Most people think of seasons only in terms of climatic changes but there are other seasons to think about as well. One I have in mind starts with the coming of warm weather in most of the rural areas of the country. It’s auction season.
With the advent of online auctions more people than ever have been introduced to, and have caught auction fever. Those types of auctions give the taste of the adventure but not the total experience of a live auction.
In this area, because there are a couple of auction companies, there is the possibility of at least one auction a week. The sales take on a family atmosphere. It is a time to catch up on all the news of family, weather and past auctions. There is talk of the deals that got away and how the last sale you missed was the best of the year.
Sales usually start around mid-morning and last until late in the day. Having been advertised in local papers and fliers, certain more desirable items bring more bidders. These items aren’t sold right away in order to keep people around for more of the sale.
Arriving early is a must. It gives an opportunity to look over the items and make mental notes before the bidding starts. You don’t want to pay too much attention to any one item as to draw someone’s eye that might just be your competition. Registering and getting a bidding number are next and you’re set for the sale to start.
Listening to the singsong rambling of an auctioneer calling an item can almost sound like a foreign language. It isn’t important to listen to all the words. All that matters is to know how much an item is being raised with each bid and of course the final “sold”. Every auctioneer has their own style of calling a sale but certain methods remain the same. Often a number of like items will be sold as “choice”. The winning bidder bids on the first choice of the items and can choose as many of them as they desire at that price. The bidding re-starts on the remaining items and again the highest bidder can choose from those. Eventually the rest are sold for one money takes all.
Most auctioneers start out selling small or low dollar items so everyone can have a chance to get in and get their feet wet. Often these are sold quickly. Once sold, the item is your responsibility. At some outdoor sales the bidding crowd follows the auctioneer down rows of items either on tables or on the ground. You have to keep track of your treasures. Having a friend along that can shuttle goods to your cache is a good idea so you don’t get left out of bidding on the next gem.
Sometimes the best deals can be had at the tail end of the day. People lose interest and are loading their goods. The auctioneer is getting tired. In trying to finish up, things are nearly given away. Bargains as well as junk can be had for those that wait.
There is a type of auction for everyone. Car and estate auctions are advertised in almost any newspaper. In this area farm and livestock sales can be attended most often. The one thing that you won’t find at any sale is a warning sign. A sign should be posted warning about the health risks of auctions. They can be addictive and can lead to sleep loss in anticipation of the next sale. I don’t mind taking that risk…in the spirit of the season.