Monday, March 10, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 11 (The Last Day)

I did it.  I completed auctioneer school, I camped for 10 nights straight along the beautiful Coosa River, and The Excellent Adventure has come to a close. (If you missed any of it , you can read all 11 entries here.)  Wait a minute Alex..... Didn't you say you were going to camp for 11 nights?  I did say that.  However, our field trips and the days on which we stayed late banked us some hours.  We took our final exams this morning and at 1:00, we had completed our required 85 hours of pre-licensing education.  I did what any normal guy who hasn't seen his family in 11 days would do........ I broke camp, loaded up and headed home!  I auctioned every overpass between Rome and Bulloch County too ;-)  Instead of going home and taking a much needed nap on a real bed, I drove straight to the baseball field and met my family for my oldest son's first practice of the spring.  Totally worth it.

I had no problems with the final exam.  I made a 93, but I was peeved at myself for not making 100.  I knew the material, but the wording on some questions tricked me.  On two of them I just flat misread them.  Oh well, lesson learned.  We reviewed the test and I know where I faulted.  I feel confident that Charlie and Robin have prepared us to ace the state licensing exam.  The only thing left to do now is to file my application paperwork and wait to hear when I will travel to Macon to take the test.  A couple of weeks after that I should have my license in hand I will then officially be an auctioneer!

Then the hard work really begins.  It actually begins tomorrow.  I am back home, without a "real" job and hoping to develop three start-up businesses at the same time.  Welcome to the big-time young man.  Would I really do it any other way?  Gotta keep things interesting you know.  That might end up being a more excellent adventure than the one I completed today.......

Y'all take it easy,


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 10

Had some neighbors at the campgrounds last night!  They enjoyed a little one-night camping trip here on the Coosa River.  Rookies ;-)  To be neighborly, I practiced my chant quietly and without a lot of pomp and circumstance.

Today we chatted about Uniform Commercial Code and IRS form 8300.  Form 8300 says you must report, to the IRS, any cash transaction over $10k within 15 days of the transaction.  Do I like it?  Not really.  Will I do it?  Since it carries a minimum fine of $25k for ignoring it, I absolutely will!!  Aside from that, it was a typical day and we reviewed as we get ready for tomorrow's final exam.

I told you about our teachers, Charlie and Robin, in a previous entry.  With little to write about, I thought I would share some tidbits about my classmates.  We had a diverse group.

First we have Terry from Alabama.  Terry is pretty much a professional auctioneer, but he got nabbed for not being licesened.  No prob.  He came to school and he's taking care of business.  He was a valuable resource for us, especially hearing him chant.

Christy is from Mississippi.  She and her husband own an auction, but they're leasing it to another auctioneer right now.  They want to get into the business.  She will do great once she passes the Mississippi exam.  It is said to be the toughest test of all, but I feel certain she will ace it.

Ken is also from Alabama.  He served our country for 20 years and is looking for a new gig.  He is currently buying and selling and tinkering.  A man after my own heart!  He wants in on the auction side too.  He will get in and he will do great!

Fred is from Tennessee.  He has the hardest road.  Tennessee is the most stringent state in the union when it comes to auctioneers.  Before he can even get started he will have to serve a two-year apprenticeship.  The good news is that he has a sponsor in place and will be ready to roll once he passes his test.

Mike is also from Tennessee.  He joined us only for the last four days as he was there to secure a Gallery License.  That's unique for his state.  Mike is the GM for a very large auto auction company in Memphis.  He's not going to be an auctioneer, only at school to stay legal in Tennessee.

Missy and Pat are a team from Carrolton, GA.  They are both originally from Wisconsin.  Pat is still there and will join Missy in Carrolton as they develop an online auction.  Missy mentioned that her eyes have been opened to new possibilities over the last 10 days.  Pat is eager to escape the snow!

Daniel is from Claxton, right up the road from me.  I was glad to see someone from close to home.  I suspect that we'll try to help each other as much as we can.  Daniel did something remarkable in Cedartown.  As each of us went up to the stand, he bought something.  Then he let us keep something as a momento of the first time we sold something at auction.  People like that don't grow on trees folks.

