I am an auction junkie. I LOVE a good auction, preferably with an impossibly fast speaking auctioneer but more importantly with lots of good, underpriced merchandise. I am inordinately proud of the paltry amount we spent to open our restaurant. I love auctions so much I regularly contemplate opening a side venture as equipment purveyor, just so I can have an excuse to go to more auctions.
That said, it can get you into trouble. Quickly. As in the time I bid on a trip to Tulum at a Chamber of Commerce dinner we were hosting. I was certain someone else would bid higher and I was just trying to do my part for the Chamber. Well, after spending all the cash we made hosting the party we still haven't made the trip. This was 4 years ago. Or buying umbrellas for a possible waterfront restaurant we were discussing. Before we had anything concrete. Yes, you guessed it. We never opened the place. But the new grill we bought at the same auction for $100 has done very well for us.
My well-battered Wolf is on its final days. Two of the valve stems are now free spinning so it's quite difficult to tell whether the gas is on. The oven, despite my best attempts to calibrate it, still runs quite cold and the door doesn't shut all the way although when you open it it wants to slam shut because the springs are wonky also. So I've been on the lookout for a new one for a while now.
I've been keeping my eye on eBay, waiting for a lonely Montague (my current preference) to show up, looking for a home. I also search for the elusive (and much coveted by me) Jade, but the only ones which appear are ranges only and I need the oven below.
Lo and behold, there's a Montague. In San Jose. The local trucking company can pick it up for me. I'll have to convert it to propane, but that's not a big deal. Not many bids. I watch, and watch and finally bid. $300 high bid, knowing full well if I don't get up before the auction ends sometime just past 9 I'll be outbid, but hey, who knows. Miraculously this morning I am still the high bidder. I keep checking the page, still high bidder.
Then I start to revisit my auction failures, like those described above. Or the proof box that actually is a holding cabinet designed to hold hotel pans, not sheet pans, which now functions like a giant equipment stand and cd holder. And I second guess. The oven's not going to be big enough (like the one I investigated at the last SF auction we visited) and won't hold a full sheet pan. The flat top will be rusted through. The thermostat will of course be dead. And knowing we're going to have to put some new vinyl on the floor of one of our service areas to stop the leaking to the floor below makes me feel very reckless about bidding $300 on another used stove. Oh yeah, it's also 5 feet long and the one I need to replace is only 3 feet. But, there's extra room under the hood and I'll work it out.
Less than 10 seconds left, outbid. A sigh of relief and regret.
I do need a new range/oven combo. Preferably one with convection and preferably one with at least some of the surface a griddle or flat top. I never thought I'd love the flat top so (mostly because I dislike cleaning them, and they burn up gas) but I really do. It saves pans during the rush and I can cook a lot of stuff in a small area without significantly cooling the surface.
Also it will preferably be a Montague. Much as I'd like to have a Jade, they're out of my price range. A new Montague is as well but since it's a Bay Area company (Hayward) a reasonable number of decent used ones show up at auctions.