Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Visit to the Car Auction

After searching for a few weeks for a car, I finally settled on a few makes and models that I liked.  I watched online for a good deal, but was easily deterred by the idea of trying to get to the cars to check them out.  Lazy, maybe...but mostly I just couldn't be bothered with so many other things going on.  However, with work starting, I decided to rent a car and use it for travel to and from the office as well as a trip to the auction house.

I visited Turners auctions on the North Shore on Tuesday night for the $6500 and under auction - it was a fruitless effort. Although I found a Honda Accord that I liked there, the car just didn't seem to be the right choice.  Stalling three times while trying to park it after a test drive clued me in on that one.

The next morning I headed into work early so that I could stop at another Tuners auction house on the southern side of the city.  There was a '99 Honda Accord listed there that I wanted to take a look at.  I was hoping for something better than the night before.  I test drove the car and found it to be pretty good.  I checked the a/c, the radio, locks, doors, windows, brakes, tires, and looked under the hood (not that I knew what I was looking for, but it seemed like the right thing to do).  After my own very thorough and expert inspection I decided to fork over the money for a slightly more experienced eye to look at it.  The auction was scheduled for noon so I left for work and hoped to come back and bid then.

The inspection came through with a good report while I was at the office.  For the most part the car was in good shape.  The hardest part was yet to come....the bidding.  I knew where my limit was and I knew what the process was, but I had no one there to help me with my nerves.  I was feeling very alone.  My car was lot number 28, I watched as the 27 cars before it came and went and my leg started to shake a bit more each time.  Finally my blue Honda Accord was driven to the center position for the bidding to begin.

The auctioneer began at $5000, quickly dropping to $3000 where he received a bidder.  I countered.  The other bidder jumped up higher.  I countered.  We were off!  The auctioneer was bantering a bit which added to the atmosphere.  My hand was going up and down on its own accord.  Soon we were at $4000 increasing each bid by $100.  And then we were at $4300 increasing by $50.  I was nearing the end of my self-imposed budget.  At $4450 the other person had the bid and I was waffling.  Did I really want the car?  Was it really worth continuing this line of bidding?  This would be my last bid, how long would my opponent hold out?  I raised my hand.  $4500.  The auctioneer looked to my enemy for a counter.  "Where are you going?" He chastised the other bidder into the microphone, "Are you going to just give it to her?"

What was happening here?  My heart was about to beat out of my chest with the anticipation and the auctioneer was stalling!  "Hey!" I yelled smiling at the auctioneer, "Throw down the gavel!!" Crap, did that come out of my mouth?  Sure enough, he looked at me, a bit shocked and laughed as he yelled "SOLD!" and slammed the hammer down.  The car was mine.  The auctioneer continued into the microphone about how the situation only reminded him of being at home...but I couldn't hear.  I was too excited to pay attention to much else in the crowd.  I had won.  I finished the paperwork and planned to pick up the car the following morning.

I was on cloud nine and on my way back to the office.  Before I headed back in, I called my dad to re-tell the exciting story.  He listened and was excited for me and then sagely pointed out that the person bidding against me could have been a plant as the bidder conveniently left as soon as the price reached the reserve.  Damn.  Foiled in the end.  But, at least I have a car.

About the car:  2.2 engine; 175000 km; cam belt changed 20,000km ago; registration and warrant of fitness good through Sept; Car serviced last month; 4 previous owners; very minor bumps/dents on the body; blue interior and exterior; very clean; so far so good

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