Kindness goes a long way. Respect goes even further.
I love a good auction as much as the next person. I enjoy arriving a little early and walking around the tables of offerings to see what there is to see. If I’ve done my homework, I’ve already been online to the auctioneer’s webpage and seen what there is to expect in the day’s offerings.
Since we live in a small community, it’s easy to become regulars at the local auction houses. We see the same faces most weeks, and from auction house to auction house. We notice when there are new faces in the crowd, and we can always spot a newcomer to the auction world. Part of the fun of attending an auction is the social interaction and the “people watching.”
We attended one of our favorite local auctions one evening last week. I toured the auction floor to check out items that had caught my eye on the auctioneer’s web page. I knew which tables held the treasures I sought. I said “hello” to my fellow bidders, caught up on the news from friends. I noticed that there were a few new faces in the crowd, and a few bidders I had seen a time or two before but not on a regular basis.
What happened this evening between two bidders left me shocked by one bidder’s behavior. We’ve all been caught up in the excitement of bidding and the thrill of wanting to win a certain item – whether for our own collection or because we just know our customers will love this just as much as we love it. Tonight the item in question was a small decorative piece, nothing remarkable. The bidding opened, and several bidders held their bidding cards in the air. Finally, the bidding came down to two bidders. One of the bidders became enraged that someone would dare to bid against them. Angry. Loudly demanding that the other bidder stop bidding against them. Declaring that they would win this at any cost. The second bidder seemed unaffected by the anger of the first bidder and continued to bid until they reached their bidding limit. The behavior of the first bidder caused several of us to look around at each other, eyebrows raised quizzically. This type of behavior is not seen among the bidders in our area. While we might enter into a lively bidding war, once the bidding is over we often congratulate the winning bidder – even if they outbid us on something we wanted. When a bidder wins something they really want and are excited about their win, we cheer them on and applause is often heard around the room when “good sale” is made. Civility is the norm.
One of the other attendees commented to me “That felt like we are on one of those reality television shows!” Indeed, it did.
What happened to manners? What happened to polite behavior? What happened to civility? It apparently went out the window that evening.