Put Your Hands Up in the Air

…if you want to be a competitive bidder at the daily (except for Sundays) live auction at the Salvation Army warehouse in Houston.

We’ve driven past it many times on our way to Washington Ave. and wondered what was going on inside the very industrial looking warehouse topped with a large Salvation Army sign. Most times when passed there where rows and rows of large gary bins filled to the brim with what I could only imagine as treasures waiting to be found.

Salvation Army Auction

Antique Needle Point Chairs from the Salvation Army Auction

Well, this past Saturday we got our chance. As we drove by on our way  to an estate sale the gates where open. It was 10:04am and a sign read “Public Auction 10:00am daily.”

We parked in the lot filled with moving trucks, work trucks, trailers and not 1 car. As we walked into the warehouse there were rows upon rows of every type of furniture imaginable; chairs, couches, desks, chests of drawers and more. All was of varying quality, age and condition.

Most people there were seasoned veterans and we stuck out. Fortunately we were steered to sign up to receive our bidders number so we would be able to bid.

We wondered through to another large room of the warehouse to find the large gray bins, the kind that are used to carry industrial laundry, I had seen before out front lined end to end each filled with “lots” of items. 1 bin held at least 15 vacuum cleaners, another filled with extension cords and Christmas lights, and yet another filled with lamps.

Eventually a voice announced from a crackly overhead system that the bidding would begin at the appliances and we made our way there very curious as to how this would work. We stood back as 50 people crowded around an auctioneer. “The bidding on this washer and dryer pair will begin at $50,” he announced. The bidding went very quickly with usually no more that 2 people bidding on each item. Every item or “lot” that was auctioned off was sold for what I would consider “dirt cheap” and I pride myself  on being a master thrifter.

We finally snaked our way around to the furniture. Frank knew I had my eye on a pair of antique needlepoint chairs and I could see him inching his way to the front of the crowd. I am not sure if it was a sweet gesture or the bid number was just burning a hole in his pocket but 2 bids later we were the proud owners of 2 chairs at a whopping $12.50 each!

All in all it was a fun experience. It is all the thrill of a live auction without putting your retirement in danger.

There is no mention of the auction online but you’ll find the warehouse at the following address :

The Salvation Army

2222 Center Street

Houston, TX 77007