How to ruin a charity auction

Bah. I didn’t want to post this on here. I hate it when real life collides with blog life. And in somewhere as small as Cape Town (and its notorious Southern Suburbs) collisions are unavoidable. I even bumped into Ashanti in the pub the other day. Seriaas.
Can you imagine how much fun that was? (And did you know that The Sun newspaper in the UK read my post and then rang them for a comment?)
(No – neither did I.)
(Obviously, I do now.)

But this has really annoyed me and needs to be got out of my system. And, bolstered by my Constitutional right to freedom of speech, I’m going to speak. Freely.
Please be warned that rude words may follow, although I’ll try to limit them as much as possible. After all, my Mum reads this blog.

Charity begins at home, but if you don’t have a home, that’s an absolute bummer. If you don’t have a home, you don’t have a kitchen and if you don’t have a kitchen, you’re likely to be going hungry. This lack of home, kitchen and food is all too common in South Africa and so I was delighted to help out in a silent auction via email for the Hopetown Soup Kitchen. When I say “help out”, I wasn’t organising or anything, I was bidding.
You can see a list of the items and the sponsors on that link above. Nice stuff; generous folks.

Bids were flying in from left, right and centre and we were ably kept up to date by organiser Nikki. Banter was exchanged, but all in good humour. With it being a long weekend, the auction was even extended by 48 hours so that people who had given work email addresses could get back to the office on Tuesday and not miss out. It was that sort of real friendly atmosphere: people enjoying a bit of healthy, fun competition against their friends while doing their bit for charity.
And then at 8pm last night, the silent hammer came down. Silently. The group email was sent out and R4,700 had been raised for Hopetown Soup Kitchen. Well done all.

And then, (literally) 2 minutes later, a second email. Updated results. An updated total. But how?
How, because apparently at 7:59, some [naughty word] – we will call him Martin – had added an extra R10 (“Ten” “Rand”) (90p) ($1.30) to each of three items and won them.
Honestly: ten rand? Ten. Rand.
What an utter [deleted].

So stuff which had been going up R50 or R100 per bid was sold for odd totals like R760 and R1010. And the joy of winning something and doing one’s bit for charity, which had previously been spread across a range of individuals, was cornered by one [censored] individual with his tight-fisted, over-competitive, last-minute greediness.

There will be those of you who will point out that Martin still has to pay up for the stuff he won with his extra R30, and that the money is all going to a good cause. And you’d be right on an absolute minimum of two counts. But he’s still picked up three rather nice items at well below their retail value with his unnecessarily competitive tactics.

To be honest, organiser Nikki handled it with graceful professionalism. But I’ll bet that was only because Martin had put a delivery receipt on his email and would have moaned if she’d not acknowledged his bids. Personally, I would have told him exactly where to stuff his R30 and let him know how utterly classless and distasteful his behaviour was. But maybe Nikki isn’t from Yorkshire.

Looks like it was Martin‘s lucky day in more ways then one, then.

Note: Martin‘s email address is available to the highest bidder in the comments section below.
All proceeds to the Hopetown Soup Kitchen. Reserve price is R31.

UPDATE: Group email calls on Martin to raise each of his R10 to at least R50 to save face.
Second group email describes Martin as “not ethical” and laments his “rough call”.

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