Auction Buying Demystified (part2)

An Insider’s guide to the parlor tricks auctions use to separate you &  your money.

In part 1, I reviewed the 4 very simple auction facts that most insiders don’t want you to know.

They are:

  1. Auctions are designed to sell stuff. All. The. Stuff. Good, bad and even really bad stuff.
  2. Auctions are designed to sell items for more, not less, than it’s really worth.
  3. Auctions are designed to confuse you into making bad decisions and mistakes.
  4. Auctions are designed to get as much of your money as fast as possible with no possibility that you can ever get it back. (This is all done completely transparently and 100% legally.)

In part 2, I’ll expose these top 4 auction secrets that net more and more pigeons every day. Here’s the good news. After you read this article, you’ll trade in your pigeon wings to some other sucker standing next to you who didn’t read it.

Let’s start with the basics…

(1) Auctions are designed to sell stuff. All the stuff. The good, bad and even really bad, stuff.

All the Stuff
All the Stuff.

The main purpose of any action is to sell all the stuff. This includes all the good stuff, but what we’re concerned with here is all the bad stuff (I’m talking about the broken, manufacturer is out of business stuff). The next priority is to get the most money possible for the stuff on sale. The more bidders bidding the better the chances that the seller will obtain higher bids.

All auctions are comprised of good and bad stuff. The good stuff is purposely dispersed evenly among all the bad stuff (filler) to keep as many people engaged for as long as possible. Unfortunately for you, they don’t have tags or any sign saying what’s good and what’s bad. Mixing the good and bad stuff together assures a steady stream of bidders from the beginning to the very end of the auction.

Inherently, as the auction progresses and there are fewer items left to be sold, people start to wander off or have spent their budgets on items auctioned earlier. In general, you’ll find that fewer people stay to bid on items near the end of the auction. It is for this reason that I have found that the best buys can usually be had in the final 1/2 of an auction. There are less people bidding than at the start of the auction so there will be less competition for the goodies that remain.

Moving On…

(2) Auctions are designed to sell items for more, not less, than it’s really worth.

While many items may look alright on the auction floor, many are not. Items in actions are sold “as-is, where is.” In other words, you are buying the item where it stands as  it stands.

Broken Radio
They can’t auction things that don’t work right?

Let me restate this because it is one of the most important things to realize about auctions. You are buying an item in the condition it’s presented. Nothing extra is implied here. Don’t assume it runs, is complete, or even contains all the parts and components. If complex items are not clearly specified as working or with some assurance all of the pieces are there – beware.   If an item is not accessible to be fully inspected by you or a professional on your behalf before purchase, Walk Away! Let the pigeons feed on the  junk.  You’re after the jewels.

The key thing to remember is that items that are often broken, burned out, damaged, incomplete, don’t fit your intended purpose or have mismatched component parts are usually displayed to look tip top.  Auction terms of sales are pretty boiler plate in that they offer little to no wiggle room. You need to know the rules if you want to play the game. Failure to read or understand the fine print can and will cost you dearly. Do your home work. Read and understand the terms of the auction before not after you start bidding. Let me say it again. There are no returns and there are no exceptions to those rules should you change your mind once you buy an item.

Let’s talk about human nature…

(3) Auctions are designed to confuse you into making bad decisions and mistakes.

Auctions are designed to confuse and deceive you into making bad decisions. Let me be clear here. This process isn’t illegal or dishonest, It’s all part of the game of which the auctioneer is a master at playing. They do this by taking you out of your comfort zone. The auctioneer’s job is to do everything they can to pressure you into making decisions faster than you would normally feel comfortable making. Tactics they use to accomplish this include: talking faster and louder than normal, forcing a sense of urgency, and hyping the appeal of an item up for bid.

Using an auctioneer’s roll call (a series of fast chatter of words much of which is not even understandable), is a trick as old as time to get you to part with your cash. The auctioneer is standing up front rolling off syllables at lightning speed and if you’re bidding, he keeps pointing at you. All the while, the price creeps steadily higher. Who wouldn’t feel a little pressure with potentially hundreds of other people watching?

These tricks induce a sense of urgency in order to get you react impulsively rather than logically. Most of the time, when people rush into impulsive decision making they make mistakes, lose their concentration and agree to pay prices they normally might not in a normal environment.

Summing it up…

(4) Auctions are designed to get as much of your money as fast as possible with no possibility you will ever get it back.

Think about it. The auctioneer is screaming through a megaphone speaking 90% gibberish while the people you are bidding against are trying to stay disguised so as not be recognized by the other bidders. Meanwhile, you and these secret bidders are engaged in what amounts to a public contest of wills – none of you are quite sure who is winning, but you all keep bidding higher because everybody is watching and the auctioneer keeps looking at you and…holy **** did he just say “Going Once, Going Twice…” he’s going to sell it and you’re going to lose it! Going, going…oh hell…one more bid…

“SOLD To Bidder Number #YOU#!”  .. Oh my goodness.. what did I just do?

Don’t be a Pigeon

Just look at that process. This is deception and exaggeration all rolled into one for the sole purpose of getting you to pay more than you would normally pay and for an item you might not even buy in a more reasonable circumstance. Once that auctioneer says sold and points to you, the sale is final with no refunds or returns as stated in the terms and conditions you agreed to.  You know, the terms that say you are responsible for the dismantling and removal costs, the 6% sales tax and additional 15% buyer’s premium on top of what you just bid.  You know, that flyer that had all that small print that you didn’t really read.  Flyer.. like in “pigeon!”  Just say’in 

So do you still think auctions are for amateurs?

In part 3, I’ll reveal some insider secrets that will give you the tools you need to compete with and beat other guys and put auctioneers at a disadvantage at their own game.

This is Part 2 in a three-part series about auction buying secrets.  To view the other two parts, please use the links below.

Auction Buying Demystified – Part 1

Auction Buying Demystified – Part 3

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