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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Jerk.




Hi everyone.  Rebecca here.  Today was a very rainy day in New Orleans, and I'm usually not a very good sleeper, so I took advantage of the weather and spent the morning in, snoozing.  Brian went to the first two auctions without me,  we skipped the third one all-together, and then showed up for the fourth and fifth at a caravan we go to every month, one with one of our favorite auctioneers.

By the time I showed up with Brian at Auction #4, I had been hearing stories from quite a few people about this new bidder who had shown up from out of nowhere and was throwing around tons of money.  Apparently one of our regulars knew him-- he's from Bogalusa, and I suppose this guy has frequented auctions in his area before, but I've never seen him around here.  Allegedly he lives near Jackson, LA (if anyone can tell me where that is, I'd appreciate it,  not even sure if it was worth it to spend time trying to find it on a map)... but the point is, this is not his area.

My immediate thoughts about the guy was that he was younger (about my age, late 20s or early 30s) and single.  I'm always excited about sort of cute, new, boys around auction-- so I was eager to reach out to the new fella.  Everyone else told me he seemed like kind of a jerk.  Not wanting to judge anyone, I just politely said I'd see that for myself and we went on with the auction.

The guy purchased 4 or 5 units, ranging from $300 probably up to $800, and it's clear that he's here to play, which is fine, and he's spending a lot of money.   That really doesn't bother me.  There were only about 20 bidders out today (the rain apparently was a big deterrent), and 16-18 of them were what we would consider our "friends",  and there were quite a few units at each facility (at least 6 or 8), so there were plenty of units to go around.    Brian and I bid on a few units, but nothing was spectacular (there was one with a safe, for example, but it had the keys inside the lock already, so you knew it was empty...  stuff like that)--  and units were going for a little bit more than they should.  We're already full and we have a whole day of auctions tomorrow so we just backed off.

But this dude kept buying, and I don't resent him for it-- that's why we're all here.  I also get that people who drive 2-3 hours to get to New Orleans are under more pressure to buy then someone like say, us, because we're here every day and get spoiled with auctions at least 2 or 3 times per week.  We weren't going to bend over backwards for someone we didn't know, or spoil him, or partner with him-- but we didn't have to be rude or aloof either.  Right?

Wrong. Halfway through the auction at facility #4,  Brian comes up to me and our friend and says "did y'all just see that?  He gave me the shoulder!"   --  apparently, the dude had been trying to get to see a locker, and Brian was trying to get to see the same locker, and the dude threw a shoulder into Brian to move him out of the way.  Words were exchanged, something under the breath, he said something to Brian along the lines of "we're all going to the same place"-- but he said that was it.   I never doubt my business partner, but admittedly, I didn't see it, so I wasn't sure how bad it really had been.  I did take Brian's advice though, and began to watch this new country boy a little more closely.

You know how some people just put off the picture of "douchebag" ?   That was this guy, totally and completely.  Clothing that suggested his favorite store was Bass Pro, camouflage wherever possible, and really expensive Oakleys on his head, held in place by a catcher just in case his fishing pole, or whatever, got away from him.   Total sportsman type, which usually I love, but something about him just screamed douchebag.   My favorite part of the ensemble, though, was the little man purse backpack slung over his left shoulder.    Word to the wise-- if you are going to go to an auction in a new town, and throw money around, and make that known to everyone-- don't carry around a little man purse!    It's like saying "if you're going to rob me,  start HERE."

From now on, we're going to call our guy Navin, because that was Steve Martin's character in "The Jerk."  Appropriate, right?  So,  we're moving from unit to unit, and we get to this one particular unit, and it's really difficult to see inside because there are 3 mattresses blocking the door, and only a sliver between them, and a little space around the corner, into a really dark unit.   Everyone is taking a little longer than usual to look in the room and Navin is NOT a happy camper.  You keep hearing him say things like "come on guys, this doesn't take all day!"  and "this is ridiculous" --       I could see maybe being annoyed, but he was just down right pretentious.  Plus, he should know that we were about an hour and a half ahead of where we would typically be in that schedule, so we were all having a good old time.  It's not OUR fault you have to drive x amount of hours back to God knows where!     So,  he's bidding on it, against a regular, and the regular has to go back and look at it again, and of course Navin has some other comment about how ridiculous it is, and we're so slow, and he's really showing his asshole colors,  and then...  he literally says "Get out of my unit, come on" -- which is not uncommon in this business, but he SLAMS the metal wall to make a big loud bang,  and as soon as the unit is announced SOLD, he SLAMS the heavy metal door shut so loudly to where people who were already halfway down the stairs and hallway stopped cold in their tracks to see what was going on.

