheap furniture for your apartment, it might be worth your while. I could have done without the creepy cardboard cutouts of Barney and Cookie Monster staring at me from the back of the warehouse and the awful country music, though.

About the Author

Matthew D'Ippolito

I'm a senior majoring in print journalism with minors in political science and music technology. I'm from the small town of Pennsburg, about an hour north of Philly. I hope to one day work as a music reporter for Rolling Stone. I am single and looking to mingle.

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