Consumer Corner – January 16, 2012

CONSUMER CORNER

by

Mo & No-Mo

Saturday Night Auction

Saturday Night Auction

OBSERVATION: As the crime grows in our communities, have you noticed that our police department is reporting less and less of what is going on in our little town? What happened to transparency? What do they have to hide, or what are they ashamed of? Only through visibility, openness and honesty can we, as citizens, form any kind of trust with our law enforcement in this town.

Shhhhh! This week we are going to take a sneak peek at one of the best kept secrets in this town — the Saturday night auction. This little gold mine of fun and entertainment has long been one of those subjects only spoken of in whispers just to protect this diamond in the rough.

With the sun starting to fall behind the trees, you turn off Highway 69 into the Columbus Fairgrounds and pass through the gate. Looking to the left, you notice a relatively small white cinder block building with warped, bent, dented and rusting metal doors. There are a few cars parked here and there, so you think you have wasted your time coming out here… but since you have gone to the trouble of coming all this way, let’s go in and see what it’s all about.

As you get out of your car, you can hear the faint murmuring of people talking, and then you hear the unmistakable sound of an auctioneer talking so fast you really can’t understand what he is saying. Hmm, this sounds interesting. We walk over to the small metal door by the giant doors and push. We are met with an atmosphere of family. Little groups of people sit around visiting and talking among themselves, while watching what is going on at the front of the building.

The front of the building, to my left, is a kind of raised stage with a bright light overhead. There is the auctioneer giving his schpeel, as he and his helpers look for bids on the going item. Sitting next to him is what I would loosely term his secretary. Immediately in front of him is a table where assistants display the item being auctioned at that time. This looks really interesting, so we take seats at the back to observe this popular phenomenon.

Right off the bat, I’m so confused I don’t know what is being sold, and I don’t understand how they can tell who is bidding? I watch the audience, and after several minutes I’m beginning to differentiate the old-timers from the newbies. Just like on TV, you see some just nod their heads and the bid goes up. Wow, these guys are good! I start to get excited and want to join in. After acquiring a card with my number on it, I sit back down with a totally different outlook on things now — I’m one of them!!!

Let me stop right now to assure you that the merchandise is just what you expect — some is junk and some is treasure. If you have questions, just ask — everyone is willing to help — it’s like one big happy family. I’m still mad at myself for passing up that brand new Maytag dishwasher that went for $20. Yep, still wrapped, never been unpacked. I’m told deals like this are not every week, but they do come along frequently. As a novice, I raised the bid, and was laughingly told everybody does it at least once. The auctioneer helps you out; he recognizes a newbie and is extremely patient.

The crowd is diverse: doctors, lawyers, librarians, mechanics, farmers — people from all walks of life. Children are laughing and playing with each other on the outskirts of the crowd, always in plain sight of their parents. I want to take a minute to share a hint: if you plan on staying for any length of time or are planning a return visit, bring your own lawn chair or a cushion for the metal chair. Those folding metal chairs will make you walk funny if you spend very much time in them. As we get up to leave, I am astounded to realize the crowd has steadily grown throughout the night, and when I walk outside, I’m surprised to find the parking lot overflowing with cars.

Food and drinks are available at the concession stand. The chili cheese fries seem to be popular, and after trying them I know why — YUM. Prices are reasonable, and the food is good; you can’t beat that.

So, if you are looking for something fun and different to do on a Saturday night, put on your most comfortable pair of jeans and come on down to the fairgrounds, check out the Saturday Night Auction and join in the fun.

If you have a local business or establishment you would like us to consider for review, please e-mail us at consumercorner@realstorypublishing.com. You will get our honest opinion of the business, our personal customer satisfaction, and the services offered. We strive for fair, unbiased reports…so we hope to hear from you!

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