ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Thousands of bargain hunters snatched up everything from all-terrain vehicles to animal shampoo on the first day of an Alaska-size garage sale offering gear from the Exxon Valdez cleanup.

Locals grumbled that out-of-town businessmen with plenty of money in their pockets and a need to justify their jaunts to Alaska helped drive up prices Tuesday.

''It's a feeding frenzy,'' said Butch Johnson, a fisherman in search of nets who lives in the Prince William Sound fishing community of Cordova.

Everything on the opening-day block was sold, including a plane, mobile homes, TV sets and cat box filler, used to provide traction on oily beaches.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers International of Vancouver, British Columbia, bought the leftover equipment from Exxon Corp. last month for untold millions.

The auction company won't say how much it expects to make, but officials said they collected $3.8 million Tuesday.

Many items were grouped in lots, about 5,000 of them.

''A sale like this only comes around once in a lifetime,'' said Rod Meeks, an Anchorage aviation mechanic who bought two outboard motors for $3,250. ''You really realize the size of the spill by all the garbage that came out of it.''

The four-day sale continues through Friday at various sites. The items up for sale today include 10 cars, 51 trucks, six buses, heavy equipment such as forklifts and more marine supplies.

Many in the crowd complained prices were too high. Some people were upset about having to buy in lots. Microwave ovens were clumped with animal shampoo, for example.

Anchorage businessman Brian Watson, looking for equipment for his water purification company, expressed awe at sky-high pallets around him.

''The magnitude of this - and all because one ship blew it big,'' he said.

The Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound in March 1989 and spewed nearly 11 million gallons of crude in the nation's biggest oil spill.

Exxon crews worked two summers to clean up the mess and plan to return next spring for a shoreline survey. Exxon officials said they didn't sell any equipment that could be used for additional cleanup.

Parked cars lined the roads for miles in all directions and Ritchie Bros. ran shuttle buses to the auction. An auctioneer in a booth atop a truck sold rows of all-terrain vehicles and aluminum skiffs, pallet after pallet of brand-new fishing nets and such things as life jackets, tables and chairs.

There was more inside a hangar, including outdoor thermometers and clothing.

A 1966 DeHaviland Beaver seaplane with an old Esso tiger painted on its tail and uncertain salt-water wear sold for $435,000. New, the plane would cost about $700,000, said several air-taxi company officials in the crowd.

Four used, nothing-special TV sets sold for a total of $2,000. Exxon used the TVs and videocassette recorders, also for sale, to show training tapes.

''Prices are way out of line. The people we know - the fishermen - aren't buying anything. They're just shaking their heads,'' said a Kodiak fisherman who wouldn't give his name.