J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Auctions are not…

BEHIND THE BLOCK: Auctions are not…
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As an auctioneer, I often encounter individuals who are either misinformed or who have come to erroneous conclusions as to what live auctions actually are. Before I explain their true purpose, let me elaborate on what auctions are not…

Auctions are not yard sales.

Auctions are not for used baby clothes or under-inflated basketballs. They are not for console TVs that may someday become aquariums. They are not for piles of James Patterson and Danielle Steel novels. They are not for Tupperware or mismatched tires or obsolete computers. They are not for bundles of unused yarn or heaps of empty canning jars. They are not for polka records or dollar store trinkets. They are not for old magazines preserved in Saran wrap just because their covers feature JFK. They are not for bowling balls or VHS tapes or ashtrays someone’s aunt stole from a Red Roof Inn. Auctions are not yard sales.

Auctions are not landfill alternatives.

Auction companies are not in business to haul away all the junk that didn’t sell at a yard sale. They are not a cleanup crew or a disposal service or an alternative to paying for a dumpster. Garbage is garbage, and it belongs in a landfill, not on the auction block. Auction companies can’t earn commissions from merchandise that no one wants to buy, which brings me to my next point…

Auctions are not for fooling bidders.

I don’t like rhubarb; I despise it. There’s no amount of hoodwinking or cajoling that could ever convince me that I actually don’t hate rhubarb. No one can fool me into liking that vile weed, and no auction company can fool its customers into bidding on rubbish that no one wants anywhere, anyhow. No matter how fancy the picture, not matter how elegant the catalog description, bidders can’t be fooled into competing for an item that has zero value because of its infinite repulsiveness.

What auctions are:

Auctions are designed to present desirable merchandise to the public and generate the highest prices possible for it through the process of competitive bidding. That which does well at auction isn’t always beautiful or even evident; some of it may indeed be ugly or obscure. Much of it is even absurd, but it’s offered on the auction block because it’s recognized as being wanted – not shunned – by many people. Were this not the case, the auction industry would not be the second oldest profession in the world.

There’s far more to being a professional auctioneer than merely marketing merchandise. Each Wednesday, Behind the Block explores the precise methods, the elemental madness, and the intrinsic humanity of the auction industry.