All of the regulars at this point start cutting up.. "wow, I didn't think we were in such a hurry!", "ooh, I'm having fun",   "I wonder where he's in such a rush to get to, his other job at McDonalds?"  -- whatever.   It's actually still kind of comical at this point, because the fact that someone would be so rude to a group of other people who are obviously on the same team, is beyond me.   But, we continue.

We walk to the next locker, the last one of the day, and I was floored by what happened next (almost literally)...   We're waiting to look in this locker, and all of the things are on the floor, and far back, so you literally have to get all the way to the front to see everything.  I wait patiently for quite a few people to look (including Navin), and when everyone's done, I move in.  I'm standing, and looking, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Navin coming.  I remembered what Brian had told me about him being a shover, so I plant my feet firmly apart  (and thank goodness, I'm not in heels today because of the rain, I actually had flats on,  totally out of character for me)... and I hear him say "Hey, get out of the way for people who are ACTUALLY bidding"  --  Ass.   Seriously?  Did you really just say that?  How am I supposed to know whether I'm going to bid or not if I can't even look inside.    As he's saying this, he PUSHES up against me with his entire body weight, but I'm prepared, so all I do is fall a little to the right into a guy next to me.   I say as loud as I can "I can't believe how people just PUSH" -- and the poor guy next to me says, "Oh baby doll, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it if I accidentally did'  and I say, "not you- the guy behind me.  I thought boys from the country were supposed to have Southern manners,"  and I walk away.  I'm fuming.  Had I not prepared myself, or been in higher shoes, or whatever, I probably would have ate the pavement.    And, combined with his comments, there is NO WAY I'd believe he did it on accident.   What a jerk.

Normally, I'm not one for confrontation, and normally, I understand that a lot of this business is ego, and mind games, and things like that-- but it was almost like someone was watching a little too much Auction Hunters.  I felt like Chicago Charles or someone would come busting through at any moment the way he was slamming on walls and doors like he was a caged gorilla.  I get when you're a newcomer, especially when we're all as buddy buddy as we are, it can be a little intimidating, but I don't think necessarily making enemies is the best way to go about it. But I guess that's just me.   Anyways, normally I would have just let it go, but we were walking through the office to the car, and he was standing there so smug with his little man bag, and I just couldn't help myself.   I looked right at him and said "RUDE!"  in my best Bon Qui Qui voice.  I continued for the door.  I didn't really want a fight, I just wanted him to know that was completely unacceptable.  He ignored me.  His buddy then says, "Dude, I think she's talking to you."    Here's the rest of THAT conversation:

Navin:  You talkin' to me?
Me:  Yeah, I was.
Navin:   well?
Me:  I just think it's really rude that you practically shoved me out of your way.
Navin:  I don't have any idea what you're talking about.
Me:  You did.  You announced, "if you're not bidding on this unit, get out of the way for the real bidders", or something like that, and pushed me.   With your entire body weight.
Navin:  <smugly>, I don't know what you're talking about.  (I could have sworn he grinned a little).
Me:  Well you did, and you also (Brian walks in at this point and I gestured at him),  shoved him earlier this morning with your shoulder.
Brian:  It's true... you did it, and you've been banging doors and walls like you own the place.  Just because you buy a lot of units doesn't mean you can treat people like that (or something to that effect)
Navin:  Yeah, okay.
Me:  I don't know how you do things wherever you're from, but that's NOT how we do things HERE.  (I could have sworn I saw a few of our bidder friends nodding, but I'm not entirely sure so I won't say it with certainty.  It'd be cool if they did, though!)

At this point, the auctioneer is obviously aggravated with us (as well she should be), so she says something like calm down, the TV cameras aren't around, or something.   We decide to leave, but as we go, Brian looks at him and says:

Brian:  I guess we'll see you tomorrow then!
(We have auction tomorrow, and Brian knew that, and the auctioneer knew that, and everyone else knew that, but apparently this guy either a) didn't know that, b) was playing stupid, or c) now thinks Brian wants to fight him tomorrow in a parking lot somewhere).
Navin:  You'll SEE ME TOMORROW??

We just walked out.  I sincerely hope the dude is driving his 3 1/2 hour (or whatever it is) drive back and wondering to himself exactly what we meant by that. On our way home, we just talked about it and laughed about it.  We called a friend to find out what happened after we left, and called the auctioneer to apologize (after all, everyone is their customer and putting money in their pockets regardless of whether they're nice to us or not)... and then just discussed it some more.  Brian also consoled me with some crab legs, which were delicious and helped a ton.  ;)

Tomorrow is another day.   Whatever, the dude is not worth even stressing about, but it's a good lesson to those of you who want to start going to auctions to begin with, or want to cross over to auctions in new areas.   Contacts are important!   It's one thing to be intimidating, but it's another to be just a big jerk.

Until next time,

Storage Heroes

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