During Operation Desert Storm, retailers in the United States were in a whirlwind of their own.
Consumers during those days were seeking out everything from "Support Our Troops" T-shirts to camouflage hiking boots. Nearly everyone wanted an item showing support for the troops.Now they are coming home and T-shirts that say "Bring Our Troops Home Safely" don't carry the same appeal. Those T-shirts are collecting more dust than the Arabian desert.
If that surplus is not bad enough, just think of the 874,000 desert boots ordered by the Army that arrived - after the war.
Now stores like Bob's Army/Navy in Orem are biding their time, waiting for Desert Storm camouflage clothing, boots, backpacks and duffle bags to clear the red-tape hurdles and wind up on local shelves."A number of people have asked if we've gotten anything yet." said
Jim Thorne, co-owner and manager. "We anticipate that we probably will."
The wait could be a long one.
Thorne said the process for acquiring Desert Storm gear goes like this:
- Large shiploads, trainloads and truckloads of goods will be sold from the government to large bidding houses on the West Coast.
- Those houses will then have to file through all the paperwork and cut through the red tape of acquisition.
- Then they break those large quantities into smaller quantities to sell.
- After several weeks of changing hands, increased prices and more red tape, Jim Thorne will have Desert Storm goods.
Is it worth it?
"We sell camouflage gear used commercially anyway," Thorne said. "Most military surplus, although a good buy, is not really cheap like people expect. New camouflage gear costs $25 for a pair of pants and $25 per shirt.
"Used is considerably less. I would prefer used," Thorne said. "Used black leather boots are in great demand, and they're already broken in."