Finally there is Phil from Valdosta, GA.  What a great guy.  Phil is in his late 50s. He has done a little bit of everything from teaching history to selling insurance and real estate.  He wanted to do something new to occupy his time.  You see....Phil's wife passed away and he buried her only two weeks before we started school.  I cannot imagine his emotions, but he controls them well.  I'm not sure I could do the same.  He was my biggest inspiration in the class.

I'm proud to know each one of those folks.  I hope that we'll all be able to serve as resources for each other.  Our teachers said that most classes end up working together on things.  I sure hope that is the case with us too.

Tomorrow is the last day of school.  It's been fun, but I'm ready to get home.  I miss my family.  I miss my bed.  I miss my coffee pot.  I miss my central heating.  #firstworldproblems

Final installment is coming tomorrow night!

Y'all take it easy,


Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 9

The weather is nice.  The 10 day school is winding down, but the content and anticipation are winding up!

After a few days dodging weather and sleeping in the Jeep, I was back in the tent last night.  The low was right around 40 last night.  It was indeed cold, but at least it wasn't raining or in the 20s.  I'll probably finish out my time in the tent as the weather is going to be steady over the next few days.  Aside from the whole quit-your-job-go-to-auctioneer-school-have-you-lost-your-mind deal, the big question surrounding this whole adventure is, "Why camp?"  Well, I chose to camp for a variety of reasons.  Lemme preach on it!

First, The Excellent Adventure would have been a much less blog worthy adventure if I was writing solely about auctioneer school.  I think interesting stories need a little pizzazz, but not to the point of sensationalism.  Camping for 11 nights added the final pinch of flavor to this dish.  Actually, if done properly, that could have made good blog fodder on its own.  Second, it saved me a truckload of money.  I paid $125 for my camping spot for the entire 11 night span. Hotels up here are running about $100 a night.  They aren't really that nice either.  I found a couple for $60 a night, but let's be real...... most of us would rather sleep in a tent than a $60 roach motel anyway, right?  I saved a grand.  Easy choice.  My main reason for choosing to camp was for the serenity.  After dark it's generally quiet.  Aside from a bobcat howl, a raccoon scavenging or the random plane slowing down as it approaches Hartsfield, it was quiet.  That has been nice.  It afforded me the opportunity to focus on the reason I came up here, auctioneer school.  Once the sun goes down at camp, there isn't much to do.  Check that.  There is nothing to do.  No bar.  No TV.  No one to hang out with and trade stories.  Instead of those usual things, I study each night.  I practice my number brackets and chant.  I do a lot of thinking and planning about Web sites, business structure, insurance, possible clients, employee needs, equipment and just how I am going to monetize this Excellent Adventure.  It was a good choice.  I put pen to paper (finger to keyboard) and I have a lot of ideas and notes to rock with once I get home.  A couple of other things came out the decision to camp too.  I have repeated the great mustache experiment of 2007.  I have had similar results.  Not quite ready to give it up, but I suspect that it isn't glorious and full enough to hang around.  I had also never worn a scarf before this week.  I will never wear a scarf outside of a cold campsite again, but it was a very nice tool to have around on those cold mornings.

So how about class today?  It was all policies and procedures this morning.  We talked about the rules of the Georgia Auctioneers Commission.  This info makes up 1/3 of the licensing test.  Very important material!  Don't violate these rules or you will find yourself without a license.  With no license, you make no money.  There are plenty of shady cats out there doing it under the radar, but I'm going to do it the right way.  What was it that Coach Russell said?  Do Right!  At chant practice we each sold some random items drawn out of a box.  Thanks to "Zeke" in our class for picking up those gems at the auction in Ceadertown the other night.  I was rolling.  5, 7 1/2, 10, 12 1/2, 15, 17 1/2......  Then they hit me with some hand signals.  Never seen those before!  Thought it might be some gang signs from Yammacraw Bluff or something.  I was totally caught off guard and it killed my momentum.  Valuable lesson.  I've got some learning to do there.  At the end if the day we had a math test.  If you know me personally, you know that isn't my thing.  I was a PR major instead of a Finance major for a reason.  Well, pigs flew and I made 100!  I was shocked.  I guess when there's money on the line, I can get the job done.  No algebraic computations necessary here.  I think I did so well because of the way the problems were written.  They were all worded to test your knowledge of the law.  Sales tax is calculated on top of a buyer's premium.  The buyer pays the commission, but not taxes.  All monies received from the auction must go into escrow, but buyer's premium or sales tax do not have to, etc.  I was prepared.

