Silent Auctions: A Lesson In Getting What You Want

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Have you ever experienced the sheer delight of getting something that you really want?  Something that you see and just have to have?  Doesn’t it just fill you with happiness when you finally do get it?

Yesterday, the 5K that I ran in–my third of the year–was immediately followed by a festival.  The whole event benefitted foster children in the local area and there were so many post-race activities, I found it hard to leave.  While young girls showed off their clogging skills and reptiles were exhibited to excited animal lovers, there was a kids area, complete with a rock wall and inflatable obstacle courses, and plenty for the adults, including merchandise and charity booths, food trucks, and my personal favorite, silent auctions.

I love silent auctions!

For those of you unfamiliar with the idea, a silent auction is usually a collection of goods and services that people can bid on.  Much like a regular auction, there is a minimum bid and each bid must go up by a certain increment.  However, unlike a regular auction that happens live and rather quickly, silent auctions take place on paper until a certain time, so if you want an item, you better be prepared to make a very high bid or hover over it ready to up a bid if someone places one above yours.  It really comes down to how badly you want it and how much you are willing to do to get it.

Well, this silent auction did not disappoint.  I have never seen so many items up for sale at once at one of these events before.  Granted, I have only ever been to one other silent auction, but comparatively speaking, this one was a double decker bus and the other one was a Smart Car.  We’re talking huge difference.  There were plane tickets, consulting services, electronics, guitars signed by country superstars, spa packages, restaurant gift cards, you name it.  I must have gone around that tent a dozen times looking at everything that was offered, but I knew what I wanted.  I knew it the moment I saw it.

I didn’t waste any time bidding on the “Let’s Get Cookin'” gift basket that contained kitchen items as well as a cooking class at a local school I had been eyeing for the last month, but whose classes were a bit too far out of my budget.  There was already one bid when I got there and I quickly upped the ante with the required $10 increment.

Then I looked at the rules.  The auction didn’t end for another two hours.

I had a choice: I could either up my bid to the max I would pay for this dream set or I could wait it out, casually checking the bids as the end got closer.  I chose to wait.

I filled the time with games of Candy Crush and Words with Friends, checking out the charity booths, getting to know a very adorable and affectionate chihuahua, and chatting with my mom on the phone.  After getting up at 6am and running the 5K, I was tired and ready for a shower.  I was also starving.  I didn’t think to bring any cash with me to the event and I assumed, whether correctly or not I’ll never know, that the food trucks didn’t take credit cards.  Despite my exhaustion and hunger, I was bound and determined to get that basket.

Two people had outbid me while I wandered around, but I rectified that with a bid $40 over the last one.  And then I hovered.

I waited and waited for the end of the auction to come.  I was ready to be declared a winner and get the heck out of there.  Five minutes before the auction closed, I headed over and decided to wait it out close enough to my item to keep an eye on it, but out of the way of potential bidders.  Many people stopped and looked at it, but no one made any other offers and when the volunteers declared the auction over, I knew my last bid was the winning bid.

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The Silent Auction Queen strikes again!

There is more to this story than winning an auction; it’s about wanting something and taking an active role in getting it.

Sure I could have just put in one bid and walked away, but I would have walked away empty-handed because I was outbid. No, I found something I wanted, made the effort to obtain it, and kept an eye on it until it was mine.

The same is true in life. No one ever got anything or anywhere they wanted by being passive and waiting for life to happen. The greatest success stories are about folks who fight like hell for what they want and stop at nothing to get it. Sure, obstacles and higher bids may get in the way, but you have a choice. Do you let them stop you or do you keep going?

The choice is yours.

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9 thoughts on “Silent Auctions: A Lesson In Getting What You Want

  1. jansenschmidt says:

    I too like silent auctions. I’ve gotten many a fine gift that way. I’m glad you got what you wanted. A cooking class sounds like a lot of fun. I trust you’ll blog about your experience?

    And good for you for running the 5K.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    Congrats on the 5K. So nice that this was tied in with a good cause. It is always great to get what you want!

  3. rommel says:

    Beautiful post, you wise girl. But really, that’s the most prudent strategy anyway. It comes down to yes, someone who badly wants it the most. Now, I remember a Friends episode with silent auction. Really funny.

    And whatta way to kill time. I love playing Words With Friends.

Don't let me do all the blogging, join in the conversation. Otherwise, I just feel like I'm talking to myself...

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