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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Lightbulb Are estate sales worth the chaos?

    Went to a local estate sale and that thing was total chaos!

    They had sign up sheet starting at 5 am and were not even opening until 8 am! On top of that there was a huge line and they were only letting in 10 people in at a time. Then a few minutes before the doors were to open some guy was screaming "Get back! Get back in line!" then some other guy started screaming obscenities back and there was almost a fist fight and this was before they were even open.

    Then when people got inside people were literally shoving poor old ladies out of the way and then another fist fight almost broke out over a particular item. Lots of screaming and shoving. I really was amazed by the total lack of civility.

    Just as a note I have noticed that the people in the front of the line are usually very rude and just out right aggressive. I believe that a few of them would even go so far as to push, shove or maybe even punch some one to get a specific item they wanted.

    So I guess the questions is: Are there enough "scores" to justify going through this kind of chaos? Are the crazy overaggressive people at the front of the line getting "rewarded" by actually finding the best item(s)?

    I want to get the best items myself just like anybody else. However, I am wonder if it is really worth the chaos or even getting into a physical altercation?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Provocative and interesting question... let's see what folks say...

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Hi David,
    Thanks for your question. The situation you described does play out on a regular basis at sales in this country, and I imagine all over the world. There is certainly a philisophical way of looking at it, and there is also a practical side. The sad truth is that many times, the aggressive people at the front of the line are often able to "score" something. I would imagine that at some point they scored something really big, otherwise they wouldn't allow themselves to stoop to such a low level of behavior over it. I've chatted with people before who will tell stories of someone getting to a table 3 seconds ahead of them, and finding a cheaply priced item that they wound up turning around and making a fortune on. And for some guys, an experience like that makes them say "never again will that happen to me", and they take on hyper aggressive bullying tactics to get first crack at finding their big score. It is ugly, and it really stinks, and is the dark side of the "business" side of antiqueing. All the reality junk/antique - pawn shop shows so popular on TV dont help any either, but it is not a new problem at all.
    With all that being said, if you're into antiques as a business, you can't just be at the end of those lines, picking up the leftovers that the aggressive creeps wind up not taking. But I think the good news is that I dont see those unethical aggressive types having great success in their businesses, other than the occasional "big hit", which they become obsessed with repeating.
    The folks in the business who are truely successful, who I admire greatly, have made their successes through hard work and persistence, being organized and diligent, and by working very hard at developing reputations that will bring them oportunities to eventually have access to valuable estates and collections. Once a person earns a foul reputation, either by the behaviour you described above, or by ripping someone off, they don't get reffered to by anyone to be trusted to sell an estate or large collection, which is where the real treasures are found.
    I'd say "dont get discouraged", but I have to confess when I experience something like you did, I'm not able to be philisophical about it any time soon, so I feel your pain, as they say.
    The only recourse I ever get is at times I'll set up at a show, or a high end antiques sale. What I tend to do, is put my low end or damages stuff out on the sales table at the begining of the show, and let all the riff raff and aggressive dealers charge my table, and haggle away with me to their hearts content. Little do they know, that after that first wave of dealers goes by, I then take out the "good" stuff, and let the more decent folk that arrive in the second wave, be the first ones to get a crack at it.
    If nothing else, it feels like a moral victory Hang in there, don't let it ruin your enjoyment.
    Bram Hepburn - Worthpoint Bottle specialist.

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