FLORENCE -- Every once in a while, buried deep among all the “feeling cute” memes and my second cousin’s expert opinion on the Second Amendment, I come across an intriguing or interesting post on Facebook.
This happened earlier this year when my old friend Carey Mazzaroni, fresh off a solo sabbatical to Costa Rica, tagged me in a post about an auction at a place called the Red Tag Auction House.
Now, I’ve seen silent auctions and such at different charity events, but the pictures she posted caught my attention. These weren’t vouchers for spa days or a frog sculpted out of matchsticks. These were washers and dryers and cases of soup and cleaning products. Not mixed together, but individual boxes of said products. You get what I’m saying.
Anyway, I studied the photos and her post and did a little research on my own about this place but still couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. So I texted her and asked. She quickly explained to me that every other Tuesday night, her family hosts a live auction at this big warehouse on South Irby Street. Different weeks bring different items, but she encouraged me to come check it out.
So I relayed the info to my significant other, Rick, who loves a sale of any kind. I mean, his favorite stores are Big Lots and Ollie’s, if that gives you any clue. Anyway, as soon as he heard random stuff for sale, he was on board. So we decided we’d give it a try.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. We loaded up and made the trek, Rick like a kid on Christmas Eve the whole way there. Carey had told me that the auction starts at 6 p.m., but people usually try to arrive a little early to check out the stash for that week and maybe grab a bite to eat at the snack bar.
So we got there a little before 6 p.m. Again, I’m thinking auction as in estate sale or used furniture and china collections, something along those lines. But we walked in and I was overwhelmed. There were brand-new boots, fishing rods, cases of ranch dressing (Hidden Valley, at that). Meanwhile, the heavenly angels were singing to Rick. He had found his home and the trumpets were sounding.
Sorry, I digress. So we found Carey and she explained the process. She knew I was there to work on a Playlist magazine story but nonchalantly said, “Don’t you want to go ahead and get a number, too? Just for fun, so you can get the full experience.”
Well, it couldn’t hurt, right? I mean, I needed to do diligent research if I was going to deliver a quality story to our readers. The slippery slope began.
We got our auction number and found some seats. The auction began.
“Can I get a $5? Anybody got a $5 for this? Five-fifty, five-fifty, can I get a six??”
It was so exciting. I can’t explain it. I know I didn’t need that set of frying pans, but it was so nice. And just $10? But Rick wasn’t quick enough to raise our number, and we lost those frying pans to an 80-year-old.
But it’s so much fun. Give me more drugs, I mean, pans … I mean, cases of deodorant. Whatever … I was hooked. And I needed to win.
Eventually, I got ahold of myself. Slightly. Rick told me we can’t bid on everything. I agree. But I had my eye set on a stainless-steel blender. There were two of them. I felt it in my soul. I knew it was ours.
The bidding began. I kept my cool. I told Rick to act like we didn’t really want or need it. In my mind, I was in Vegas, and we were Rain Man. The lady beside us started to bid. It got up to about $15, and I gave Rick the signal. By the way, my signal was not very covert, and Rick told me I was embarrassing him.
We bid. Back and forth we went. I had got this woman in my crosshairs. Then, out of nowhere, she topped us and the game was over. Still, there was hope, because there was a second one, and the auctioneer was offering to sell it to us, as second highest bidders, at the going price.
Yes! Then, nooooo! That lady, now my nemesis, said she wanted both. I told Rick I was going to slash her tires. He told me I was out of control and he was leaving if I didn’t get myself in check.
I scaled it back enough to keep him from having me committed, and by night’s end, we left with a police flashlight, a box of Clorox cleaning spray and a small case of that Ranch dressing. Was I happy? No. Had I forgotten about that blender? No.
But I won something. And I spent a night in the air conditioning, which beats jogging any day. I will be back.