I'm going to go on one more field trip tonight, but this time solo.  Some of my classmates are going to an auction of another one of our classmates over in Glencoe, Alabama.  That's an hour and fifteen minutes from my campsite.  Since it was not a required part of the class, several of us opted not to go.  There is a public auction tonight in Rome though.  I'd be a dummy if I didn't ride over and check it out.  Never hurts to see how others run their show.

I hope everyone has a good night. Don't forget to set your clocks forward.  Looks like I'll be making campsite coffee in the dark for the next couple of mornings.

Y'all take it easy,


Friday, March 7, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 8

Interesting sign from last night's
field trip to Ceadertown.
Go Braves!
I'm starting to get tired.  Eight days is a long time to be away.  Before this excursion, I don't think I've ever been away from my family for any more than about four days.  Only three days left.  Enough complaining.  Gotta dig deep and finish strong!  GATA!  (Get After That Auction!)

Even though I was dragging a little bit today, I was still stoked about selling real stuff for the first time last night.  (Details here in case you missed it.)  It's amazing how you can just transform and immerse yourself into the situation when real money is on the line.  I learned that it can be done.  I have done front of a bunch of people I don't know...... in a town to which I had never been!  Today we were back at the "schoolhouse" and back in the books.

Our teachers are both from different backgrounds.  That makes the class very interesting and very informative at the same time.  Our lead teacher (because his name is on the building) is Charlie Gay.  Charlie is a 77 (I think) year old gentleman with over 40 years in the auction business.  He has done a little bit of everything, but his major accomplishment was a dealer auction in which he would have products and buyers from all over the country.  As he said, he rode that mule for a long time.  Once it began to dry up, he closed it down.  At one time he was grossing $5 million a year!  His partner is Robin Huff who Charlie emphatically contends was his star pupil.  Robin, a lady, has made it her business to make a mark on a male dominated industry.  And boy has she done it!  She has done very well.  The two are partners not only in the school, but in the auction and real estate business as well.  They work so well together.  Charlie trained Robin on the business, Robin trained Charlie on the internet.  Charlie helped Robin into the male controlled business, Robin helped Charlie into the real estate business.  They compliment each other so well.  That comes out in class too.  It's kind of an oldschool/newschool type environment.  As a student, I love it.

Today, Robin was the lead instructor.  We talked about the sale of firearms at auction.  Pretty simple.  To auction firearms you must have an Auctioneer's License and an FFL.  Gotta have both.  No exceptions, no loopholes.  Period.  I have no problem following that one.  I don't care to have to spend the day visiting with the ATF in exchange for a few bucks earned on an illegal auction.  No thanks.  We spent a bulk of the day talking about something that interests me greatly, charity auctions.  First things first.  They were not shy about telling us that we should be paid for our services.  Of course giving is important and you will obviously want to serve a couple of your favorites, but you simply cannot afford to work for free 30 times a year.  Robin contended that while doing charity auctions for free is noble, your calendar is clogged for other opportunities that may come along.  So, while you might be working for free one night, it might cost you $10k if you miss the opportunity for a big estate sale that could fall on the same day.  I think there is an opportunity to serve non-profits in this arena.  The old saying, "You get what you pay for" comes to mind.  I spent a lot of time in the fundraising and non-profit arena.  I know the business.  Think about every charity auction that you've ever been to.  You usually have one of two things.  A really entertaining auctioneer who knows nothing about the charity, or a fundraiser who knows everything about the charity who probably isn't a very entertaining or strategic auctioneer.  Would you pay someone $1,000 if they could return you a $3,000 net increase?  I would.  Regardless of my business.  I think that is what a professional auctioneer could do for a charity......IF and only IF they would commit to and work for the charity. I know the fundraising side.  Been there, done that, had some success for 12 years.  Now I'm learning the auctioneer side.  I might have a niche here.  Offer a high level of service, get results and people will gladly pay you.  I'm thinking hard on this one y'all.

