Tuesday, March 23, 2010
the wisdom of crowds
Today I went to an auction, and not just any auction, but an equipment auction for David's work. Had my eye on some padded envelops...cases and cases of them. Marked #629, auction started with #1...long day ahead.
The crowd was a mixture of "John Burch society" wannabe's, skater boyz and old dudes with nothing else to do. The only other women there were either totally confused about gender or somebodies mom trying to score her boy a cheap laptop. One guy wore complete camo and an elf hat...not sure what category he fit into. Carharts and Michigan jackets were the order of the day.
The auction started with a room full (and I mean FULL) of laptops and they were selling them at a starting bid of $100. Now if everyone would have shut the &*%$ up they could have had them for that, but nooooooo, somebody started bidding against each other and the next thing I know its gotten up to $250. After the first guy 'won' the bid the auctioneer offered the rest at that price...no body said a word, so back to the starting bid again. Figuring they would have learned a lesson from the first go round I thought they would stand mute...nope, bidding stopped at $240...hello??? starting at $100, STFU!!! People!!!
They had some tables I wanted, and waited till afternoon for the bidding. David ran to the bathroom and stopped to talk to the cashier...keeping the bid card with him. All 9 went for $2 and me with no bid card. thanks David!
This went on all day, people bidding against each other for junk. We were there till 2:30, and finally the bidding started for the envelopes. The auctioneer decided he was wasting too much time so lumped them all together in one bid...there were over 100 cases. I had my price for a case, and maybe a skid if I had to... but 100 cases, oh well...let the bidding begin!...lost by $5. There is a day I wont get back. We left with nothing.
I have always been a firm believer in the wisdom of crowds. Making my way in an unfamiliar airport I always followed large groups who seemed to know where they were going. After today's experience I think I need to re-think my beliefs.