Yes, I said “grocery auctions.” Weird but real. At a grocery auction, You’ve got the same fast-talking auctioneer, but he’s hawking apples instead of antiques. Amazing! I once attended a grocery auction in New Haven, Indiana for a Good Morning America story. My boss was a former food producer, so we did a LOT of food-related consumer stories at GMA. There were about 500 people at the Indiana auction, a lot considering they were all there through word-of-mouth. Participants told me they went for the energetic social atmosphere of the auction and stayed for the savings. One guy said he was routinely able to buy $450 worth of groceries for just $150.
A grocery auction works just like a regular auction, with one key difference. Since there’s more than one of each product; everyone who wants an item walks away with it in hand. The auctioneer gets people bidding on an item, say frozen French fries. Once the price will go no higher, that’s the price everybody who wants that product pays.
Most food auctions offer hundreds of different foods and household supplies. Some are surplus goods, like you’d get at a discount store such as MacFrugal’s or Big Lots. There are also a lot of dinged and damaged packages, with perfectly good products inside. You will also see items close to their expiration dates.
Now, bidder beware! In the excitement of an auction atmosphere, it’s easy to overpay, so it’s essential that you know what your favorite foods normally cost so you’ll know whether you’re really bagging a bargain. I put the Indiana auction’s prices to the test by comparing them with prices at a nearby grocery store. I picked a random cross section of half a dozen products and found the savings was 66 percent! Two thirds off AND free people watching and entertainment!
To find a grocery auction near you, just google “grocery auction near me. I did that myself before I came into the studio and came up a variety of choices near DC, where I live. You can also check out the website of the National Auctioneers Association: Auctioneers.org. The site has a tool where you can search for auctions and auctioneers by zip code.
LINK: To find grocery auctions: www.Auctioneers.org.