Attending an auction at the Sheraton West Hotel.
Just the idea sounds old-fashioned…
I am a product of my generation: an intern at a software start-up who uses pictures to supplement his blog posts because words just don’t do it anymore for kids like him. A young man of twenty-two who checks his Facebook, Instagram, and email five steps away from his car in in the hotel parking lot. And a kid who feels nothing but a confused curiosity toward the event taking place inside the old building in front of him. In his mind the public auction is as flint and steel compared to the stainless steel zippo of eBay or other online bidding platforms. But I am he as he is me and all that other bygone poetry of the Beatles states, and I am, is, are, were, was…wrong.
I thought I was right as the door was opened for me by a doorman, as I climbed the red satin stairs to the ballroom, and as the worn chant of what sounded like an eighty year old auctioneer danced off the walls. I imagined there would be a single table waiting for me as I turned the corner to enter the ball room, the middle-aged, midwestern sweetheart waiting to take down my name with pen and pencil.
What I found was this:
I found a form of business not on the way out, but in the middle of its own personal Renaissance. Trained, youthful employees checked in customers with drivers license and credit card scanners, items up for auction sailed by on LCD monitors and flat screens, and as I walked in the main ballroom a guy my age replaced his elder predecessor on the podium. His chant loud and proud, a sign that a shot of youth was all that was needed to reinvigorate the business, not just a cut and run for the final digital frontier.
I walked about the auction, taking in images like these:
that contrastined images like these:
But realized how this contrast was a perfect partnership between old and new, each once supplementing the other to create the ultimate auction experience. The workers showcasing items to interested buyers and the comforting bark of the auctioneer added a sense of honest security to the process that online-only buying lacks, while the software and screens added a fluidity and exciting element of online buyers to the atmosphere that keep everything moving a long at lively pace.
A sense of pride soon sunk in as I took a seat just watch the whole thing live and breathe around me. This is after all a blog post for my company, Wavebid, so there is of course the need to shamelessly plug our product and how it was our youthful technology that kept everything fluid. But I find a lot less shame doing it when I genuinely see that our Cataloging, Marketing, and Clerking software is a spectacular thing to watch in action. A new engine in a dependable 1969 Mustang that will keep the industry running for a long time.
The beginning of a beautiful friendship.