Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WKU Auction Blockade


For a tiny, one-man, struggling PC Repair operation, auctions are a necessity and a privilege, not a 'perk'...so it's pretty hard to have to give up going to a LOCAL auction full of perfect stuff to bring my costs down, all due to one local 'apprentice' auctioneer being chosen by WKU, who seems to have singled me out as some kind of troublemaker.

I buy from local auctions, online and live, so I can keep parts available to drive down costs to my customers.  Sadly, it's only secondarily that my doing this keeps illegal PCBs out of local landfills, but in that, I'm keenly aware that 'scavenging' parts (which I test) also keeps those parts from just being wasted.  In my view, we need less waste, and more concerned, conscientious people doing what I'm doing...who knows--maybe our government will start learning from us someday, and start wasting less themselves?

A local man named Ron Slavic used to be in charge of WKU's Supply & Services department.  Ron was good at what he did--he was both fair and honest, yet kept WKU itself from wasting it's own resources, by selling off their used furniture and equipment.  His skills as an asset manager were uncompromising and particularly intelligent, and I'm sure he's missed, both personally and financially, by his dept., and Western Kentucky University.

Ron died about two years ago, and he was one of those people who, if you knew him professionally (as I'd like to call our 'relationship' between buyer/seller), was hard to appreciate until too late.

Especially now.  After his passing, WKU hired a bunch of inexperienced students to be in charge.  They were basically supervised by a young woman who I believe was actually allowing many of their items to go out the door, as favors to her friends, possibly distant relatives.  I say this, not only because I can, but because I kept getting calls to various 'new customers' around town, who were in possession of older Dell computers that still had the red WKU inventory control stickers on them.

As a frequent bidder/buyer over the years, I had always been keenly aware of just how careful --even obsessive--WKU was about removing those stickers, for obvious reasons (as in, inventory controls).

Also, when I'd go there to pick up my items, I kept noticing how short-handed they seemed at pickup-time.  They never removed their inventory control stickers until I showed up to pick up my won items, even though they were all grouped by winning bidder.  They hired a man who I knew personally from having worked for the local newspaper at the same time, doing driving routes.  This guy had actually stolen the papers stacked and labelled for me several times, in order to 'get his' routes done quicker, and had lied when confronted about it.  He'd probably been fired there, so I wondered who had trusted him at WKU, to work around their retired inventory every day (perhaps the newspaper had done him a 'favor' for his service there, considering his dishonesty 'tolerable' to them, and didn't know or care where he worked after they let him go).

Within a year after 'Ron's Era', I began noticing some other major flaws begin creeping into the WKU Supply & Services department (hereafter referred to as WKU S&S) system of handling online sales.

Their eBay auction listings were suddenly completely devoid of vital item info--everything from the sizes of items like televisions, to other important information, from simple things like model #'s of items, even to their functionality and condition.  Although later, they would actually make some progress by including a very nice information system regarding their automotive sales (complete with VIN #s and free repair info about each auto), obvious gaps just seemed to dominate each of their listings.  One of the largest was to notice that WKU kept all service records from potential buyers, even to the winners of each car or van vehicle sold.

The obvious, ridiculous neglect of providing service records for their retired vehicles showed that WKU had just begun using the VIN# system (maybe even provided for by eBay for a miniscule fee?) as an excuse to avoid having to look up any info they could have been providing their winning bidders.

To me, this reeked of a situation where lost manpower (even one guy) had begun costing them some potential value in their own recovery efforts.

My perspective on this was from a 'buyers' standpoint, so I said nothing at all.  To me, the privilege of continuing buying computer hardware, furniture, and other used equipment from them was wonderful, and since I was not in the resale market for vehicles, their apparent lassitude did not concern me as much as my own skill, honesty, business ethics, and the overall quality of the items that I sold and repaired.  I will never forget my place as a small, one-man proprietorship, and their in-house dealings were acceptable to most, if not all, of their eBay buyers, anyway, to the point that they still had (not now) a 100% perfect Feedback record on eBay.

View WKU's current eBay seller profile by clicking here.

Part of the info WKU had recently begun collecting from their eBay buyers for their own online auction site was our email addresses, of course, so I was happy to be invited to their 1st actual 'live, onsite' auction, to be held last year at their S&S building, across from WKU's baseball field.

