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SANDY - Starting with the parking lot, buyers get their first clues about how many good buys the auction will yield.

If there are too many cars, there will be too many buyers, and that means more bids and higher prices, Bart Crable counseled as he searched for bargains at the big auction Thursday at the old Lowe's warehouse.

And another thing, Crable said: Wait out the auctioneer. Sure, he'll start a bid by saying "Wadda ya think?" before he shouts out "$50." But if no one responds, go ahead and say "$10." The auctioneer has to start somewhere, and you just may get that roll of PVC pipe on your first bid.

Lowe's has built a new facility in Sandy and decided it was cheaper to sell off the merchandise - hardware, plumbing supplies, lumber, paint, doors, power tools, fittings and appliances - rather than moving it. So, early in the day, Erkelens and Olson auctioneers got started. And sure enough, the parking lot was full all day.

Among the bidders were mother-and-daughter-team Donna King and Toni Wettach, who had roamed the aisles the day before, picking out what they wanted and discussing bidding strategies. Wettach bid on a pallet of cinder block but was content let it go, even though an outside wall needs repair. "The woman paid twice the retail price," she laughed.

But Wettach still wanted a refrigerator, wall oven and shingles if she could get a deal.

Most of the merchandise was sold in lots, like the two dozen gray desk fans one man was loading into a shopping cart. And if he happened to take a liking to the dozens of shopping carts in the entrance, those also would be auctioned off, too.

The guy actually didn't need any electric fans except to sell to his friends and neighbors, "because they'll ask. They know I'm always getting crazy stuff."

Brian Campbell came in from Ogden to try for sporting goods, items that individually would sell for say, $15 to $25. He buys at a discount and makes a profit selling his finds on eBay. It's not a business, he said, just "how we can afford our own toys."

Barbara Lines was standing guard over two carts piled high with blinds and stacks of lumber. She, her son and grandchildren came up from Provo with a travel trailer that would easily be filled by the end of the day. "Some of these blinds will be for my son's home," she said. "It's got more than 100 windows."

On the other side of the warehouse, auctioneer Dwayne Craig's voice could be heard, slowing down, then speeding up until the sound became a melodic stutter.

"$80? Do I hear $80?"


"You've got it for $75."