Somebody bid R5500 at a charity auction for the rare privilege of going Out to Lunch with me a few weeks ago. This was R1000 more than the previous year which shows that I am a major contributor to inflation in this country. Or would be if a bid for lunch with me was part of the basket of goods that make up the inflationary measure.
I should point out that I have been bid for in the past and generally raised in the region of R3000 for the charity concerned. The odd thing is that, up until now, those who bid for me never bothered to arrange the lunch. They probably took the sensible view that to take me to lunch would only push the cost up even higher. Either that or they were suffering from buyer’s remorse.
I’ve done my fair share of charity auctions and I have to say that I probably wouldn’t have waved my hand frantically and bid up for the privilege of buying someone like me lunch. So I’m very glad that somebody did. The problem with charity auctions is what on earth to auction. The usual tat consists of “art” that nobody in their right mind would want to have on their wall, signed copies of books that you don’t want to read and weekends away at luxury resorts with drinks and meals not included. That means that you have to pay to get to the resort and then spend more than you would probably spend on your annual holiday paying for food and drink at inflated prices.
Then there are the return air tickets to Egypt which you only discover are at the back of economy class when it is too late. And they can only be used during the month of Ramadan. Specific details are not a feature of a charity auction and the auctioneer is usually the least well informed person in the room. I’ve even had to start the bidding for a case of wine because the guests at a charity event were too mean to do so. The irony was that I knocked the lot down to myself and after the auction a member of the audience woke up to the lost opportunity and offered to buy the wine from me at 20% more than I had paid. Where was he when I was up on the podium desperately looking for a bid?
But the worse possible things to auction are sports memorabilia because everyone thinks they want them at the time and then realize they don’t when they are sober the next morning. So the same old sports memorabilia (Signed shirt of the SA football squad after they miraculously won something years ago) circulates and appears at every charity auction. Which means that the sort of people who support charity auctions and have seen it all before (or possibly bought it) don’t even bother to bid. At the last auction I did we dumped 12 sporting lots due to lack of interest. So maybe we need some fresh thinking for charity auctions. How about the opportunity to be Julius Malema’s chauffeur for the evening? Do I have R5500?