Hundreds of people showed up, as it was generally understood that this auction was a kind of 'close-out' to clean up their 2nd floor inventory holding facility for some other use.  The auction was handled by local auctioneer Ron Kirby, Jr., along with his staff, including his 'apprentice auctioneer', Kim Bouchey (sometimes spelled 'Boucher' locally).

I went, won some LCDs flatscreens, and some computer-related furniture (desks), televisions, and other stuff (over $300 worth, a big deal to me).  Although I'm a hard-bargainer, I'm always nice at these auctions, and if I see an opportunity to avoid being greedy and rude, I'll always give place...I even chat between sales with other local techs, as it never hurts to 'know your competition'!  How they take my polite attitude has no bearing on me myself--as I have a friendly, conversive, most-often polite manner.  In fact, this plays out most frequently in my favor eventually anyway, because you can easily tell peoples' characters and personalities by their responsiveness, attitudes, even their ability to carry on a conversation about anything!

One bidder at that auction was not any greedier than anybody else, but his attitude quickly showed itself in his dogged pursuits of all the LCD flatscreens he could afford, and just his facial expressions of outward disgust toward any other bidders who 'took his auctions'.  I didn't need ANY of the LCDs I was bidding on, so, of the 100+ (more like 200+ quite possibly), I pressed and won just four.  I don't recall his 'take', but it was plenty, for his own one-man operation in his local small town of Scottsville.

True to form, this little dude was as openly rude and hateful toward me after my 'win' as he could manage and still concentrate on the remainder of the other items in the auction.  Toward the end, he even tried to take all three book-cases full of computer keyboards, after winning the first (very cheap bunch).

I'd asked the auctioneer whether he was going to sell them separately, though, before he began that section, because a)I spied the other bidder eyeing them all intently, even mentioning to another bidder that he'd be 'taking them all', b)I recognized prior to the entire auction start, that the 2nd and 3rd bins should go as separate lots, without the option to buy them at the same price as the 1st, because they were an entirely different type of multimedia keyboards (some even having rare volume control knobs), and were worth as much as 2X more apiece, and c)I did go there with the intent to buy keyboards for my own clients, but not ALL the keyboards they had (the difference being dozens).

My request did appeal to the auctioneer, he did auction them off separately, and I did manage to win my fair share over the other bidder, who by this time was getting pretty nasty, even making some comments at me to try and provoke me (it happens--you lose twice if you give in to these, I've learned, though, so I just quit interacting with the guy completely, and he 'locked off').

My only problems during that auction were initially that one of the auctioneer's assistants tried to charge me (understandably) for a bunch of 'junker items' that he'd personally [begged, for lack of better word] me to buy as an entire lot for $2.50, since not a single person of the hundreds gathered around these items (old dot-matrix-printer housings) would even bid a single dollar for one of them, and it was holding up the entire auction to stand around them.  When I'd gone downstairs to pay for all items, they'd charged me individually for them, and then auction clerks stonewalled me in an attempt to pay 'their price' until I literally chased down the actual auctioneer to 'right their wrong' (he remembered he'd done this personally, but wasn't particularly nice about having to fix their mess).

After he had to clean up another mess about a teenaged-kid who thought he was buying ONE LCD flatscreen (at $75, everybody else then understood his high bid), they were off to their 2nd site, to sell of some other desks and furniture, which I wasn't interested in (too big for me to store).  So, I went over there to pay for some other stuff I'd won at the 1st site and was delivering to my house.


WATCH YOUR STUFF (REGARDLESS WHAT ELSE HAPPENS)!

At this point, a sideline--a warning to all who win items at auctions--BRING A FRIEND.  If you plan on winning a single item, paying for it immediately, and taking it home, you don't have to worry about thieves, of course.  However, if you see even one more thing and get held up in payment processes, weather, or other distractions, you could easily lose your money.

Anyone planning on stealing other people's items will be experienced enough to be somewhat organized--primarily in seeing that you've paid for your items, and if you look away, even for a 'second', you could easily, quickly go home with 'magic beans' and a significantly lighter wallet.

