Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Essay 3 Proposal

For essay 3 I was thinking of "I believe ignorance is NOT bliss". I don't really know, and I will continue to look at for more insight into the next paper.

The term ignorance is bilss is thrown around a lot in our house, and it sometimes gets an agrument started. I was also thinking of doing this topic due to the election, I know a lot of people who did not vote because of ignorance. Outside sources might be a bit tough, but I will use Google and see what might come up.

I do believe that this essay would provide two sides. Those who might be able to argue for it, and then me, who thinks "ignorance is bliss" is a load of crap. Ethos in this paper will come from personal experience and hopefully some outside sources. I don't think I will be preaching to the choir with this topic because, to my knowledge, I don't know of anyone besides my parents that use that term frequently, or even know what it means.

For the tone of this paper, I haven't quite decided. If this is the topic that will be approved and I can get 3 pages out of it, then I am thinking it is going to be close to an informative paper? I do not want it to be serious because then it will be boring and nobody will read it, but I don't want it to be funny either. I think that once I get started, I will know how the essay will end up looking like. Conventions, structure, language choice, etc. will be figured out as I go.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Interview Reflection

I interviewed my friend Brandon for this assignment. He is a familiar face to most local auctions and runs his own stand at local flea markets as well. I don't have my research question nailed down yet but the answers Brandon gave helped me understand more of the business side of his visits to auction houses. When he was first introduced to auctions by his older brother and uncle, he mainly bought things for himself, but when he decided to get into flea markets, he found that he could buy items at auction to sell for a profit at flea markets.

The interview didn't raise any new questions but did confirm the thought that most people in our area attend local auctions to spend time with family and friends, to socialize. Sitting in the old church pews catching up, while bidding on small odds and ends seems to be a good way to spend an evening. Brandon, his brothers, and uncle call them, "boy's night out", except for when one of the wives or a female tag-along (me) decide to join.

During my intervew with Brandon he said two things that did stand out. The first one was, "Everything has two lives, especially if it was successful the first time around", which basically means that anything that was a huge hit when it first came out will be a big seller again. The biggest "second wind" type of seller are toys, he is always on the look out for collector items. Transformers, Beanie Babies, He-Man, and Cabbage Patch Dolls are to name just a few. The second response was that "You may think you are getting a great deal, but the item might not even work when you get it home!"

I do think I will use this interview in my paper, either by quoting Brandon directly or using some of his responses as ways to find out more on auctions. I would definately consider Brandon an insider. His father used to take him to flea markets when he was younger so he pretty much grew up around the atmosphere in which my paper is focused. He still goes to auctions to get things for himself, but he thinks he will be doing the business side of flea markets and auctions for years to come.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Research Focus Proposal

I am having a hard time coming up with a thesis. I still have a lot of questions I still want to answer about auctions and flea markets. I have not been able to go to a flea market like I had hoped, so I may just be doing this paper on auctions. I am going to still try and attend a flea market though.

I am leaning towards doing this paper on the types of people who attend these functions and why they do. I have noticed that a lot of people are regulars, and they come to these functions to get some every day items. Others attend simply becuase it is the thing to do it small towns.

Again, I am having trouble narrowing it down.

Fieldnotes 2

Red Barn Auction: 10/11/2008 @ 6:30pm

I must say, I like this auction 110% better than the one before. The outside is much more inviting, although it looks a little run down. Directly inside the front doors to the right is a half door when you get your numbered paddle. This auction house is definately more "upscale" because the other auction house just wrote a number on a torn off piece of paper for you to hold up when bidding, Red Barn has actual paddles. Once you have gotten your paddle you have the option of going through a set of doors into the room where the auction takes place or to walk around and view the pieces of furnature on sale, seperate from the auction. There is a hallway that leads to the back room where couches, coffee & end tables, love seats, and foutons are arranged for your "viewing pleasure". Along that same hallway are a set of stairs that lead to second story rooms filled with bed sets and dinning room tables and chairs. The consession stand is also located down that hallway in a room that used to be storage. They used to have a food trailer located out in front of the building, like the kind you see at the fair. I personally believe that they moved the snacks inside because the food trailer was a ticking time bomb. There is only so much duct tape that can be use before you know its time to get a new one, and the amount of extension cords they had coming from one outlet screamed death trap.

