When I was young I always enjoyed when the local PBS station would have their annual auction. An announcer would describe each of the items on the board and there was a phone bank manned by volunteers who took peoples’ bids. I was fascinated by some of the items they had for sale and dreamed about placing a bid.
Rochester’s WXXI’s fundraiser auction moved into the 21st century a few years ago. Now the auctions are all done on-line, with real-time bidding. It’s much easier to browse for items you might be interested in. You can place your bid at your convenience, 24 hours a day. Many of the items are gift certificates, making it easy for items to be mailed to the winning bidder, saving a trip to the station to pick up the item.
The last few years I would troll the auction listings looking for places I already frequent. If I can win an auction item for a discount, this is good for me and I can give money to WXXI without having to actually donate. If I get the item at face value, then I’m not spending more than I would anyway and WXXI is still getting money. If you overbid on an item valued at $25 or more, then you get a Little Bakery certificate worth $5 as well as a coupon for a 8 0z package of Cabot cheese (worth approximately $2). So even if you bid $2 over the price you are still ahead about $5 in items. My daughter loves visiting the Little Bakery when we have a certificate to spend.
My plan of attack has been to look through the items to determine which ones I’m interested in, and overbid on the $25+ items right up front. Occasionally people will outbid me but usually I end as the winner and many times with bonuses for overbidding. At the end of the auction, any items that didn’t sell are usually put up again in a second auction for a much lower cost. This is the time to get a good deal, so remember to register on the site so you’ll get notified when the second auction starts, usually a few weeks later.
So visit the WXXI auction and think about bidding. Maybe you’ll find a certificate to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Or maybe you’ll get a deal on a nice piece of artwork or jewelry. The auction started about a week ago (I know I’m a little late with this post).
You’ve got until the evening of Saturday May 8 to place bids. No matter how much you bid or win an item for, it’s a Win-Win, for you and WXXI.