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Are you as an auctioneer growing weary of auction bidders? They bid and then get outbid and cry foul. They win as the highest bidder and are happy but get outbid on another lot and say that somehow the bidding was rigged, or they really didn’t want the lot after all? They accuse you of placing fictitious bids?

Auction sellers? They want no less than “this” for their prized property and you get that for them, only to find out they want even more? Or, you don’t get what they said they needed and then they decide to take less? They’re all happy about the auction results, only to tell their friends, neighbors, and family that you, “gave their property away …?”

Buyers? They buy and then want to renegotiate the deal, or somehow void the transaction altogether? They receive their purchase and then do a chargeback on their credit card? They claim some issue even though you as the auctioneer fully disclosed everything in the terms, description, and pictures? They accuse you of placing fictitious bids?

Indeed, sometimes it’s tiring to be an auctioneer dealing with the public — made up of clients and customers (sellers, bidders, and buyers) and their emotional, unpredictable, unreasonable expectations and inconsistent proclamations. Seems every day brings a new collection of challenges … it might seem (to us) the only reasonably minded people “in the room” are the auctioneers.

You’re waiting for the rest of the story, aren’t you? Okay, it seems to many even auctioneers have emotional, unpredictable, unreasonable, inconsistent thoughts and practices. However, is that reality or just perception? Unfortunately and importantly, the answer may be that it probably doesn’t matter.

We as auctioneers are in the people business, but it seems we in the auction business tend to forget that besides the people we interact with and serve — we’re people too. All people are largely — inherently — emotional, unpredictable, unreasonable, and inconsistent, auctioneers included.

The point of this story is, in part, that sellers, bidders, and buyers aren’t looking for emotional, unpredictable, unreasonable, and inconsistent auctioneers, no more than auctioneers are looking for emotional, unpredictable, unreasonable, and inconsistent sellers, bidders, and/or buyers. Auctioneers are routinely held to a “higher standard” but do we all meet or exceed that standard?

I survey social media almost every day and I myself are not necessarily observing what I would consider being logical, predictable, reasonable, consistent behavior. That is my opinion, to which I’m entitled, but it appears possibly a dangerous strategy. For example, what you post on Facebook or the latest sedition-based social media can be seen by virtually everyone else, for better or worse.

The most egregious concern remains the posting of completely false, unsubstantiated memes, and links. Secondly, posting some questions or comments with disingenuous intent has questionable merit. Third, posts that attack fellow auctioneers and/or association members aren’t prudent, and lastly, any post that may well push up to half of your potential sellers to hire (or bidders to bid to) some other auctioneer seems ill-advised.

The First Amendment prohibiting the government’s right to restrict free speech (within limits) doesn’t mandate any particular free speech, nor dictate good or bad speech; that’s all for us to manage and it can [apparently] be a challenge to supervise properly. As self-proclaimed professionals, we should endeavor to do better, maybe just like we claim sellers, bidders, and buyers should do better?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.