The room in which the auction takes place is large. There are rows of folding chairs directly inside the door that line the back wall. A few feet in front of them starts the rows of old church pews. This section of seating is divided down the middle by a wide isle into tow sides. The left side is considered the smoking section and the right side is the non-smoking section. They are designated by hand stenceled signs strung from the side walls, which I think is hillarious. As soon a two or three people light up, the whole place becomes a smoking section. There are no windows that actually open or exhaust fans for that matter. The smoke just kind of hangs there, but it doesn't seem to bother anyone. The pews are close together, its hard to cross your legs, and if you are on the inside you have to climb over the people nest to you to get out. It can be a little awkward at times.

The night starts out with the usual scramble from the auctioneer's son Shawn, who gets things rolling if his dad is running late. Odds and ends go up first to kill time; American, POW/MIA, and Dale Earnheart flags, along with zip ties and under the counter organizers are the first items up for bid. As a new item comes up for sale, a worker walks up and down the main isle so that everyone can get a good look. After a minute or two of hyping up the item and maybe doing a demonstration, Shawn begins that "auctioneer speek" of incoherant words, mesher with dollar amounts, and what sounds like a little humming. Depending on the size and possible uses of the item up for bid, they will usually start high with the price and then work their way down. If you like what you see, you simply raise your paddle in the air. Once Shawn reaches a fair price he will stop and say something like, "lets price this at $4.99" and then paddles begin to raise up all over the place. Usually Shawn and one other person run into the back storage area located off the stage and come back with boxes of that peticular item. They then proceed to yell as loud as they can the number on a persons paddle and then how many that person wants, "98 two times!!" I have just put my paddle up for a desk lamp with bult in speakers that you can hook up any MP3 player to, for only $8.00!! The suggested retail price listed on the box is $39.99, gotta love that! You can get just about anything from this place. So far I have this lamp, four tiki torches, some Halloween decorations, two American flags for my dad, and a Coleman rugged water canister thingy for my mom...oh and some dog toys for my mutt to promptly destroy.

Like at the other auction, my butt is beginning to ache. Shawn's father Dan showed up around 8 o'clock, which is when I think he normally arrives, and took over. There hasn't been anything interesting come up so I am going to get up and stretch my legs. Most of the people here are regulars and it seems that everybody knows everybody. Once empty boxes are beginning to fill up with merchandise as the night progresses. I head to the "concession stand" to get a pop and some nachos and cheese. There are three yong girls manning the room and one asks if I work at Sam's. "Yeah, sure do" I replied with a smile. I get my snacks and the girls go back to their conversation. I go into the back room and check out the sofas. My rear needs to be in a comphy chair. My nachos and cheese are quickly eaten and this chair is really comfortable, I feel like I might fall askeep, I better go back inside.

People are beginning to leave and the auction pace is slowing down and it looks like Dan is goig to end the night early. He normally doesn't do that but about one quarter of the original people are still here and not too many of us are bidding. Dan wraps up with a few more items and then calls it a night. The last thing to do is pick a winner for the nightly raffel. Out comes the spinny number tumbler. If the person with the winning number has left already, the $20 will go towards next Friday nights raffel. Number 143 is called and the winner is still in the crowd, unfortunatley its not me. Everyone gathers their boxes of goodies and begin to head towards the front to check out. It was a good night. I got to hang out with friends and buy a lot of stuff I will probably never use.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Source Report 1997-2008. 4 October 2008 <>

I am going to look into online auctions as well, besides eBay. eBay to me doesn't feel like a real auction. I will look at as many sites as I can to get a feel of what is going on and how things work. I will probably add at least three more source reports as well. I think this might be another good place to start.

