The Auction Olympics.
The acquisition troll is on her hamster wheel… churning away, wearing an 80’s style sweatband and leg warmers.
She was the one who suggested I go back, alone– the day after the auction previews, to two, separate auctions… and drive back and forth between the two in order to bid on items of questionable value… then run glassy-eyed to my car and drive back to the other auction while psychically-willing them to not have begun bidding on my next thing.
Paul thought that doing this once would cure me forever. But I guess he does not know me at all.
There were three. Or four. Or five. Or fifty-seven things I wanted to bid on. But the problem with auctions is that they can only give you an estimate of when the item will sell, and depending on any number of factors, you could be waiting a while.
Then, if you take two separate auction houses, each running multiple auctions, all with totally unpredictable and variable timetables… You really have yourself a party.
And my favorite type of party is where you are avoiding doing one thing, while thinking about another, while a separate segment of your brain is juggling flaming knives and encouraging you to run around in circles and then drive over to the other party where you will collect tokens of participation which hold no value but are still somehow meaningful.
You can avoid this problem by leaving an absentee bid on your item… But why would you want to miss out on the party?
Besides, I told myself that I am getting an auction education and that it is important that I have the full experience.
It is likely that this is also what meth addicts tell themselves: that they are mastering a skill.
The first item on my timetable was this enamel bin… it’s actually an old bread box. (I explained my enamel-issues in this post.)
This first auction has four separate auctions running at the same time: two inside, two outside.
One of the auctions outside was nice furniture.
The other outside auction seemed to be trash.
The trash auction made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE to me…There was a large group of people, and they were all really excited about the trash. None of them seemed impatient or weirded out by their peer’s enthusiasm for mungy stuffed animals and plastic cups.
Plus, my expectation that they would auction off each box, and get on with it was wrong. Instead, it was just like there were no rules.
Sometimes they sold four boxes together. Sometimes they sold one dish at a time. After two hours I wanted to bang my head against the asphalt and scream – this is not the best way!
At that point, I considered abandoning my enamel-bin-of-treasure. But the acquisition troll denied the motion. She said – don’t you think you’ve had enough failure in life? We are getting that bin.
I pointed out that more importantly, we did not know what was going on at that other auction 7 miles away, and that was where the really vital item was: the bookcase… The acquisition troll said – you are right. Drive over there and see.
So I did.
In fact, it was SO MUCH FUN… I drove back and forth THREE times.
By 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was numb.
Numb to crowds of people.
Numb to freezing.
Numb to noise.
Numb to considering running off with the attractive neck-tattooed man who was buying all of the Victorian furniture.
I really like neck tattoos. I like them visually, and I like what they say:
• I am comfortable making decisions without thinking things through.
• I might know Jax Teller.
Victory was finally mine in the form of the enamel bin… I paid $12.
I would have hustled right out of there, back to the other auction to bid on the bookcase. EXCEPT that the enamel bin was part of the trash auction and it was auctioned off along with a giant box of canes, some car window/snow scrapers, a couple of tire jacks, some rusty garden tools, and a dish drying rack.
I guess everyone bidding against me wanted the canes or tire jacks because I managed to sell them individually just by saying– does anyone want anything in this box?
I still have two canes, some garden tools, and the dish rack… if anyone is interested.
After holding my own impromptu box-sale, the enamel bin cost me nothing… I even made two dollars. But it ALMOST cost me the bookcase.
By the time I drove back over to the other auction, JUST as I was walking in, I could see that they were AUCTIONING OFF THE BOOKCASE THAT I WANTED.
I started running across the auction floor. Flailing my arms. Like an idiot.
I should explain that this particular auction is the only one I have been to so far where you could actually be confused about what you are bidding on.
Their system involves dragging the item to the middle of the floor… And then moving it progressively towards the loading dock… Even if people are still bidding on it.
Then they bring up the next item, front and center… WHILE THE OTHER ONE IS STILL ACTIVE.
Which is why I was thinking – wow, I am getting a really good deal on this bookcase! Until the guy next to me pointed at the blond, faux-wood, entertainment center being hauled off towards the loading dock… He said– do you know that is what you’re bidding on?
Then I had to flail my arms EXTRA idiotically.
The auctioneer was nice enough to not force me to buy it. Or mock me publicly. But there is nothing quite like standing in front of a large crowd who has just identified you as the dumbest person in the room.
Paul called me right after I won the bookcase… He said– hey, how’s it going?
I said– I ALMOST BOUGHT AN ENTERTAINMENT CENTER FROM 1983!
Paul was quiet. Then he said– should I leave work?
I said– no! Not at all! I HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL!
February 25, 2015 @ 10:10 am
I’m becoming concerned about your new addiction. Do we need to stage an intervention??
February 25, 2015 @ 10:20 am
NO, NO INTERVENTION!!! How will VEB keep us entertained if there is an intervention?
