I’ve been going on and on for a while about how I’d like to bid on something at an auction. I’m scared of them for some reason—even eBay! So the other day after spotting the above table in the catalog for Leslie Hindman’s August 13 Marketplace auction, I mustered up the courage to go for it. OK, to be honest, a coworker of mine—an auction vet—shoved the phone-bid form in my hand and basically forced me to fax in the darn thing. I didn’t have much to lose. The estimated value of the table was $40 to $80. My max was $50.
“They’ll probably call you and say, ‘We have an opening bid of $70,’ and then you can just say, ‘No thanks,’” my coworker said encouragingly. She also gave me a tip: “Don’t choose a round number like $50 or $100 for your limit; make it $55 or $110, because a lot of people have a round number in mind, and will drop out at that point. You’ll be mad at yourself if you stop at $50 and someone else gets it for just a few dollars more.”
The next morning at 10:30, a polite gentleman from Leslie Hindman called, and from there on, it’s all a blur. I think he confirmed that I was indeed Gina Bazer, that I wished to bid by phone, that my lot would soon be up. In the background, I heard voices. It was the bidding process for the item preceding mine–“We have $400. Do we hear $425?” I thought, forget it, I’m out of this game. But then my turn came, and the nice man said, “We’re opening at $40. Would you like to bid $40?” And I said yes. There was some rumbling, and then suddenly I heard, “Congratulations. Someone from our accounting department will contact you later in the day.” What? That was it? The table was mine? I felt like I had won on a game show, which is exactly how my friend told me she feels when she gets her pick. The other nugget of info she shared a tad too late—since I was the only bidder, I probably could have gotten that table for $20! Oh, well. Bid and learn.
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