Fieldnotes 1

Taylor Made Auctions: 6:30pm

Wow, where do I begin. From the outside, you would never know that people would gather here. Open every Saturday, but looks like it should be condemned. Inside it smells like a musty basement with the occasional wiff of mold. it is cramped with old chairs for customers and surrounded by piles an boxes of junk (or merchandise to some). Everything looks to be covered in a thick layer of dust. There are three to four tables located in the front of the auction house, at least I think its the front, all the chairs are pointed in that direction. There may be more tables but I cannot see through the clutter. Brandon tells me that the tables closest to everyone hold the items that will be auctioned off. Someone is walking down the isle collecting money for the raffel that is held at the end of the night, one dollar per ticket.

The auctioneer is up in the front now, reading off "today in history" fun facts, singing blips from random songs, and making really bad jokes. There is no heat in this building, it is getting colder by the minute, and my jeans and sweatshirt just aren't going to cut it. The misquitos in this place are horrible, I am afraid to swat at them because the auctioneer might think I am bidding! I don't think there is anything in here I would bid on either. So far two pairs of boots, a clock, a beebee gun (that doesn't work), and a fleece jacket have been up on the block.

When something doesn't sell, it is placed in a pile of other unwanted items. As the auction continues, the auctioneer groups these items with what is currently on the block, so that when someone bids on the current item, they get the whole lot of junk with what they actually bid on. Most of the items he is selling won't even go for $1!! Almost everything is broken, half working, or "fixer-uppers" as the owner of the auction house says. I asked Brandon if he thought the owner would ever go through all the suff crammed all aroun the room and he said that most of it he keeps, it doesn't go up for sale. There is a lot of stuff!!!

It has been a half an hour since the auction started and my ass is hurtin up a storm! My toes are officially numb and I have to pee, but I am afraid to use the bathroom. It doesn't help that Brandon won't use it there.

Windchimes covered in dust and cobwebs hang from the rafters, traffic signs cover the back wall, deer antlers along with various plastic mounted singing fish hang on the wall to the right. To my left are boxes and boxes of random items, and plenty of mystery boxes. Little Debbie snack cakes are on the block now and they seem to be the most popular item of the night. Seven for $1 is the going price and almost everyone is on their feet filling plastic grocery bags full of sweets. It is funny to watch.

Now up for auction are boxes stuffed with more random items. Those who might be interested in bidding go up and rummage through to see if anything is worth it, if you like what you see, you get the whole box.

I am getting tired and I am very cold. The auction looks to be winding down and I can't wait to get out of here and back in my car. I probably won't come back to this place, because quite frankly, it scares me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reading Response

The types of research and evidence used in this essay are shown on the first page where he shows the statistics of the residents of Passiac County living below the poverty line. H also compared them to the state wide level of people living below th poverty line. He also researches the temp agencie and the companies that he is "leased" to.

The author has taken the approach of the worker but still represents the life before this assignment with the paper. He is living this life day to day, but all the while knows that he gets to go back to his normal life in thirty days. I don't think that before this assignment was given to him he thought much about the people who work for Brickforce and other temp agencies, but he is trying his best to stay focused and on task.

I think that the author's credibility is alright. I don't know how to explain it really. He is living this life and going about this month knowing that it will come to an end, and that he will go home to his fiancee. It doesn't seem that he is really living his situation, he just can't wait to get out of it.

I would think that the target audience would be anyone working in temp agencies or lower paying jobs. Maybe to companies who are looking to work with temp agencies?

The message or main poin that I take from this essay is that there are a lot of people working for close to nothing, and doing jobs that most people find boring and don't want to do. That this is how they are trying to do the best they can.

To me, the author's view of the community he is depicting is almost sad. He feels sorry for some of the people he had worked with because he was able to see and be a part of their day to day struggles. He felt disconnected from the world.