February 25, 2015 @ 10:17 am
Laughing out loud!!! I love your blog, your photos, your decorating style, your writing style…I’m so glad to have a friend who introduced me to you! I even went to the beginning so I could really get to know you. Also, this is not meant to sound quite so stalkery…
February 25, 2015 @ 10:18 am
I absolutely adore you and your madness. I’m living through you. I want to be at the auctions but I’m making an international move and right now I cannot buy anything I don’t want to pay to move across the ocean. Thankfully, through the internet, I’m taking you with me!!! We’re headed from sunny Arizona to very cold Germany.
February 25, 2015 @ 10:18 am
Too funny! You have more resolve than I. Or a MUCH MORE persuasive acquisition troll. I’m glad it all worked out, and these two items have found their rightful home.
February 25, 2015 @ 10:26 am
I love this! You are my hero:) Went to an auction little over a week ago and bought a bronze lion…for $325.00. The adrenaline was pumping – and when we actually got it (because that’s why we went) I wanted to stand up and cheer! Wasn’t planning on spending quite that much though….oh well:)
February 25, 2015 @ 10:26 am
I used to work at Freeman’s auction house…we just LOVED bidders like you. 😉
February 25, 2015 @ 10:39 am
He *could* know Jax Teller.
He could also be from a rival gang who supports their gun running with antiques by shipping them on semi trailers and would kill Jax Teller.
All for the want of a bookcase.
February 25, 2015 @ 10:40 am
Love the image of the acquisition troll wearing 80s style headband and legwarmers! So Flash-dancy!
Linda @ It All Started With Paint
February 25, 2015 @ 10:44 am
And THAT is why I don’t go to auctions. Because I fear I will end up buying the wrong thing. Or spending too much $$$ on the wrong thing! Oh, who am I kidding. I have not room for antiques in my little house!
February 25, 2015 @ 10:49 am
I got into a bidding war at an auction for an antique soup tureen that looked like it matched my china perfectly. Once I got it home, I found out it was a chamber pot. I guess every auction has it’s dummy.
February 25, 2015 @ 5:51 pm
Oh that is too funny!!
February 25, 2015 @ 10:50 am
“Then I had to flail my arms EXTRA idiotically.”
I read your post five minutes ago. I am still laughing. Out loud. With tears rolling down my cheeks! You had me at “It looks like a Kingdom.” and I’ll forever be yours! (Don’t tell my husband!) LOL!
February 25, 2015 @ 10:52 am
Your Paul sounds like an incredible person to allow you to flourish as your true self but to offer leaving work when he thought maybe you’d maybe lost it a bit. I am glad you got the bookcase, its a beauty!
February 25, 2015 @ 10:53 am
OK, V, we need to discuss “negative space.” DB
February 25, 2015 @ 10:53 am
Hahahahahahahahahaha Oh my gosh. Hahaha Your the best.
February 25, 2015 @ 11:13 am
I’m right there with you…with tears in my eyes from laughing…what is it with people who drive all the way out to an auction to bid on boxes of canes and coat hangers, while leaving enamel bread tins, Louis XV chairs, industrial goodness, rockin’ vintage tchotchkes, and such behind? My favorite auction purchases are $1 Adirondack chair that nobody wanted, $.25 (yes, 25 cents) velvet armchair with ornate trim, $11 jack-o-lope, and $4 box of board games because I had to have the “Mystery Date” game to give a girlfriend…remember Mystery Date…you were dreamy eyed for the ski bum, but always got the nerdy dud!
February 25, 2015 @ 11:14 am
I inherited that same bread box; you will get great use out of yours. I keep folded dish towels inside mine. Not sure if it’s a curse or a blessing that you have these wonderful auctions in your area. I often forget how I came to the conclusion of absolutely needing some of the things that I’ve acquired. But, I do need them. Really. It’s true.
February 25, 2015 @ 11:16 am
My brother is an auctioneer. Mostly cattle, farm land, farm equipment, farm tools and farm trucks and what I call ‘old lady farm hoards’. These auctions are amazing for the shear amount of stuff that can fit inside a 3 bedroom house out in the middle of nowhere. I have been to many ‘trash’ auctions and because the guys don’t necessarily like auctioning off these things, and because they take a sweet forever, you have to become friends with the runners. The guys who move the auction along. They travel down the mile long row of tables set up, holding up items for the bidders to see. It does become a party. And you have to party with them to move your item up the row. Most of them will do it because they like the inner-action with the bidders. So next time get friendly with a runner or have Paul get friendly with a runner and just point out things you like and ask them to move them on the table. I also saw a bookcase almost identical to the one you won on my craigslist the other day for $75. And I ignored the call of Craig. And Inquired too late as to its status. And did not get to Win because somebody else Won. And my bookcase Troll needs to step up her game if I ever have a chance of accumulating GFT’s.
Garden, Home and Party
February 25, 2015 @ 11:18 am
You are really getting good at this…maybe you should write a ‘how to’ book for those of us that have never been to an auction! I love the bookcase.
P.S. I love how the mere mention of garden tools in your blog brought up “you might be interested in” the spade you gave away. I love that spade!
February 25, 2015 @ 11:31 am
I’m right on top of that, Rose!
February 25, 2015 @ 11:33 am
You know you are my hero, right? And your husband is an angel! Can he give auction angel lessons to the rest of our husbands?