As we do daily, we worked on our chants again today.  Today we began adding filler words.  I had already peeked ahead and started practicing with that earlier in the week.  What else am I supposed to do at a campsite with no TV?  Most of my evenings have been spent listening to recordings and practicing my chant.  I am getting better.  I feel like I did pretty goof in Ceadertown last night.  I have recorded myself a few times in an attempt to track progress.  Still sounds strange to hear myself doing it.  I still have some work to do, but I think I'm making progress.  Just like anything else practice is the key.  Mamma Bear will be driven nuts when I get home.  I'm going to chant everything for a few weeks ;-)

Going back to the tent tonight.  I have spent the last three nights in my Jeep.  Temps were in the 20s Tuesday and Wednesday nights and last night it was sleeting.  It looks to be clear and only in the 40s for my last few nights.  My rations might run out before the trip is up.  I'm almost to the end of a loaf of bread and down to one can of vienna sausages.  I have plenty of oatmeal and Lance crackers to get me through the rest of the trip.  I could just eat in Rome each day and night, but it's kind of the principle of the matter.  I want to make sure I eat what I brought and do this thing how I initially intended.  I'm saving a boatload of money too.  That's always good motivation.

Off to the showers and hitting the hay.  Hope everyone has a great night.

Y'all take it easy,


The Excellent Adventure: Day 7

DW shot glass from the box lot
that was my first auction sale.

Maybe some of you early morning readers will catch it first today.  If this is new to you, go HERE for a complete list of the series.

I had to get up a extra early this morning to get my writing in. We went to an auction last night and got in pretty late.  On top of that it was 35 degrees and raining when I got back to camp.  That made getting to the showers and back a challenge.  Simply put I was tired, cold, wet and I didn't really want to do anything but go to bed last night, but I was pumped!  Couldn't hardly sleep!

We spent the morning learning about escrow accounts. All auctions are required by law to deposit and disperse money from an escrow account.  Again, another good practice. I remarked about how many auctioneers are heavily regulated in Georgia. Initially I thought it would be a hassle, but the more I get into it the more I find that the rules are actually helpful. That's a unique quality in government these days.  The afternoon was devoted to ethics.  That was actually a pretty simple lesson.  Work for the interest of the consignor and be fair and honest to the buyer. Erk Russell would have simply said, "Do Right."

Our class got together and went to dinner as a group at "The Steakhouse" in Rockmart, GA.  We had a great time and got some awesome food.  Large cuts of beef.  Very large.  Folks from different backgrounds make for a very enjoyable dinner conversation.  If they will agree, I would like to share their backgrounds so you can appreciate the diversity.  After that is was down to Ceadertown for a public auction.  This one ran a little different than most I've been to.  They opened with prayer.  Good start!  Sellers bid for a top 3 selling spot before we even started.  I later learned that the seller would pay that amount bid or the auctioneers commission on their sales, whichever was the lower number.  Interesting format.  The auction opened with a choice bid for a variety of items on a table.  Then it got really interesting.

We didn't know it at the time, but each of us were going to be up on the auction stand. Each of us auctioned off several items/lots. It was an amazing experience. We had no idea that it was coming. No time to be nervous. No time to think about it.  All we could do was get up on the block and sell sell sell.  I sold a box lot and choice on a ton of different notebooks and sketch pads.  God bless the ladies and gentlemen at Brooke's Auctions in Ceadertown, GA.  Thank you to his consignors too!  They gave each of us an opportunity to get real life experience last night.  We fumbled.  We wasted their time.  We made plenty of mistakes. But they all smiled and helped us through it. One day I hope to be able to return the favor.

