The two-day sale kicked off Friday at a Sacramento warehouse, with hundreds lining up for deals on cars, computers and collectibles. Many arrived hours before the gate opened at 8 a.m., walking past a "Terminator" mannequin on the way in.
An auctioneer sold vehicles by the minute under a crowded tent in the parking lot behind the warehouse. SUVs, vans and California Highway Patrol cruisers
- all were being moved off the state's inventory for just a few thousand dollars each.
"Welcome to our garage sale," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told reporters during a tour of the warehouse. "As you know, we're trying to raise some extra money here, getting rid of the old stuff we don't use anymore."
Schwarzenegger decided to clear some of the state's clutter after ordering the state's fleet of 40,000 vehicles cut by 15 percent. The celebrity governor added his autograph to 15 car visors and four patrol motorcycles in hopes of fetching more money.
State officials are hoping the sale of 600 state-owned vehicles and 6,000 pieces of office furniture, computers, electronics and other items will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their expectations were exceeded Friday when the first day's sales reached an estimated $1 million, said State and Consumer Services Agency spokeswoman Erin Shaw. The sale ends Saturday.
At the time Schwarzenegger signed the order, California faced a projected $26 billion deficit. The state has since passed a budget with billions of dollars in cuts to schools and colleges, prisons and health care for the poor.
The governor, making an appearance before going to Boston to attend memorial services for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, greeted shoppers in line to pay for computer parts, printers and office furniture. He thanked them for showing support for California and slipped on a leather jacket with the governor's seal for a photo op. The Schwarzenegger-signed jacket was put on eBay with a $1,000 starting bid.
Brian Wallace, 61, a systems administrator for a nonprofit in Sacramento, waited to buy a box of video conference equipment.
"This box is $23, and I'm sure I'll get more than $23 worth of usable parts out of it," Wallace said. "If that camera works alone, it's probably worth $150 to $200."
While many shoppers were looking for practical items, others were on the hunt for collectibles. The state was clearing out some items that had been sitting in storage for years. The Department of Motor Vehicles towed out eight vintage scales that doubled as fortune teller machines.