Storage Auctions

Never in my life...

Never in my life...
« on: September 11, 2012, 12:32:42 PM »
Tell me if you've ever heard of something similiar to this.

Went to an auction a week ago.  The owner of the facility decided to save money and auction off the units himself. There were very few people in attendance, so I figured I would get a few cheap units. It turned out to be a disaster.

First, the owner started each unit at $1,000.  He then painstakingly went down in increments of a hundred. The units were filled with junk, but it gets better, as he had already went into each unit the night before and wrote all of the contents down on a piece of paper, so when we were looking in the units he read it off. Rumor was that he let people in early to cherry pick the good items on a piece by piece basis. He wrote every bid on a piece of paper, which made the bidding process EXTREMELY slow.  And, of course, there was that one guy there bidding ridiculous amounts on garbage.

It gets better.

I did win one unit. The owner let everyone know beforehand that they discovered a gun in the unit and it was being held by the local police department to get checked out. I have purchased units before with guns, waited for them to get checked out, and done very well with that. I had no problem bidding up to $300 for a pistol and calling the rest of the unit a consolation prize. 

The guy blowing through his cash had spent $600 on a unit filled with tupperware, so I don't think he wanted to chance several hundred on a unit that no one knew if the gun could be taken or not. Needless to say I won the unit for $300.  This didn't go over very well with the storage facility owner, and it was a precursor to what happened two units later.

The last unit, well what ended up being the last unit, was a huge unit filled to the gills with stuff. The owner at this point had stopped reading from his list, as he figured out he was giving out too much info. (I was going to make a play for an earlier unit with a toolbox but he read that there were no tools in the box, duh!)  There was a baby grand piano, a ton of antique furniture, and probably enough merchandise to fill a few trailers. 

He started the bid at $4,000.

He then went to 2k, of course during this all he was ridiculing everyone in attendance, as he had done the entire auction. Saying things like, "Come on you know this stuff is worth more, sheesh" "You guys are even close to what this stuff is worth"  Well someone gave him an offer to open it at $1,000 (which I considered to be too much) and the owner says, "hold on I have to make a call" he then proceeds to pull out his cell phone, call someone, and then hang up.  He looks at the crowd and says,

"Yah we aren't going to sell this one today, you aren't even close to where this needs to be." 

People were a bit upset. There was no discussion of there being a reserve.  After this locker, he decided to stop the auction altogether and not sell the rest of the remaining lockers. 

Of course after the auction the guy that won like 5 lockers was cleaning out a locker next to mine. His dad says, "Yah, my son just got into this a few weeks ago. He's going to go bid. He bought this 20 foot trailer and he's just buying merchandise right now. He's going to start a store pretty soon. He's been researching this stuff for a few months now.  I ask, "Researching?" Yah, he's been watching those shows on television and digging around on the internet.  Oh....boy.....  He then proceeded to tell me what everything in my locker was worth.  He notices my shirt that has the name of my store on it and asks, "oh, you have a store, have you done this before?" I reply with, "Yes, we have two locations, and I've done this a time or two." That didnt' seem to stop him from throwing out advice on old jeans because he knew they were worth money from an episode he saw on storage wars.  Ugh.

Anyone ever deal with a storage facility owner like this one before?

Re: Never in my life...
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 01:52:37 PM »
Wow~that is just nuts!!  Don went to one where he was the only attendee.  Still couldn't grab a locker cheap as the manager wanted what was owed.  Don did do that for one locker and it ROCKED!!  But other than that.....nothing even close.

As far as people that know it all......egads I hate them.  Had a lady over the other day (have dealt with her before on antiques).  She was basically pickin our yard (we encouraged her too) and she saw a copper lamp shade on a (full size) saddle lamp.  She asked how much and Don told her we wouldn't take less than $250 on it.  She then said that the shade was just tin made to look like copper.  Don just about blew a gasket and explained that "no.  It wasn't. It was in fact a solid sheet copper shade that my wife (me) had hand-punched and crafted."  Her response was a rather snotty 'well....still that is too much.'  I piped in at that point to let her know that set-ups like that are currently residing in NY, Chicago, Oregon and Montana and they paid the full retail of over $450.

her time was cut a bit short as everything we showed her she either could not use or too costly.....she did manage to drop $300 while here, but I can assure you.......she will not be invited back any time soon~sometimes life is just too short to deal with HER kind~~~ ::)

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Re: Never in my life...
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2012, 02:33:04 PM »
Yea, Ive seen all manner of nonsense like you described before, except the part about writing down the bids as they are being called out.

Many a storage facility have tried multiple tricks for cashing in on the storage auction craze and getting the "newbies" to come loose with the money.

One of the top "tricks of the trade" down here is to put empty gun case in plain sight of the door, and watch the bidding go thru the roof.

I also really enjoy (sarcasm) the facilities that call for an auction, have everybody come out, then have the owner of the facility bid on and win all the units. (Just take posession of the darn things if you wanna play that game, most likely no one will know you didn't hold a public auction).

Also have dealt with the "minimum reserve" units in the thousands, and the owners who call out all the stuff just to see if they can jack up the bidding.

Have even seen owners reject the maximum bid, not because it didn't reach the amount owed on the unit, but because they have determined that the retail value of the property in a unit is worth $xxxx and the highest bid was $xxx. Can't imagine how a business owner doesn't understand that re-sellers have their own business expenses and can't re-sell the stuff for retail prices, but some of these storage facility owners are so crooked & greedy they don't care.

Re: Never in my life...
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 11:12:00 PM »
The last auction I was at I started talking to a regular that I had been to a previous auction with. She had purchased a really nice unit and I asked her how she had done on it. She started telling me about her story.

This facility does all of its auctions by the manager. She is a really nice lady but she doesn't ever give any extra time to clean out units as she has them rented out before the auction. I have bought two units from them and they didn't looked picked through in any way.

So this regular, Kathy, wins the bid on the unit and get everything cleaned out. When Kathy takes the personals to the office in a box the young girl at the counter starts asking her which side of the unit the things came out of. This sets off alarm bells in Kathys head. She asks to speak to the manager who isn't there. She gets a phone call the next day. The manager explains that she needed a unit to rent so they (the facility) combined two units together. Kathy explained all of the legal ramifications to her and to make a long story short the facility returned all of Kathys money and she got to keep the inventory.

Neither one of us feel that the manager was trying to pull a fast one but she really needs to get a lawyer when she wants to do something she knows nothing about.

You just never know what weird stuff might happen when the auctions are done by the facility and not a professional auctioneer. Not that I always like how the pros work.


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