People really need to get it together when it comes to thrift-store donations. Recently, one secondhand store had to ask people to stop donating sex toys. Now, another secondhand shop has captured headlines after it was revealed that someone found an actual human skull for sale on its shelves.
According to the BBC, a Florida anthropologist (yes, of course, it’s Florida) was wandering the aisles of a thrift shop when he happened upon their Halloween section. Amongst an array of gems and crystals sat a skull — not just any ol’ skull, but a human skull.
Curiously, it seems like the owners of the vintage store were aware that the skull was human, but that fact seemed to neither bother them nor stop them from trying to sell it. “We brought everything in, and we start unpacking, and, ‘Oh! There’s a human skull,’” recounts Beth Meyer, a managing partner of Paradise Vintage Market.
“I was selling it for $4,000. I mean, I didn’t know what… It sounded like a good price, and I’d never seen one before, so I figured it was rare,” Meyer laughs.
This is where the store ran into issues. See, the thing about human skulls is that they’re not, in fact, rare. It may surprise you to hear this, but pretty much everyone throughout history has, at one point or another, had a skull in their own head. Wild, right?
An anthropologist was walking by a vintage store in Florida when she spotted something unusual on display: displayed a human skull with a $4,000 price tag. So she called the police.https://t.co/IvhKAU2rAt— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 7, 2023
The problem is that people tend to be pretty touchy about selling human body parts. They’re so touchy, it turns out, that many states have laws preventing people from straight up selling organs, tissues and bones — so if you thought you could flip your femur for a hefty profit, think again.
“Under Florida law, ‘no person shall knowingly offer to purchase or sell ... any human organ or tissue for valuable consideration,’” notes Jake Lapham for BBC News. “The statute covers eyes, corneas, kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, pancreases, bones and skin.”
This isn’t even the only time someone has tried to do this. Back in September, a human skull was found in a donation box at an Arizona Goodwill. At least in both the Florida and Arizona cases, police didn’t suspect any sort of foul play. (A silver lining, I guess?)
So when you’re considering giving away old items, use your head — just don’t donate it.