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Suddenly I’m seeing again that “equity” is a bad thing — especially if you say it into a microphone more than once. No, not “equity” meaning the difference between the value of something and what you owe on it, and rather, equity as in “fair and impartial.” So, I’m assuming unfair and partial must be better?

Maybe as we recently alluded, it all depends upon “who’s” saying it, rather than “why” it’s being said? In other words, what I think I’m seeing is that we should treat people of different colors, races, nationalities, ancestries, ethnicity unfairly and partially? Or, maybe we should treat bidders differently depending upon that same criteria?

Here (https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2021/01/25/auctioneers-and-protesting/) we noted that auctioneers were deciding which protests were worthy and which ones were not based upon who is protesting, rather than why they are protesting. Not surprisingly, some auctioneers are apparently suggesting we should treat bidders and everyone else inequitably too.

As we wrote prior: In the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia the case of Alex Lyon & Son, Sales Managers and Auctioneers, Inc. v. Leach, 844 S.E.2d 120 (W.Va. 2020) the Court held in part that “Fundamental principles of fairness required the defendant to treat the [original] plaintiff and [other bidder] equally.” Fundamental principles of fairness? Really? Indeed.

Further, once all bidders are registered satisfying the terms and conditions, earning the right to bid, then they can be treated differently depending upon, of course, the bid amount. That’s how auctions [are supposed to] work. However, if you want to spend your time in court defending your alternate sense of fairness, that’s up to you.

I was listening to my leading hometown AM radio station when the attorney-guest told the host that the United States was a better country in the 1950s and 1960s than it is today, and we should endeavor to make our country like that again (great again.) I’m sure he didn’t mean to allow (once again) for unchecked disparate treatment of minorities and rampant discrimination in the United States?

We’ve argued it’s a zero-sum game in the auction business (and life itself) https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/04/10/auctioneers-and-the-zero-sum-game/. The more you protect and indemnify the seller, the worse it is for the bidder/buyer. The more some of us would enjoy going back to the 1950s, the worse it would be for virtually every other minority; thus maybe that’s the justification?

By the way, it’s not 1950 nor 1960, and rather 2021. We’ve made progress treating all people better at our auctions and in life, but we’ve got far more to do. It’s not in our interest to go back decades despite some auctioneers romanticizing about the past … when we were all largely the majority — regularly misrepresenting property and pretty much running the bid on every bidder.

Some hold that discrimination is a thing of the past, and of course, it’s not. We noted cases as late as 2019 amounting to millions of dollars in damages for discrimination in employment, lending, and the like: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/auctioneers-discrimination-google/. Unfortunately, there are new cases like these pending all the time.

Personally, I continue to worry about the auction industry being replaced by easier and quicker methods of buying and selling. Actually, it may not matter if auctioneers don’t start treating people fairly and equitably because people treated unfairly, inequitably, and insufficiently likely won’t want to hire an auctioneer nor buy from one. I wish more auctioneers were paying attention to these issues.

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.