J. Bear Savo

BEHIND THE BLOCK : ‘Do you sell stuff here or…?’

BEHIND THE BLOCK : ‘Do you sell stuff here or…?’
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Carlo and I were working in the auction gallery when a curious woman entered. She approached my brother and said to him, “Do you sell stuff here or…?”

My brother waited for her to finish her question, but nothing more was offered. Carlo nodded, “Well, yeah. That’s what we do here. We sell stuff at auction.”

The conversation continued for about another minute and accomplished nothing. The woman left, and Carlo returned to his tasks with a cry of, “Or… WHAT?”

“Excuse me?” I entreated.

“How would you finish that sentence?” He asked me to fill in the blank. “‘Do you sell stuff here or…’ what?”

Do you sell stuff here?” can be classified as a silly question, but can also be explained by remembering that some people are hesitant to make assumptions or draw conclusions without gathering all the information. However, the addition of the conjunction “or” and the pause adds a level of comedy to the question, implying that we do something other than sell the inventory that is on our sales floor. Therefore, I have come up with the following plausible completions to this dangling query, hoping to assuage Carlo’s bewilderment.

Do you sell stuff here or…

  • are you some kind of pervert?
  • is this a wild chattel refuge?
  • do you mulch it?
  • are you building a rebel army?
  • do you just pimp it out by the hour?
  • is this some kind of cult?
  • are you playing house?
  • is this a personal property petting zoo?
  • is this a paintball range?
  • are you conducting secret research?
  • are you gathering goods for the Illuminati?
  • is this some kind of trap?
  • is this an abused collectible shelter?
  • is this a front for Project Cadmus?
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.