I'm off to class.  I'll be back to my regular schedule tonight. Hope everyone has a great day!

Y'all take it easy,


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 6

I was bidder 41 today in honor of my
boy Kurt who is doing the double!
Indy 500 and Coke 600 baby!
Google Hangouts is a great tool!  I was able to video chat with my family last night which was a nice treat.  The quality was excellent and there was no delay.  If y'all ever read that Google and Wal-Mart are going to merge, run for the hills.  The robot army will surely soon follow.

Today was spent looking at more law. We specifically looked at bidder registration and the documents associated with it.  It seems to be a trivial process, but if you were to ever have a non-paying bidder it is a document that will save you a lot of heartache.  Ever been to an auction and wondered why you had to sign in?  You're basically signing a contract.  You are agreeing to the terms of the sale, that the Auctioneer is in charge and that if you bid, you will pay.  We also looked at the contracts and documents that you would have with a consignor. Again CYA.  It is to make sure that the seller understands the commission structure, that his item might not bring a million dollars and that the auctioneer is acting on his behalf.  It is actually Georgia law that auction contracts be in writing. It helps avoid any confusion and keeps everyone on the same page. The auction business is very heavily regulated in Georgia.  I think that's a good thing.  It builds trust and lends credibility with the public.

Of course, we practiced our number brackets again today. Before you can master an auctioneer's chant, you must first understand the numbers and how to move them. It sounds easy. It sounded easy to me too.  Counting by quarters and halves. How hard could that be? Well once you get into it and try to pick up some speed it gets rather difficult. The single and double digits are not too bad. Once I add a third digit, the hundreds, my tongue begins to get a little fat.  Give it a try. One of our exercises today was going from 500 to 2,500 by 25s.  Not so bad going up but we also have to do all of our exercises backwards.  Why backwards? Suppose you are trying to find the opening bid and you start at 500 but no one bites. Then you have to start working backwards until someone does. You will probably get back to 500, but you might have to start at 350 to get there. You move down 25, 50 or 75 at a time to find the first bid.  As I was doing my numbers today I caught myself chanting them. Others did it too.  That is supposed to come later, but it just happens magically. Almost subconsciously. It is an interesting phenomenon that our teacher says happens to most students. Maybe our class is ahead of the game.

I was able to get down to the river again today. The park is actually the site of an old lock and dam.  Not much of it remains, but it makes for a beautiful scenery. There were several people fishing for striper. Maybe later in the week I can wet a hook too.  Dinner tonight was high naught!  Top Ramen and another peanut butter and honey sandwich.  The Ramen noodles tasted like this morning's blueberry oatmeal which was eaten from the same bowl. Interesting combination.  I'm actually going out to eat tomorrow night. Primarily because it will be raining again, but we will also be going on another field trip. This time we are going to a public auction held in the evening. I'm looking forward to eating and hanging out with some of my classmates. They're all interesting and good folks from different walks of life.  I know that we will all be helping each other once we get into the business.

Today was hump day.  Not only for the week, but for the school as well.  I know that Mamma Bear will be glad to know that ;-)

Y'all take it easy,


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 5

It was pretty darn cold last night.  I slept good from 10:00 to about 4 AM when I woke up shivering.  I just balled up into the fetal position and got another hour and a half before I rose at 5:30.  Being cold is actually very good motivation for getting up and out of bed. I believe I dressed in record time!  I made some coffee, oatmeal and used the Coleman stove to warm my hands too.  Then I was off for another adventure. Today was a field trip day!

We drove over to Villa Rica, GA today for a wholesale auction. Those cats don't play. We went through a little over 400 lots in about 4 hours. That is moving! I have learned that there are many different types of auctions. The whole purpose of this auction was to get rid of merchandise as quickly as possible.  Most everything was on pallets and it was sold by the pallet.  Of course they wanted to get as much money as they could, but if they had milked it we would have been there for 10 hours.  It was interesting to take note of the clerking process, how the clerk interacted with the auctioneer and how the check-in/check-out process went from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

I don't think that running wholesale auctions are what I want to do.  Never say never, but I don't think it's a fit for me.  But.....would I be a gun for hire and call one of those auctions? Absolutely!  I'm still trying to figure out what my niche will be.  I have some ideas, but my niche might find me.  Who knows.

