Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes Virginia, There IS a Santa Claus. The original letter.

8-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Sun & the response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. Veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church’s response has become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial. We thought we'd share it here with you. Have a Happy Holiday from your friends at Schur Success Auction & Appraisal.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN it's so. Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

Dear Virginia,

Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Unethical Auctioneers?

A recent article on artinfo.com talks of auctioneers selling Bernie Madoff's assets in Vail, and discusses the poor reputation the auctioneers have earned. Our advice is to be wary of any auctioneers that you've never done business with in the past. While not every auctioneer is going to make every customer happy, most ethical and professional auctioneers do a fine job and are proud of their track record.
At Schur Success Auction & Appraisal (as well as many other fine Colorado Auctioneers), we're members of both the National Auctioneer's Association and the Colorado Auctioneers Association. Both of these organizations require their members to follow a code of ethics, which we proudly subscribe to. In addition, we are proud members of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.

Whether you are buying or selling, its good to know who you are dealing with. Don't be afraid to check references and ask questions. In fact, here are some questions you should ask:

How long have you been doing business in this area?

What professional associations do you belong to?

What advance industry certifications have you earned?

Do you have a business license?

Do you have an Auctioneer license? (Note: Colorado does NOT require an Auctioneer's License, but many local governments do, including the City of Denver. (BTW... We have licenses where ever we are require to)

Who are your references?

Don't be afraid to ask... if your gut tells you there is something wrong, then move on to another auction or auctioneer.

PS... Here's our answers...

We have been in the Denver/Colorado Springs area for nearly 30 years.

We belong to both the National and Colorado Auctioneers Association. In fact we hold board or committee positions with both organizations. We belong to the NEBB Institute (National Equipment & Business Builders Institute). we belong to the Better Business Bureau. We belong to several other non-auction organizations as well as working with some non-profits.

We hold many certifications, including the highest certification available in the auction industry, the CAI Certified Auctioneers Institute.

We have a State of Colorado business license, a Denver license, and many sales/business licenses throughout the metro region. If a license of any type is required where we are selling, we obtain that license.

Our references? Ask ANY of the customers you see listed on our web site. Ask the City of Denver - we've been their auctioneers for more than 20 years.

We're proud of our service and commitment tyo Colorado and to this wonderful auction business. We are proud of the service we give you. We encourage you do refrain from doing auction business with anyone who doesn't meet YOUR standards.

Here's the link to the article....Click HERE.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Drop Side Cribs & Storage Buyers

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has ruled today that drop-side cribs can no longer be manufactured or SOLD in the United States. This law will take effect in 6 months, but the initial review indicates the sales ban will include private party sales such as those on E-Bay, Craig's List, or through flea markets and second hand stores.

As you look at storage units, remember that cribs (much like mattresses) could represent a liability. If you have drop-side cribs in your inventory, you'll have a short period of time in which to get them sold before you are stuck with them. For further information, look at their website: http://www.cpsc.gov/.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Storage Auctions Part 2 - Kissing Frogs

Yes, you read that right. Kissing frogs. That's what it's like. You've all heard the fairy tale about the princess who had to kiss a frog before he turned into her Prince Charming.

Of course, in all likelihood she had to kiss more than one frog to find him. Probably several frogs. Ok, lets get real.... she had to kiss a zillion frogs to find her prince. Let's not forget her sister, who was looking for that same prince. She kissed a bunch of frogs too. But only one of them found her prince. The other one just found frogs.

I bring this up because I was watching Storage Wars last night. It's a fun show, and exciting too. But there were lots of Princes, and not many frogs. It was amazing to me that they didn't show any frogs. What I'm concerned with is the term "Reality TV".

I don't think it is really reality. In reality, there are frogs in the storage auction business. Lots of frogs. There are many, many units that have nothing but frogs - no princes. But you won't see that on TV - not very exciting, is it? The truth is that you're not very likely to buy a unit for $125, and find a million dollar comic book collection hidden by the $25,000 Harley that's sitting on top of that rare coin collection. 