I'd lost some old chairs I won at the local police auction a year before.  There was terrible weather (pretty bad thunderstorm), people were running around trying to put tarps over their stuff, and the uniformed police being paid to attend the event weren't doing anyone any favors (unless they knew them) by even watching anyone's stuff, even to the end, when most had left due to the weather.

The saddest part (on them all) was that a)their own city clerks being paid to take payments were rude beyond belief, wasting everyone's time by chatting with their boyfriends (on phone and in person), taking multiple smoke breaks per hour, and basically acting as if you could just leave if you didn't like it--all while lines were full of people desperate to get out of there without losing the items they'd won, which were in one of many buildings used at the event--always completely out-of-sight, most times, hundreds of feet away.

The chairs (and some other stuff) that I'd lost at that auction were of negligible value, but the worst part was that people literally shopped them right off the bed of my truck while it was parked at the edge of the city maintenance garage door, completely covered with my tarp, many of my items secured by nylon rope, and in full view of two cops who'd just denied me my simple request to 'keep an eye' on my stuff, for a mere 5 minutes (which it was)...and they'd not moved a muscle from their spot when I returned from payoff off my last items won that day.  Their response was hilariously negligent, and I quote within a word "see, that's really not in our job description today, because we're here as cops for security today".

To their detriment (and I'm sure mine, as well) they looked more like they were planning on going out with each other on a date (and yes, they were males)--in their attitudes, their locked-in conversation with each other, and especially their open-disdain for myself (and about two other people who asked them the same question--one even asked if they could move an inch or two so he could see a table better).  Just openly, bitterly, ridiculous.

I never knew if they were aware, but one of their own had even had his own auction item stolen less than an hour before--and of course, only after he paid (it was a bike for his kid, he'd paid $140 for it, and the look on his face was pretty harried when he was discussing 'what to do about this' with the auction manager that day).

So, I guess the lesson may be the ever-popular 'what goes around, comes around'...especially when you're a bunch of local cops grousing over not getting double pay for a volunteer auction 'security presence'.

'PEOPLE STEAL MY STUFF', I GET RUN UP THE FLAGPOLE FOR IT?

During the last WKU live auction, I'd paid, dropped off the bigger items (partly out of consideration to WKU--I was trying to avoid leaving all 'my junk items' there for them to have to work around), and went back the next day to pick up all the 'tech-hardware' I'd won (my LCD flatscreens, some old TVs, and the keyboards).  I also had to pick up some furniture, since WKU S&S had closed up about 10 minutes prior to their posted end-of-day, making things unnecessarily more difficult on me.

I entered the building, and immediately asked by the young woman who'd taken over Ron Slavic's bottom floor desk responsibilities to come into her office, and give her my receipts.  By the end of that day, I'd really regret trusting her, and most of the other office 'help' there that day.  'She' was going to be 'in charge' of doling out my things to me, and went on to immediately assuring me that this was their standard practice (even though I was pretty suspicious about handing over my only payment receipts to her).

By the end of the day, the following had happened:

