My sister and brother-in-law are in town, and they really wanted to take in an auction at Gallery 63. If you’re a fan of The Discovery Channel, you may recognize the name – the auction house has its own show on that network, called Auction Kings. I had never been to a live auction, so we all loaded into the minivan, and I told the kids we were going to see ‘that fast-talking guy’. I made sure to emphasize that there would be lots of things to look at, but this was not a touching sort of place. The kids were actually in agreeable and compliant moods (note the fresh Disney booty in their little hands). When we got to the warehouse, we scoped out the place with nary an incident.
Before we took a seat, Paul Brown hustled past us. He saw the kids, and blurted out, ‘Hey, be really careful with those little ones, there’s a lot of sharp stuff around, we generally don’t allow kids at auctions.’ Oooops – I didn’t know. But I’m a rule follower, so I wanted to make the kids scarce in the 45 minutes before the auction began. We left my sister and her husband and that’s when I saw the ‘NO CHILDREN AT AUCTION’ sign – on the back side of the entrance doors. Perfectly visible – as you leave.
I took the kids for a drive – got some Starbucks, picked up a snack for them. We got back to Gallery 63 right as the auction began and took our seats out of the way at the top of the bleachers in the back.
Mad props to Hailey and Evan, who were fascinated by the caller’s voice, and who just sat there, (for once) with no complaints. I could have stayed there all afternoon to watch. I’ve seen Auction Kings a few times, but the television show doesn’t do justice to the action and speed and sound of a live auction. The auctioneer would be taking bids one second and had closed the bidding and moved on to the next item before I could breathe. Employees dashed all over the floor, showing the merchandise to bidders who wanted a closer look, and a whole crew moved the big goods on and off a stage at such a pace that I didn’t see them working – I just looked up and -boom- there was a new piece for bidding.
We sat there for twenty minutes or so. Then Evan had to go to the bathroom. I carried him out and as we were on our way back to our seats, dude hurtled past us again. He was a bit more forceful this time: ‘I cannot have him in here, we don’t allow kids at auctions, if you must have him here, you must hold him.’ He wasn’t rude, he was just trying not to get sued by someone bringing their toddler inside to topple over a Ming vase and then take him to court for cuts from the glass shards. I get it.
There was no time to say anything. All I managed to stumble out was, ‘I’m so sorry.’ Weak.
So, I gathered the family, and we all left. I was mortified and angry at the same time. I was proud of the kids for behaving so well, but instead of being rewarded for their self-control, we were having to leave anyway. I also hated looking like a fool who thinks the rules don’t apply to me, and had I known kids weren’t permitted before we all went out there, of course I wouldn’t have made it a family excursion. I must have looked like an entitled suburban bitch with her offspring. What I felt like was someone just trying to do a good enough job.