When you are in a hobby or a business for any length of time you start to notice patterns and trends. The antique’s scene is no stranger to a slew of odd fellows, sellers and buyers alike. Since we are both by default I wanted to touch on the whacky world of buyers.
The last road trip we took was to hit an enormous estate sale. The estate sale featured a house full, an antique store full, and storage units full of old treasures. Upon arrival we were given a number and told to stand in line, and they allowed the first 50 shoppers to free for all -claim what you can- with your buyer stickers. It was like Black Friday, but with old men. Same level of brutality, I saw 3 people literally hit the floor and fall down within the first 30 seconds of madness, and nary a glance from 90% of the other crazed shoppers. I have no idea how dad and I procured enough items to fill the trailer without being seriously injured.
I am way off track with what I wanted to cover here. Go figure. I wanted to cover what goes on when we go to auctions. I have noticed a few “types” of bidders. I will categorize them below:
The Territorial Dog: We all know what a territorial dog does right? Hikes it’s leg and pees on stuff to claim it before anyone else can… Yea that happens at auctions, every time. A lovely lady or gentlemen that has a mission, and it is to buy anything and everything before the others have the time to figure out they actually want it, or can afford it. They will jack every price up to the moon and back and still take off with it while everyone else is left scratching their heads. You have money. We get it. You can still merchandise your store, expand your personal collection, or whatever it is you do, without commandeering the entire operation.
The Nervous Nancy: They have their bidder card, they want to take a stab at an item, but they just can’t manage to get their arm to extend up far enough to fully bid on it. Sometimes they give their wrist a little lift, but soon jerk back and retract the thought. Eventually they might muster up the courage to fork out a full fledged bid, and they may get lucky enough to drag a piece or two home, but nothing substantial. They are usually snuffed out very quickly by any nearby “Territorial Dog” bidders.
The Tortoise and the Hare: Sometimes the last category “Nervous Nancy”, will evolve into this category. They start the auction off slow, barely even trying to bid on any items. They slowly yet surely pick up pace and morph into bidding machines. I typically fall into this category. Mainly because I spend the first hour or so people watching before I get into a groove.
The Snack Pack: “There’s an auction in here? Right now? I just came for the free coffee and donuts”. Nom nom nom. I have personally witnessed several folks doing exactly this, with zero intentions of even attempting to bid on a thing. Once they get full, or bored, they leave and give the rest of us some extra breathing room.
The Jekyll and Hyde: Typically this would be a married couple. Depending on the type of items running through the auction one or the other is bid happy while the other is bid un-happy. She wants to buy, and he wants to die. His wallet cries as she flings that bidder card up over, and over, and over. Sometimes it is the other way around, the husband is buying left and right and the wife is visibly irritated. “There’s no more room for your kind of crap, give me that bidder card!”. They will usually go home with a lot of items, and many of said items will be purchased simply in spite of eachother.
I believe that sums up a good portion of what goes on at the auctions. What kind of bidder are you?