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I had the distinct honor to have Fred Strahorn in a class I was teaching. I had not met him prior, but it took no time at all for me to realize how lucky I was that day. The subject matter was a 3-hour class regarding civil rights and fair housing — a subject with which Fred was quite familiar.

Among many other accomplishments, Fred Strahorn has served in both the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate since 2000. He has served as Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives and is currently 39th House District Representative in the Ohio House of Representatives.

“I’m a politician, often working with folks with opposing views … but it never fails that someone can be firmly against a particular issue until they have personal experience with it,” Fred explained to the class. “It’s difficult to understand anything until you can personalize it.”

Indeed I’ve seen the same thing — gay marriage is an outrage until your daughter marries another woman. Racism doesn’t exist until you personally are denied housing or services based upon your race. Welfare should be outlawed until your mother starts receiving welfare. The Coronavirus is a hoax until your father dies from it.

I think Fred’s premise has all kinds of lessons for auctioneers:

  • I don’t need a sound system to bid call — until I note that I do.
  • There’s no need to accept credit cards — until I determine there is.
  • Buyer’s premiums won’t’ work here — until I find out they do.
  • Online auctions aren’t worth the hassle — until I feel they are.

When do these (and countless others) finally make sense? Personal experience. The point is auctioneers are fiercely independent people, and it’s next to impossible for anyone to tell any auctioneer what to do. Yet, once auctioneers (are forced to?) try a new concept and have success, the change is almost immediate.

There’s nothing wrong with one personally experiencing something and then making changes. The only problem is seeing it all around you — with others successfully making those changes — and still being unwilling to even experiment.

And yes, it’s about auctioneers understanding other auctioneers who are on the “other side” of any issue. The likely reason you’re on your side is you have (or haven’t) personally experienced this particular thing, and/or the other auctioneer has (or hasn’t) personally experienced this particular thing.

Lastly, auctioneers are not alone in regard to this phenomenon. Obviously, politicians and many others view life this way for better or worse. Because I interact with auctioneers every day, I suppose I see it more in our occupation than others.

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.