You're likely to spend $125 and find $300 worth of things to sell. And you'll have to sort out the good stuff from the frogs. And then you'll have to get rid of the frogs. And the EPA likely has a "frog disposal tax". In other words, have realistic expectations of what you will find.

You're there to make money. Buy things at a good price, and sell them at a better price. But you are not going to get "lucky" with every unit. Most buyers will never get that "hidden treasure" that they can retire from. You will likely buy some units that will bring you hundreds in profits, and occasionally thousands. You will sometimes break even, and some times, yes sometimes, you will lose money.

But if you stick with it, and learn a little from each unit you buy (or don't buy), you'll get better. Over time, and once you have spent lots of money on units, you'll get better at making money. If your profit expectations are realistic, you won't often be disappointed.  At Schur Success Auctions & Appraisal, we find that our most successful storage auction buyers here in Colorado have very realistic expectations.

If you are new to this business, keep your hands in your pockets until you learn the ropes. (Look at our previous blog discussing the rules). And, maybe, just maybe, you'll kiss a frog that turns into a prince. But if it were me, I'd rather not kiss a bunch of frogs. I'll pass, and if I choose to kiss a frog, I'll be prepared for it to stay a frog.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Fascination with Storage Auctions

There have been some new TV shows that feature storage auctions and auction buyers. As an auctioneer, I sure appreciate the attention. We get lots of new faces at our Colorado auctions these days, and hopefully for us and our clients, it means more revenue.

But new faces means new problems. Lots of folks who are curious come out to see what's happening, and that's a good thing. Some will even bid, and that's a good thing too. However, many don't quite understand how it all works, and that's a problem.

A large crowd is a nice, but only if everyone is dancing to the same music. So, here's some things to know before you go...

Bring cash. There's no credit cards, no IOU's, and no time to run to a bank or an ATM. You have to have the cash in your pocket.

You'll need deposit money. If you win the bid, expect to pay a refundable CASH deposit of at least $50 - $100 PER LOCATION!.... as long as you clean out completely and on time, you'll get your deposit back.

Move QUICKLY! All auctions run on tight schedules, and time is money. Look quickly. There are people behind you who need to see as well/ If you're not interested in bidding on the unit, then PLEASE, move past and out of the way so that we can take care of the folks who do wish to bid.

Bring a flashlight so you can see in the back. Remember, you CAN NOT enter the unit in any way.

Don't bring your kids. They will slow you down, slow us down, and we really don't want to see them get hurt. If you absolutely have to bring them, please keep a close eye on them.

Prepare to haul it ALL. There are no dumpsters for you to use. EVERYTHING must go with you.. the trash, the treasure, and everything in between. If you leave anything behind, you will lose your deposit and will no longer be allowed at our sales. We enforce this rule with absolute certainty.

Please don't bring 20 helpers.... at least not to bid. But, you sure will find them handy when it's time to load out.

Think BEFORE you bid. Once we say sold, it's yours. Period. Experienced bidders will tell that they bid on what they actually see, not what they THINK may be hiding. The treasure hunt comes when you get more than you expected, as opposed to expecting more than you see.

Check the locations and routes before you go, since we won't wait for you.

Did I mention CASH? Bring what you are willing to part with.

Know where you will sell what you find. If you don't already have an outlet for your purchases, you'll end up scrambling to figure out what to do with it.

This is Colorado.... dress in layers. Some locations have both inside and outside units.

ASK QUESTIONS, BUT.... do it before you bid. A bid is a legally binding offer to make a purchase, and we have every intention of holding you to your bid.

Say "hi" to the Auctioneer... over time, we'll get to know your name and your face, and we'll have even more fun.

Over the last 30 days, we have seen a 100% increase in web traffic, so we know there is curiosity about these auctions. Still have questions? call us. We'd rather talk to you and answer your questions before hand than try to take care of you while 75 other people are talking to us.

Mostly, have fun. You know we're sure having a blast!