Monday, May 22, 2017

How not to be a D*ck at Self-Storage Auctions - An Everyday Etiquette Guide

 Finding content for social media and blogs is hard. Well actually, it is easy for a day or two, and then you run out of ideas, and it becomes tough. What is even harder about creating content is you have to come up with something that “resonates” with people. Do you all know the definition of “resonate?” It means “to meet with someone’s agreement.” Is this serious? I have a hard time agreeing with people I know and genuinely enjoy having in my life. How am I supposed to know how to agree with strangers? Further, how many people do I need to have in agreement with my thoughts to resonate successfully? Given theses struggles, I will look pretty much anywhere to find content.

I enjoy reading more than almost anything so, I will read anything that might inspire me to create content. One of my favorite places to find inspiring content is on the discount table at Barnes & Noble. You know this table. It is close to the register and holds books like a trivia almanac or the complete guide to origami. I found a little gem amongst the discounts last week. It was titled: How not to be a D*ck: An Everyday Guide to Etiquette.

Given that D*ck was in the title of the book, I was hopeful it was going to be funny.  I don’t know if it was supposed to be funny, but I found it to be very straightforward and practical, so not funny at all. It contained tips like “put yourself in the other person’s shoes” and “before speaking, think.” After I got over my initial disappointment, I realized there might be some inspiration to gain from this book anyway. I could use some of the tips provided in this book and apply them to storage auctions. Thus I give you…

How Not to Be a D*ck at Storage Auctions: An Everyday Etiquette Guide 



Buying at Live Storage Auctions

1.    Don’t bid if you don’t have the money on you at the time you are bidding. Live auctions need to wrap up quickly so everyone can move on to the next sale. If we have to wait for you to go to the ATM, we are going to become very disgruntled. First, we are going to see if there are still enough people on site to re-sell the unit to someone else and then we are probably going to ask you not to return to our sales anymore.

2.    Be aware that you might be in small, cramped spaces inside the storage facility and use deodorant accordingly. In the personal hygiene section of the book, the first sentence was “make sure to shower and brush your teeth every day.” That – do that!

3.    Treat others with respect. For most auction buyers, going to auctions every day is their job. You are essentially in your workplace. Please treat your co-workers with respect so we do not have to call the police on you.

4.    Follow the facility rules. This tip actually applies to participants in live auctions as well as online auctions. If the location asks you not to smoke, don’t be that guy who has to be asked to put out your cigarette. If you think you will just leave a few things behind in the facility dumpster and nobody will notice, you are WRONG! Storage facilities have cameras everywhere and you are an outsider. You don’t have a contract with them to be on their property. They are watching you. They will probably keep your cleaning deposit and they can because it was stated on that registration form you did not read before signing.

5.    Treat the restroom at the storage facility with the same respect you treat your bathroom at home. I am just going to come right out and say this. Please do not pee or poop anywhere other than the toilet and it is also certainly helpful if you can make sure no feces make it onto the walls of the restroom. Also, don’t take meetings in the bathroom. There are likely other people waiting to use the bathroom.

Buying at Online Storage Auctions

1.    I cannot stress this enough…DO NOT bid on a unit if you do not intend to pick it up upon winning. Why, oh why do we spend our days dealing with this? This is the most frustrating part of online auctions and I know for sure we are not letting anything slide. We are taking a super aggressive approach to bidders who do this. I understand that things will happen. It is entirely possible a person will have a family emergency that prevents them from picking up a unit they won, but we find it hard to believe it happens all the time to many different people. We also understand you might have won more units than you anticipated and you overextended your funds. Don't do that, just don't. 

2.    Double check the location of the unit you are bidding on prior to placing your bid. It happens. It really does. We get frantic phone calls from someone who bid on a unit on the other side of the country and need to rescind their bid. The problem is, we do have a way for that to happen. The only thing they can do is hope they get outbid. So, take a few seconds to double check the listing!

3.    Please do not take what you want from the unit and leave the rest. This applies to both live and online auctions, but for some reason, people do it more with online auctions. I guess they feel they have some degree of anonymity and they will get away with it. That is not the case. We know who you are and will take appropriate action if the unit is not cleaned out completely.

4.    Read the rules of the auction prior to bidding. We get many emails from people wanting to know why their credit card was charged. The answer to that is because we collect a 10% buyer’s premium on the credit card. A quick glance over the FAQs on our website will let the buyers know all the major rules and procedures prior to bidding.

5.    Please do not assume that every issue you have while using our website is a problem with our site. We know we could have an issue. We also know there is a good chance we do not have a technological problem. I can tell this for sure; we will answer our phones (or email) and do our best to help you and resolve any issues. What we do not need is vulgar and rude emails. These are offensive, especially when the issue ends up being user error after all. As the good book that inspired this article says “communicate politely and make requests nicely” and possibly my favorite takeaway from the book “assumptions are conclusions based on what we don’t know.”


As you might have noticed, this article is mostly targeted at auction buyers. Never fear, I am already working on the content for an installment for storage facility managers and operators. After conducting both live and online auctions for almost eight years now, I have many tips for all parties involved. Heck, I might even throw in some tips for auctioneers.

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