  • 'Somebody' (I rightly suspected the 'other bidder') had stolen my LCD flatscreens
  • 2 WKU Student workers initially said they were 'eye-witnesses', and suspected him themselves
  • The office worker downstairs 'lost' those very receipts (the only copies)...after 'failing to note I'd brought them in, was there to pick up the items on-time, they were missing, and then proceeded to ignore the two student workers who kept trying to tell her they'd witnessed somebody leaving with my items
  • She even began attempting to 'control' the situation herself, quickly telling both student workers not to 'back up my story', even though they'd shared it as their own witness as well.
  • She lied to her boss several times in two hours in an attempt to make me out as a liar, because once she'd lost my receipts, there was no record of my payment--to 'cover her ass'
  • Instead of handling this problem in any kind of timely manner (especially not with any kind of attention to it), she began giving all her attention to every other buyer who came in that day--for over an hour.  She even took several calls for pickup scheduling, telling them all to just 'come on in whenever'...
  • She even began directing any staff she came into contact with, to handle 'all other pickups', instead of my [small and unimportant--'bitchy'] one...even monopolizing that elevator herself more than three trips up while all this obfuscation was going on (each trip taking more than 5 minutes, with her personally standing in it to hold it upstairs), while I still had more than 10 items weighing more than 100 lbs. to take down before they closed that day (a Friday), while initiating even more conflict by promising me that I'd be defaulting on any items not picked up that day, 'as listed in the auction' from the start.
  • Within the first hour, both the student eye-witnesses, very reassuring at first, had openly recanted their stories--one even asking me (another quote): "what do you do with all this stuff, anyway" (as if to say I was pretty much an addled, idle-minded crazy going about lying about 'winning stuff').  NOTE: At this point, it began to bug me that WKU staff were actually trying to pry something out of me that I'd paid for, with the intent to even sell it themselves--especially if they pushed me far enough to cause me to 'break', get arrested, and give up my items by default, as per 'auction rules'!
  • I asked for the young woman's supervisor, and luckily for me, he actually came down from his office.  By this time, I was addled, as it had been more than 30 minutes, with no progress made on my complaint, and things were actually going the other way (the wagons were circling amongst a bunch of WKU supply workers?--flatly identifiable as such, and I was surprised at how quickly, how pervasively, and who had eventually 'come over' to the 'other side', in such short time).
  • Only after I was able to 'interrupt' the young woman's 'version' of my own story (and had to more than 3 times, almost shouting her down), was I able to get my problem to be understood by her supervisor...who then politely stood there listening to his workers begin denying all sorts of things, almost to cover all their jobs at once.
  • Realizing I couldn't get the thief's bidder info (name, location, phone #, place of business), myself, and then couldn't do anything with that info, I waited more than an hour for Western employees, even to the supervisor, to make some kind of decision about what they would offer to do to repay me.  They began using the absence of my receipts (taken by their worker), esp. the missing ones, to deny any culpability or responsibility.  It's like I ceased to exist to them, and they had all started to jokingly stand around waiting for me to explode...
  • I went over the place twice, until I actually found my own receipts, the ones they'd lost, lying on the floor in the main garage.  They had made no attempt to help me in any way--just stood around in a group watching me as if waiting to react and restrain me if and when I exploded into violence.  That having failed, I thought the proper direction was to call the cops, call the auctioneer (again, myself, since--still--WKU staff were all standing around gawking at me, failing to offer to do anything to resolve the situation they'd caused by letting someone remove my items)--and ask the auctioneer if their group would speak to the WKU police about the bidder, to give me some recourse in recovering my items.  The total for items stolen was just under $100, so I'd been trying all along to hasten things to avoid dragging such a minor amount (to them) out all day long.
  • I called the police, and the very same WKU cop who was present when I'd paid the day before barely said a word, very nearly appearing to hold his breath while I reminded him of my payment time the day before, intentionally failing to so much as acknowledge he'd ever seen me (this happens in this town every day...when people want to snub somebody--they're deadly at it, especially when it's very important to that person's reputation).  His attitude was at best slack, or overly-relaxed, especially when it came to listening, taking my story in, and attempting to resolve the situation.  It's as if he was told before arriving to just stand there and stare at me--and do nothing more.
  • When I called the auctioneer, things really broke down.  I dialed the only number anyone there had for them, from the auction ad (bill) itself, and Kim Bouchey answered.  After listening to me for just under 5 seconds, she began yelling at me, her tone steadily increasing as she shouted violently at me over the phone.  She had not listened, or just was bull-headed, ignorant, and violent-tempered enough to 'light into me' in a full-on, defiant, ill-mannered rage, screaming contemptuously.  I got earful after earful--everything from "How dare you call me about this" and "I had nothing to do with this", to "I don't know why you're bothering me with this after the auction--we don't have anything to do with this".  Then she proceeded to begin belittling me personally, shouting nonsense about my personal character, how many years she had worked as an auctioneer (20+, and she's still only listed as an apprentice, so maybe she's been kicking her own feet out from under her with reactionary stuff like this)...even when I told her that the WKU police were standing right next to me, and began literally begging her (as in, "I'm begging you to talk with them and help them with the info about the guy the WKU staff saw walking out with my stuff"), she grew more and more angry. After a couple of minutes of this rage-fueled tyrant, I realized she's made her money, and she couldn't care less...so only then, did I hang up, turn to the police, and sadly begin to say I would have to 'take the loss', and that I was sorry to have bothered the police, esp. since I was getting no help from this auctioneer.
  • Only then did the WKU S&S super come up and quietly offer to 'make things right'--It had gone on for much too long--over an hour--I had missed the opportunity to take my larger items away, so was risking defaulting on and having to leave them, losing more money.  I had been forced to deal with this petty, insulting garbage for so long that they were getting ready to close for the day (much earlier than any government offices around town--something like 2pm).
  • We went upstairs, they went into the 'cage' where there they store leftover items, and got four Dell LCD flatscreens close enough to the specs of the ones I'd one (I'd have to take one of these back because it wasn't tested, and wasn't working, whereas all the ones in the auction were), and I told them 'thanks', that I wished it hadn't progressed to the point, but I still had some complaints regarding how the whole issue was handled, that I'd like to make sure did not happen again (to anyone or me).  The super listened, politely told me I had 'special permission' to leave my bigger items there until after the weekend, so I wouldn't lose them after all, and I left.
  • I was done with it, and went home, seriously questioning whether I wanted to go there again for anything else--truly, I felt this had gotten way out of hand, the only resolution being a lot of mistrust and a feeling like I'd been gifted the LCDs I took home as some kind of pacifier, if not an outright payoff.
  • Kim Bouchey, however, was not done with me.  I checked my voicemails later that day, and got another earful of this--Kim Bouchey's actual Voicemail.  She had toned herself down a bit, but she made sure her general message was there: that being, I had better not accuse her of stealing anything ever again, I'd better watch it, that I'm quite stupid for throwing loose accusations around 
video




