My friend Sheena and I headed over to Crumpton, MD last Wednesday to check out Dixon’s Auction. I had been there twice in the past (the first time I did not bid, the second time I made George bid on an item that no one else was bidding on–it was a mirror that I gave to my brother and I’m pretty sure it ended up in the trash.)
When we arrived we made the mistake of going into the main building first. While an Amish-run restaurant and some other Amish eating/food options are housed there it also contains the small items auction. Tables fill the main floor area and people are crowded around what looks to be a golf cart/trolley of sorts that sits high above everyone. There’s the man calling the auction and a woman recording winning bidders and prices and another woman who holds up single and small groups of items from the tables. The caller was speaking so fast that the words all morphed into a single long sound–it sounded much like how I would imagine speaking in tongues would sound. It also became apparent that almost everyone bidding was a regular–the caller would refer to them by name which made the whole thing even more intimidating.
We decided to head over to the office to see if we had to pre-register. The lovely lady behind the desk must have detected my fright as she waved me over and kindly walked me through the process. “…You can bid outside with cash, just wave your hand and they will come over for you to pay them.” We emerged from the main building into the bright sunlight with a bit of renewed excitement. Heading over to the first of three fields I sighed in relief when I could actually make out the prices the caller was saying. The auction was in process, the caller was in a (regular height) golf cart/trolley driving up and down the aisles of furniture and assorted lots, never really stopping for too long. We browsed the items and I saw a really nice Chicken Nesting Box (which I of course I would have no use for that involved chickens) but it was too deep and then we found another similar box that was smaller but really dirty. Sheena went to open a drawer on a neat old desk and the knob came off in her hand, she casually stuck it back on–no bids from us.
We then went towards the second field which had a bit more of a hodge-podge of lots. Smaller items and more non-furniture stuff. There was an air hockey table, an old console TV, a crate of old phones, a pile of scrap metal, scaffolding, (which I turned to Sheena and asked, do you think they are auctioning that off? which of course they were, why else would it be there?)
Stick with me here, we are getting closer to the part where I finally try to bid on something.
Field three, across the highway was the final field and we probably missed about half the items. From what we could tell, folks brought moving trucks filled with items to auction and as the auction progressed they would pack up items that weren’t bid on and move the trucks in closer to the remaining items.
Sheena: Did she just pay $70 for two mattress/boxspring sets?
Me: Yeah, that is gross, they are laying in the dirt
Sheena: Not to mention they are used mattresses
The first item I decided to bid on was a double outdoor sink, it looked a bit like a stock tank and was on a stand. I was thinking I could use it to display my cards when I sell at craft fairs. I did a few casual passes and picked it up to see how heavy it was (easily moved by one person) and it had wheels. I soon realized one very important thing: If you want something, chances are that someone else is going to want it too, even if it seems like no one is interested.
In this case, she wanted it more then I did, 170 bucks more then I did. I didn’t even have a chance to bid before the price went above my max. I was pissed and even more pissed when she couldn’t lift it by herself (she was fairly young and should have been able to move it alone,) and I didn’t like her hat.
I shook it off and we decided to head back to the main building to grab some Amish pretzels and lemonade. The other item/s (two small wooden winged tables) I wanted to bid on was in the last row so we had some time. We also decided to move the truck closer to the field so ‘when’ I won we wouldn’t have to lug them across the highway.
Sheena: You got this
Me: I don’t know, that lady with the stupid hat is hovering
Sheena: No, she totally wants that iron patio furniture
Me: I hope so, look at that old lady though–she seems interested….she is manhandling it
Sheena: You got this
I’ll spare you the part about the guy who decided to start talking to me about tattoos when the trolley was approaching, I guess he couldn’t tell I was focused. Again, the bidding rose pretty fast and I didn’t have a chance to bid–although this time at 90 bucks the caller looked at me and said: 100? I shook my head no and walked away with nothing but a pretzel and some lemonade (which all told is not too bad, it could have gone way worse.)