Saturday 29 March 2014

The Auction

I have an addiction.
Since going into business for myself and leaving the daily grind behind,
most days bring something new into my experience.
Different places, different people, and different adventures.

I need this.
I need to experience more.
I need to learn more.
And the world rarely disappoints.

In our quest to acquire tools and equipment for our business,
we've had to do our best to keep costs down by bargain hunting.
Online classifieds have been excellent,
but the ultimate bargain hunting can be had at an auction.

I had never been to an auction before.
So my friend Carmen Lee took me to a farm auction,
so I could get a first-hand look at what it's all about.
A full-on, fast paced, country auction.

This was a farm dispersal auction.
The owner retired and has sold the farm.
So everything must go.
Absolutely everything.

There were boxes of hardware.
Hammers and shovels.
Half-full jugs of herbicide.
Firearms, furniture, farm machinery, 
and pitchforks...lots of 'em.
And so much more.

It felt savage to rummage through someone's possessions,
picking through piles for some bit of treasure or valuable antique.
But the fervour was hard to deny.
The greatest challenge is to keep from buying too much 'stuff'.
It was hard not to imagine my own lifetime's worth of valuables being auctioned off to a rabid flurry of eager bargain hunters.

Before I knew the reason for the auction, 
I wondered if it was a foreclosure.
A failed personal economy,
fed to the wolves to satisfy the greedy banks.
It wasn't the case today, but I had a frightening glimpse of what it could look like;
Hordes of scavengers scrapping for the leftover bits.

The auctioneer was Doug Mitchell.
He was funny, kind, and helpful.
And yes, he called the bids as fast as you can imagine.
It's a blur at first, but you don't need to keep up.
The auctioneer sweeps you into the bidding.
The excitement is heart stopping.

Even with rugged characters, the mud and biting wind,
there was style and culture at the auction;
Tradition and savvy.
And camaraderie; even amidst the bidding rivalry.

Before having been to the auction,
I imagined it as is; a market style.
But an auction is more than that,
It is a cultural experience,
not to be missed out on.


  1. I recall years ago (as a chef) going to a livestock auction with a local butcher I bought from who invited me along. And your words above are a perfect description. It truly is something everyone should experience. Even in moments of competitive bidding there is comradarie and kindness. There is a sense of community at these events that you will not find in the subsurbs or the city. If you go once, you won't be shy the next time the opportunity comes about, you'll actually look forward to it.

  2. Appreciated your description of the auction experience. I have been going to auctions for years, and never tire of it. I'm not sure if it's the
    excitement of the quest for that special item (tool in my case), the adrenalin rush of bidding, or just the entertainment factor of observing human interaction at such an event. It was good to see you today Andrew, as we both ended up at the farm to pick up our auction purchase. Hope the item serves your business well and all the best to you and your family as you pursue your vision.