BACK TO THE REASON I WON'T BE BIDDING AT WKU AUCTIONS ANYMORE

It's pretty simple--Kim Bouchey ('Boucher'--aka the 'Blonde Bulldog' in my book).

I won what I won, and my usual routine of 'getting out of bidders' ways', actually being 'nice' to the 'potential competition', taking my losses, and wishing I could afford more of what I needed, went fine.

She'd noticed me from the time I entered the 4th floor (I'm very observant, only needed a split-second to see her heard turn toward me and 'lock on' before she went back to doing whatever it was she was doing)...in fact, I had dreaded she was going to have even more 

I left WKU's auction disgusted at the way she handled herself...again.

She fooled me again--this time, by answering my question--TWICE--about whether I was bidding on he 'pretty deliberately' fooled me into buying ONE unnecessary gadget for myself when I thought I was bidding on FOUR (one tenured professor I used to work for at the College Heights Herald overheard her, made comments regarding how illiterate she was, yet never has formed a backbone to help me out on this--typical to what I'm used to experiencing from 'the Hill').

MORE UPDATES ON THIS COMING SOON!

Here are those 'updates' (actually, in effect when I wrote this blog, but now collected, in MP3-as-Video evidence).  Primarily, the call made by local WKU 'police officer' Anthony R. Honeycutt, who--although standing next to this crazy woman at the latest auction (after which I was banned), and 'witnessing' her non-stop, false, verbal assault on me over a $25 item she split up into fours AFTER I WON IT, bore false witness, based on his familiarity with her, and a WKU employee named (believe it) Sarah Ferguson.

Honeycutt phoned me while I was literally in the Medical Center waiting area prepping to go in for carpal tunnel surgery, and informed me I'd been banned--for LIFE--from all future upcoming WKU auctions, based on what 'Ms. Ferguson' said about me to him after the last one.  As I just said, he'd been standing closest to me than either of the women, while these events were actually happening, so his witness should have been better, and if he was honest, he should have tried to work things out.  Instead, he was more interested in standing idly by while Bouchey presented me with enough angry, personally-assaulting, and false language to make anybody 'go off' on her, which I didn't.  I left on my own accord, even calmly announcing it, while dozens of bystanders eye-witnessed the whole thing go down, and did nothing.  Many of those people even knew what was happening was wrong, yet did nothing--one still doesn't (I'll get to him later--he's a WKU Journalism professor, now retiring).

It really was pretty relentless--she never gave me a chance to speak, nor listened, even though I was saying I already had mp3 evidence of what was she denying she did--she kept denying she'd made the call I posted in the above 'video' link (with her photo, since it was just an incoming VM she'd left for me before).

