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What I learned about death and auctions
Many of you know my mom died in early March. It was very unexpected. She died in her sleep the night we buried her father. Grandpa’s death was very expected – almost anticipated. Not so with mom.
So it’s take a bit of time to clean out, clean up and otherwise cull through her house full of collections: ball cards, office supplies, santa clauses, Coca-Cola memorabilia…
Mom was a collector of things.
So after the fam all went through and picked out their bits of mom to keep, there was still PLENTY left to go around. My aunt suggested contacting an auctioneer to come and purchase the remains of the estate and make it easy on everyone.
I got took. My mom is probably rolling over in her grave right now – she’s probably doing back flips – just waiting to come back to haunt me.
Mom had several new appliances, an industrial sewing machine and a massive collection of sports cards – not to mention depression glass, and other items that would easily have sold at auction.
The guy offered me $500 for the entire house. And like a shmuck, I took it. Of course, I called my sister first, but she agreed, and so I sold the contents – or at least what he wanted to take – for $500.
He offered me $450 for her car. I took that, too.
Now, I know I probably could have done better had I tried listing the stuff on ebay. I could have gotten $500 for the ball cards alone – probably.
The thing is, I’ve been dealing with this estate, the house, and vandals breaking into it for 2 months now, and I just want it to be over.
And the auctioneer saw me coming a mile away.
I realize, of course, that the guy has to make a profit – but there were antique dressers, chairs, and other items – not to mention old holiday ornaments, clay marbles, dolls, etc that were in that house, and $500 just feels insulting.
But he knew I was over a barrel. We had to clear the contents of the house because the mortgage company is taking the home back.
Why am I bearing my vein like this today?
Because this is a GREAT example of bad business. This is an experience that will be talked about for months not just by me, but also by my family. They ALL knew I got fleeced.
The money we raised is going to pay for mom’s headstone at her gravesite. He knew it, and he didn’t care.
“It’s just business” some people would say, and that’s why I only feel a little insulted.
Because I DID agree to accept his terms. I COULD have said no.
But emotion got the better of me and I just wanted to be done with the whole fiasco so I could get back to grieving and put my life in order now that Mom’s gone.
This is a GREAT example of how you can play on a prospects emotions and fears to negotiate terms that are more favorable for you.
But how much BETTER this situation could have turned out had he simply been honest and said “How much do you need for your mom’s head stone?”
A small bit of kindness would have gone a LONG way to making me feel better about the amount of money he was offering.
Instead, his father berated the $500 offer, saying that he didn’t even see THAT much value in the home – which even I know is a classic sales tactic designed to con the prospect into thinking they’re getting a great deal.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to get a WHOLE lot more than $500, but their attitude was poor at best.
And needless to say, I’ve warned all my friends and neighbors about this auction house. I would NEVER do business with them again.
So yeah, they got the quick estate auction, and they made a substantial amount of coin off it, but in the end they’ve lost a lifetime of business that COULD have been theirs from my family, my friends and me.
Let that be a lesson to you.