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The auction

The auction - Shane Steele

Last night, for the first time in my life, I went to a physical auction. A friend on mine is a regular customer, and he asked me to join him. The only bidding I've done so far, was online, on sites like: eBay, Amazon, Ubid and Quibid.

I was intrigued and accepted his invitation. After work, I went to meet him. The auction was taking place on Ontario Street, on a small shop. I arrived there earlier, and while I was waiting for my friend, I lit a cigarette and had couple of steps, looking at the nearby shops.

Bidding at a physical auction, offered a totally different feeling. After attending last night’s experience, I am able to say that virtual auctions are missing the vibe, the buzz. It is far more enjoyable to buy things you can actually touch, smell, or feel, than just looking at a photo or reading its description.

What I also liked was that the buyers had the possibility to socialize. There I met characters I will never meet or come across, outside the auctioneer's doors. I may call these people bizarre, eccentric, weird, and still words will not be able to describe them completely. I saw them in full action when the bidding started. Before that, everyone walked around, inspected the items, and checked their lists, hoping they’d get a good deal.

There were over two hundred items in the auction. Couple of pieces of old furniture, two mirrors, a rocking chair, dozens of paintings and prints, a plethora of strange Knick knacks, and many others.

My friend was interested in an awning, which was listed for twenty dollars. After I had a look at it, I thought it was not worth the price. But my friend explained it was a retractable vintage awning. His father used to have the same model of awning montreal, back in the days when he had the Dunn’s Elio Pizzeria.

Throughout the evening I was able to observe all those people bid, conceal their own bid, try to guess how much the others will pay. In my novice eyes, it all looked like a poker game.

It was a unique experience for me to be there last night. Not often I get to see fifty people inside the same room, throwing big money on weird, useless things. The most ridiculous purchase I witnessed yesterday was a silverfish mermaid belt buckle. The price on its tag was ten dollars, but since it was coveted by so many, the selling price was two hundred and fifty three dollars. It was outrageous! Me, I wouldn't have paid more than five dollars for that trinket. 

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