In an earlier entry I mentioned that I was excited to hear one of our teacher's chant. I finally got a chance to hear Charlie Gay call an auction today.  Just as I thought, he was like a tobacco auctioneer of old.  His cadence and chant are much different than most auctioneers that I hear these days.  It's kind of hard to explain but he sounds more seasoned. I guess 45 years in the business will get you seasoned!  It's going to be hard but that is the sound that I want.  I think it lends more credibility. It's almost as if he was singing.  If I didn't have my work cut out for me before I certainly do now. But I'm up for a challenge!

I have one more cold night ahead of me.  We're supposed to dip back down to around 30 tonight.  I think these two nights will be the worst.  Before I left, I joked that I might end up in the Days Inn by mid-week.  It would hardly be an Excellent Adventure if I journaled from a hotel room.  Tomorrow will be the halfway point.  Aside from some more rain in the forecast for Thursday, things look pretty good.  I think I can finish this thing out here along the banks of the Coosa River.

Y'all take it easy,


Monday, March 3, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 4

It's cold.  I'm not talking about cold.  I'm talking about COLD!  It's 34 at the moment and it looks like it will get down to about 27 overnight.  Not too bad under normal circumstances, but pretty bone chilling when you're camping.  It was wet when I got up this morning and a balmy 53.  The temperature has dropped throughout the day.  That's why I'm writing tonight from the laundry room instead of the tent!  I figured it would be a good opportunity to get a load of clothes done and stay warm at the same time.  Why am I doing this again?  Oh yeah.  It's an Excellent Adventure!  Bring it on!

I actually decided to sleep in the Jeep last night.  Based on the weather forecast I figured it would be raining when I woke up so I planned ahead.  It turned out just fine.  Back in the summer I did a linchpin modification to the rear seats of my Jeep.  That allowed the bottoms of the seats to be removed very easily. It also allowed another foot and a half of cargo space. That came in very handy last night. My head fit perfectly between the two front seats at the edge of the console, and my feet were just before touching the back hatch.  Overall it wasn't a bad night's sleep...... For sleeping in a car.  Looks like I'll do the same tonight in hopes for a little break from the wind.  Oh yeah....I didn't mention that did I?  It's coming out of the north at about 14 mph right now.  Brrrr.  It was actually already in the 30's when I was eating supper earlier tonight.  (Peanut butter sandwich and Vienna Sausages ...... In case you were wondering.)

Because of the rain, I left out of camp well before daylight this morning. I went in to Rome looking for some coffee as it was too wet to break out all of my equipment.  The fine folks at the Mapco Mart gas station had just what I needed.  Other than a tank of gas, that cup of coffee was the first thing that I have purchased since I got here.  Until lunch....we hit a place called Martha's Skillet.  It was some of the finest home cooking I've ever had.  Kind of like Lee's back in the Boro.  It might be a good breakfast spot later in the week if I encounter morning rain again.  I was early to school today.  No extra points, but it did get a chuckle from our teacher as he knew I was camping.

The morning lessons today were all devoted to law.  The afternoon was spent doing a clerking exercise.  The clerks at an auction earn their money!  They are indeed the ones who make sure the money is handled properly. Tomorrow we're taking a field trip to a wholesale auction in Villa Rica. It will be nice to see how a dealer auction works behind the scenes. I am very much looking forward to that.

Time to fold clothes and then hunker down out of the cold.  Maybe I can auction off icicles tonight as practice!  25 on the 27 and a half.....27 and a 30, now 30.....  No takers?

Y'all take it easy,


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 3

Not much to report today, friends.  We spent the entire day going over contracts.  I wouldn't call it exhilarating, but I did find it interesting.  I researched it greatly, but still, there is so much more to the business than I expected.  The things written into contracts are items that I always figured were understood.  I now know that NOTHING is implied.  Everything should be written and signed.  Though it was a subject that isn't known for vim and vigor, I did learn a lot today.  Y'all know how I like to learn something new ;-)  We did practice chants again at the end of the day today.  We will continue to do that daily.  I don't think I did too bad for the second day, but I still have a long way to go.  Practicing and memorizing the number brackets is the biggest challenge that I face.  Believe it or not we actually do breathing exercises and several different tongue twisters as methods to begin training our bodies.  I'd probably be a little embarrassed if everyone in the class weren't in the same boat.

Since we stayed a little late yesterday we got out a little early today.  That allowed me to get back to camp with plenty of daylight left.  I took the opportunity to walk part of the trails and get down a little closer to the Coosa River.  What a magnificent sight.  The rock formations are something that we don't see on the Ogeechee and Savannah Rivers back home.  The years of constant pounding from the river has carved amazing walls along the banks.  It serves as a good reminder that God is in control of everything!

My apologies for the lack of material today.  There just wasn't a lot to write about.  The forecast is calling for rain overnight and into the morning though.  That should provide some interesting content for tomorrow.  I do believe that I will be sleeping in the Jeep tonight.  If for no other reason than to make it easier to get dressed and off in the morning.  I suspect that instead of oatmeal and coffee at the campsite tomorrow morning, I will roll into Rome early in search of a cup of joe and a biscuit.

I'll leave you with a couple of the tongue twisters that we're using to train.  It isn't too bad if you read them slowly, but once you pick up speed it gets a little more challenging.

Y'all take easy,


Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Excellent Adventure: Day 2

Information overload.  That's about the best way to describe my first day at auctioneer school.  We covered a LOT of information and we were in class all day with the exception of a couple of breaks and 30 minutes for lunch.  Though it was intimidating, it was awesome!

After a decent night's sleep, only interrupted by what I think was a prowling raccoon, I woke before daylight and fired up the camp stove for some oatmeal and coffee.  There is just something about coffee at a campsite that warms the soul in addition to the bones.  It tasted terrible, but delicious all at the same time.  My drive to the school is about 15 minutes, but of course I left out 45 minutes early because I'm a nervous nerd.

The building isn't what you'd expect.  It is in a strip mall, but not a new strip mall.  It's one of those 50 year old cinder block buildings along the road that generally sit in the dying part of town.  My school was no exception.  The building was old....very old.  Lucky for me I learned in college that the aesthetics of the building in which you sit does not necessarily correlate to the quality of education you receive.  (That's a shout out to all of me fellow Comm Arts alumni from Georgia Southern)  The gentleman leading the class is a 40+ year auction veteran.  Though I haven't heard his chant yet, I know that it is probably that of an old school cattle caller or tobacco auctioneer.  He was aided by a lady out of Atlanta who was once one of his star pupils.  The class is small, only ten folks.  To my surprise, one of the gentleman was from Claxton, GA, right up the road from me. We are both there for very different reasons, so there may be an opportunity for co-ops in the future.  The others were from various parts of GA, AL, TN and Mississippi.

The first day was a lot of overview.  We touched on a variety of different topics on which we will get more specific over the next nine days.  Just so everyone out there knows, there is a lot more to it than bid calling.  From clerking and law to advertising and collecting sales tax, the chant is actually a small portion of the overall course.  The vast majority of the school is devoted to ethics and good business practice.  I'm not sure if that is a cause or effect relationship in the auction business, but I am glad it's there.  Ever been to an auction and had the suspicion that you were bidding against someone who worked there?  Perhaps you were bidding against an imaginary person or even the overflowing trashcan?  A good auctioneer has to be trustworthy.  Good ethics make a great difference.  I think that goes for any business.  We actually did work on the chant a little bit today.  We will work on it daily.  That's a good thing!  While I like to talk, I have a loooooong way to go before I can rattle off numbers like the two cats teaching us.

Well, I'm off to get a shower , call the family and bed down for the night.  Day two of The Excellent Adventure has been a whirlwind.  I'll probably sleep good tonight.  Instead of counting sheep, I'm gonna to see how much I can get for them at auction.

Y'all take it easy,