As the club's auction chairperson, I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to improve the auction.
Sometimes these thoughts actually pan out and others do not. This is the nature of "improvements."
There are many ways to do things and many ways to get things done. If you say "my way and the wrong way," I believe you think too much of yourself.
I have made an improvement to this philosophy… "My way and not-quite-my-way but it's better than having to do it myself."
With these thoughts in mind, consider doing the following at your club auction.
Do remember to enjoy yourself. This is a fun thing. Don't take it too seriously. Do make eye contact with the runner after you are the successful bidder. It makes it easier on the bidder.
Do remember to keep your conversations low. You may not be interested in every fish on the auction block, but it wouldn't be there if no one was interested in it.
Do bring fish that may not sell at higher prices.
We all know that some fish do not sell well at local auctions. Ameca splendens (Butterfly Goodied) and Poecilia chica (Dwarf Mollies) readily come to mind.
This does not mean that they are worthless. There are some people who drove four or five hours to come to our auction in the hopes of finding something new and different.
They might just be impressed with more common fish. Enter one or two pairs or a bag of fish. What the heck, you might hit it big. You have nothing to lose. If the fish don't sell at the auctions, they don't sell at the shops either.
Last year I had the only pair of Ameca splendens entered in the auction and they went for $8. Not bad for a give away!
Do repeat the fish name during the bidding process, especially when prices stall. Auctions are busy and people talk. Someone may not have heard which species is on the auction block. Repeat the name, the price can only go up.
Do stall for a moment when someone is waving for the runner or is corning over to look at the fish. Stall for a second or two, again, the price can only go up.
Do plug the raffle, refreshment stand, other auctions, and club membership.
You guys do a good job keeping the auction moving along. Folks didn't like to interrupt you for the occasional plug.
Club members, please…
Do come to the auction.
We had only 25% of our members at our last auction. Come on out even if you don't have fish to sell or space left in your tanks for new purchases. Auctions are great places to meet new people and see some of the other folks who don't come to the meetings regularly.
Do offer busy people your help. Hold the door for someone with a big box. Help new sellers register. Help new buyers by describing the bidder numbers. Fill in for someone who's working the auction and desperately needs a rest.
Do make suggestions on improving the club auction, Remember to make it a suggestion and not a demand or complaint. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Do introduce yourself if you see someone you don't know. Try to get a chance to talk to this person. Ask them if they are from the area. If they are, give them a club application. If they aren't, find out what kind of fish they keep and try to introduce them to someone who has the same interest.
Remember, if we get buyers to come back it is very good for the club. Buyers become sellers and you might get someone to come back with a couple of species not readily available in your area. Cool!
By Christopher Newell. Reprinted from the March 1997 issue of the "Tropiquarium", the magazine of Moto City Aquarium Society. in Detroit, Michigan.