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More than $1 million collected so far at Sacramento 'garage sale' [Updated]

August 28, 2009 |  4:07 pm

Unemployment in California is high, which could partly explain why thousands of people had time to line up on a Friday morning to go shopping. Another explanation could be the impulse to find a bargain, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration prepared to launch the Great California Garage Sale and unload some unneeded items, cheap.

The governor toured the site this morning, as shoppers who had waited since before dawn outside of the Sacramento-area warehouse filed in and others patiently stood in line again to make their purchases. The crowds thinned this afternoon.

Erin Shaw, a spokeswoman for the State and Consumer Services Agency, said that so far today the state had sold more than $1 million in items, although some laptop and desktop computers were still available, as was a dental chair.

“We do still have several hundred cars available for sale” as well, she said, though the flat-screen televisions were gone.

The state has been selling some items on eBay and Craigslist since last week, including cars with Schwarzenegger’s signature on the visor. Several California Highway Patrol motorcycles, also with his signature and priced at $2,200 each, went quickly at the warehouse. This afternoon, the governor listed another item – an autographed state of California jacket -- with a starting price of $1,000 on eBay.

Schwarzenegger promoted the sale as a way to help the state balance its budget, which was more than $20 million [correction: $20 billion] in the red until he reached a deal with lawmakers last month to cut many state programs.

-- Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento