Monday, September 13, 2010

Bidding On Birdhouses


The above picture was not one of the birdhouses on the auction block, but some of the birdhouses looked something like it, to give you an idea.
Saturday evening we went to a women’s club White Elephant Auction and dinner. Although I must admit I did not hear it called a “White Elephant Auction,” but have heard it called that elsewhere.

The idea is these women bring in stuff of value that they don’t need or want, hidden in bags, boxes or wrapping. You bid on the object sight unseen. Sometimes you make out on your bidding and sometimes you take a beating. The money goes to a needy charity in Cobb County.

Keep in mind, most members are elderly, frugal women who are not computer or electronic savvy. Not that I am all that computer savvy, but if something has a menu and is halfway user friendly, I can eventually find my way around.
The event was to start at 6:00 pm at a Methodist church with the plan being to come early and help set up the tables, chairs, and arrange your food, so we could eat by 6:00. We are perpetual early extremists but lately have been trying to hold ourselves back, arriving a little later than we normally do. We arrived at the 5:15. The parking lot was empty. We waited and waited. They asked people to try to be there by 5:00 to help set up. On the way over I was fretting to myself, worrying that we would not get a decent parking place.

At least we got to pick any parking place we wanted.

We sat in the car until 5:30 and no one showed up. They changed the meeting day. Maybe they changed the meeting place too and the telephone chain service failed someplace along the line. Anna picked up her cell-phone and was in the process of calling a friend to see if she knew if the meeting place had been changed when a car drove up.

A lady and a man got out. She was a club member. She said they arrived at 5:00, no one was there. She said they then left, drove around and got lost. She introduced the man as her boyfriend.

“Boyfriend?” The short old man, looked to be age-wise qualified to be a great grandfather at least. That means she was his “girlfriend”.

Not long after that somebody arrived with the key to get inside. She put the key inside the keyhole, turned, opened the door and the alarm went off.

We had no idea how to turn it off.

Other people arrived carrying their food and ignoring the screaming alarm. The lady kept telling people not to move or open doors. She thought that was what was causing the alarm to pitch a fit. She called somebody in the know and they told her to punch in the secred number on the security keypad to make the alarm quit. She did and the alarm continued. After a while she finally called back and found out she had the wrong number. This time it worked.

The boyfriend and I sat up tables and unfolded chairs and arranged them so-so. Another team were putting on red plastic table cloths. Women were at work arranging their covered dishes in buffet style and arranging the things to be auctioned off.

Everything sort of osmosis itself into completion just a few minutes after the 0 hour of 6pm. Amazing how unorganized it appeared then everything fell into place in an organized manner.

Of all the women there I counted 5 men. I noticed by this auction and the other auctions that us men are for good setting up tables and chairs, putting back the table and chairs where we found them, and carrying stuff to and from the cars.

I noticed something else we were good for too. That is to keep an eye on the food table. One man was not bashful, he was the first to start piling food his plate. And none of us men was bashful about going back for seconds.

The auction went nicely. I think plenty of money was raised for some needy charity. It was also entertaining to watch people unwrap what they blindly bided for and what objects the objects they blindly bided on were.

The lady auctioneer looked in one package and said something like, “This object is meant for a man.” No one but men bided on it. Not me, I didn’t bid on anything. A man got it. Opened the package and it was a cranium mind-games. A few of the women took in their breath at that – men are the only ones that are smart enough to play mind-games? They sarcastically said. Oops!

Birdhouses were the show stealers. A lady brought in probably between 8 and 12 boxes neatly packed and some were wrapped in a certain type of paper. The birdhouses themselves were pastel colors and trimmed in a darker colors. They reminded me of gingerbread houses. The lady that brought them in placed them strategically, like every 3rd or 4th package, either she cleverly planned it that way, or it just worked out like that.

After about the 4th or 5th birdhouse people begin to realize that the certain type of wrapping paper or box meant a birdhouse was inside. Then, after that, each time one of her packages was introduced a bidding frenzy began.

However, remember, these mostly are frugal elderly ladies. They quickly shouted out their bid, but I don’t think anybody paid over $4.50 or $5.00 for a birdhouse.

Somebody said there was a ten dollar bidding limit. But they made one exception: Two hundred dollar tickets to the Cobb Symphony concert of your choice for the Christmas season. They went for $40.

The story behind the birdhouses – how come the lady had so many and willing to get of them: Her daughter had them sitting on top of her cabinets in the kitchen. She was tired of them and was going to throw them away.

After the auction ended we put up the chairs and tables but not much food was left to carry back. We men saw to that. Then Mother Nature unleashed a hell of a storm of with raining forcefully coming down, thunder, and lightening. Luckily, we made it home, even it at times we had to drive only 20 mph.

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