Friday, June 11, 2010


Remember back in the '90's when the internet was vilified because it was eliminating the need for real human interaction? It was about the time online grocery shopping was introduced, and I was in high school so I may not be remembering this right. People were terrified that we would become a country of shut-ins and recluses. And look what we've done. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, how many more are there? Hundreds? Thousands? We have the capability to never see another live human being again and yet what most people choose to do when they're online is contact other people, people they've not seen in years. I've got more friends on Facebook than I ever had in my whole life, people who I thought hated me, people who I loved but didn't know I existed. Every time I get a friend request I think "Wow! That person noticed me?!" All the missed opportunities! I could have been the most popular person in high school, if only I'd known that so many people knew my name. I guess the rule pretty much is that if you went to the same high school or college, you were friends. Which is really pretty interesting. Even the people I remember as being enemies (not mine, of course, I didn't have any enemies, and if I did I was unaware of it and still am because we're facebook friends now) in high school are friends. Take all these gang-related shootings, for instance. I've always thought that gang members would have way more similarities than differences, they ought to get along. They would probably be facebook friends. After all, you have to know someone to hate them, you have to be alike, to care about them in some way, otherwise you just wouldn't care about them, they'd just be someone you didn't know. Thanks, facebook, for demonstrating that.

Which brings me to glassware. Tomorrow Spear Auctioneers is going to be holding their first live online auction, a first for the state of Arkansas as well, and it's going to be all glassware. Hours and hours worth of what I'm told is a magnificent collection. Tomorrow, what began as small gatherings in chicken houses and cattle ranches will be broadcast at the speed of information around the world. Don, who wears suspenders and a cowboy hat daily, who does something like 300 push-ups and sit-ups every morning, who once punched a horse when it got out of control and knocked IT to the ground, is worried to death about his voice being heard across the nation. I'll be there clerking, along with my sister-in-law and one other clerk, who sat through hours of training on Proxibid, the online auction service. Only Richard, the auctioneer and my father-in-law, seems stoically calm.

This is where we are now. Some people may still fear a world where people can hide in their dusty apartments and still collect really nice glassware, but I think this is going to go the way of everything else. I think friends will be made, I think people at home can now take part in the excitement that an auction generates, be a part of that energy even from far away, because isn't that what we do best, being people?

If you want to be friends with Spear Auctioneers, Inc. they're there on facebook. If you want to take part in the auction, to exercise that human instinct to interact with other people go to and look for Spear Auctioneers under auction houses. It's going to be epic.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Attorney and the Auctioneer

Most successful attorneys are disliked, most auctioneers have to be liked to be successful. So how is it that Richard Spear, auctioneer, and Richard Peel, attorney, are such good business partners? Despite the apparent incongruity in job requirements Spear and Peel have had a successful working relationship for over 15 years, and maybe it's precisely those qualities that have made them both successful in their respective trades and such a productive pair.

I don't know Richard Peel very well but I've heard stories from Spear regarding, and can personally vouch for his no-nonsense approach to business (and conversation) based on my phone interview with him. He's precise, he answers questions succinctly and without hesitation, there are no "um's" and "ah's" to fill the gaps as he thinks of the right word, he's got the right word, and when the conversation is over you get the impression that he moves seamlessly on to the next activity with the same focus and intensity, as if the conversation had never taken place. I can sense immediately why he's the lead attorney at one of Russellville's most successful law firms.

Peel handles a lot of cases in which a division or liquidation of property is required. When these cases come up he always turns to Spear Auctioneers to get the most out of the property for his clients. He said that the auction method "has been wonderful."

At a Spear Auctioneers auction all clerking is done using a computer system. Buyer and seller information is recorded as the auction proceeds and is transmitted via wireless modem to the check-in/out trailer, which streamlines the process as opposed to the old "pen and paper" clerking system.

"Richard is the only auctioneer that I know of in this area with the computer clerking system which allows for immediate purchases and immediate payouts," Peel said.

The prompt service and past performance were also cited by Peel as reasons why he uses Spear Auctioneers.

"He has a large following that provides you with a ready group of prospective buyers," he added.

As for the benefit of the auction method in general, "I'm always surprised at how much property brings in relation to how much I think it's worth," he continued.

Like Peel, Spear is perfectly suited to his profession. He knows how to put on a show and make an auction not only profitable but entertaining. He's been in the business for over 20 years, which is part of the reason Peel can say that "Richard has an unequalled knowledge of the value of personal property. He can tell you how a sale should go in advance."

Many people would not think that an attorney and an auctioneer would have a whole lot in common, but their dedication to their respective professions and their commitment to their clients is commonality enough to form a strong working relationship. Of course, Spear said, smiling, "I wouldn't want Peel against me in court."