I'm an auction enthusiast. I've been to a ton of farm sales and household sales through the years, and lots of toy sales. Before the Internet, you could look the opposing bidder in the eye and try to guess how high he was going to go. People have different strategies when it comes to bidding at live auctions.
Here are a few styles I've noticed, or even fell prey to at one time or another. See which of these categories might fit you.
Internet bidding is a whole different animal. It will be fodder for another blog on another day.
Mr. Take Charge: I once saw someone bid when the auctioneer threw out his trial bid. "Who will give $9,000 for this pickup?'
"Yes!' the ringman yelled, as someone held up their hand. Are you kidding me? Obviously, he got it for $9,000.
Mr. Step-at-a-Time: We were interested in a small used Gleaner combine many years ago. The bid started at $3,000. It was probably worth $9,000. It looked like we had a chance. Nobody else bid so the auctioneer called for $3,100. It went from $3,100 to $9,300 at one-hundred-dollar intervals! We let someone else take it home.
Mr. Last Minute: If you want to let people fight it out and then bid your price at the end, it's often effective. It's also a good way to tick off the people who thought they had a real shot at buying the item in question. Some people just enjoy watching and coming in at the last minute.
Mrs. I Want it No Matter What! An elderly lady at a household sale once was so intent on getting what she wanted that she kept trying to raise her own bid.
"I've got $10 right here. Who will give $20?" asked the auctioneer.
"I will," said the lady who already had the $10 bid.
After three times of trying to explain to her she didn't need to bid again, they took her higher bid, she got the item, and everyone went home happy.
Mr. I Want to Steal It: The auctioneer calls for $5,000 on a car, and this guy bids $500. He hardly ever buys anything. Once, however, he bid $1,200 after the auctioneer called for $4,000 on a nice used car. Nobody else bid, and he got it. I'm not sure who was more shocked, the auctioneer, the guy who bought it, or the owner who didn't even have time to raise the bid.