Anyway, Honeycutt called me to let me know I'd been banned, cut-and-dried, no interest on his part in hearing my side, much less the 'evidence' I had of what Bouchey had done before--just didn't care.  He played it off as him 'just doing his job', and kept interrupting me to remind me it was not Bouchey that had lied, but Sarah Ferguson who was doing the banning, even though Bouchey had caused the disruption (like I said, stopping the entire auction to confront me on something she'd messed up, one of the smaller items on the auction--not worth her trouble).

I told Honeycutt on his first call that Bouchey had caused me some real problems during the last auction before this one, and that her denials and angry verbal assaults were false during this one, and I would like to email him the mp3 above.  He did not want to give me any of his personal contact info.

At this point, I realized these people all knew each other, and that this was just another clubby attempt by some wrong individuals to lie on someone else to make themselves all happier, and more comfortable.  Bouchey could get by with her slop-auction routine in ANY future venue knowing she'd thrown her weight around, hoping she could get me to shut up in any OTHER future auctions she screwed up.  Ferguson could keep her new position at WKU intact by also laying down the law, and I was the perfect stooge.  Anthony Honeycutt was the one they both needed to make these things happen, and he knowingly complied, having eye-witnessed the 'confrontation' (I'd never even looked at Bouchey before she'd charged me from behind, and he was already there when she did).

So, having said this, I believe Honeycutt was in cahoots with the women, and they all went home happy.

But don't forget, this is MY hometown--I grew up here, and have lived here for 43 years.  I'm not ignorant, and I will use any resources I can to clean up any mud thrown at my character by people so petty they would do this to me--somebody who has has endured lies before, but maybe didn't know how right he was, and didn't have the determination, resilience, experience, and knowledge to help himself out.

Now, I do.

After Honeycutt shit on me, passing it off as his 'job' or 'duty', he hung up, already expecting me to lay down for him.  But I called him back immediately, promising I'd be calling him later as well, to discuss what was going on, since I WAS BEING PREPPED FOR SURGERY!

So, I did that, too.

The following 'video' (again, my conversation with him), contains my last call to him, in which I offered to meet him 'at any time, anyplace', under calm circumstances, to play the mp3 of Bouchey, which was all her fault anyway, as she'd been the only one who raised her voice at the later auction that caused my 'permanent ban'.  Again, I had to convert this to mp3, since it was only audio, and he'd been lying to cover up what they were doing to me, and I knew he'd never commit to meeting me once in public, much less agree that any such meeting be recorded.  This is a younger officer who is building his career, and he would never sacrifice it for anyone like myself, even if I was right, all alone in my defense, and so, basically, helpless, in the face of such 'skullduggery', 'shenanigans', and--again--outright complicit lying, which was a concerted effort to ruin my computer business in my hometown here.

video

I was made to wait over 3 mins. just to speak to 'officer' Hunnycunt, so any listeners need to push forward 'til around the 3 min mark in the above audio recording to hear him speak his lies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws#One-party_notification_states

MY NEXT UPDATE WILL INCLUDE MORE INFO ABOUT THE FOLLOWING ASSHOLE WHO IS PAID TO HELP, BUT INSTEAD CHOSE TO COLLUDE WITH BOUCHEY, DEFENDING HER REP WITHOUT LOOKING INTO MY COMPLAINT IN OVER A MONTH'S TIME.

I called the Ky State Auctioneer Licensing board to help me out, and what I got was a bunch of B.S.
Basically (I will be telling about this part in great detail ASAP), I discovered what a ruse this group is, IF you count on them to do any real, 'in-house' investigatory work regarding their 'members'.

Instead of even listening to any part of my account, they put their best efforts into mindlessly and needlessly looking up Bouchey's record, which, according to their guy Larry Mahaney, was spotless--I was not only the problem, but somehow had lied to them.

Interesting--I gave up hope...and am publishing this blog now, in hopes that someday something more will pan out in my favor.  Meanwhile, these jerks will either ignore it (never admitting fault, I realize that, much less making things right toward me) or simply behave more disgracefully (I'd expect primitive legalities, which I'm prepared to answer with expanding the media awareness of this story online, to other outlets of a more 'regional', then 'national', area of coverage).

LINKS USED TO COMPOSE THIS BLOG:
bouchey's auction profile: http://www.auctionzip.com/KY-Auctioneers/89905.html
wku journalism professor bob adams: http://www.wku.edu/news/releases07/july/hoda.html