Have you ever attended an auction? Held that funny paddle in your hand? Fought it out with someone across the room for that fabulous antique dresser and won?
Well I am here to let you in on a little secret. Your closest base has an auction for you to attend, compliments of the U.S. government.
Just when you thought you had memorized all the acronyms out there, allow me to share one more: DRMO.
DRMO is the abbreviation for the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. I have included the link for the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Services (DRMS), which is a broader scoping explanation of what surplus auctions are all about.
As far as I could find, there are twelve different versions of this description (some use redistribution rather than reutilization, etc.) but what it really comes down to is that bases all around the country must unload their old or unwanted surplus and you, my friend, are the beneficiary.
Simply search the abbreviation DRMO and then your installation name. Information should pop right up.
The auctions are held annually or bi-annually in warehouses, hangars, storage facilities and sometimes in parking lots both on base and off.
There are traditional auctions where one registers and purchases a paddle with a number. There are also first-come, first-served with lines wrapping around the event hours before the doors open!
All auctions have some sort of preview prior to the event. Whether it is a walk-thru the day before, a walk thru the morning of, or a glossary of items being auctioned in an online catalogue on the installation website, you will know what’s being sold so you can formulate your game-plan.
But whatever the case, show up early and have plenty of cash.
My experience with the DRMO auctions are somewhat extensive…my first was a live bid auction. I watched with anxious anticipation as a beautiful cherry desk came across the stage. The auctioneer began to call the cadence that only an auctioneer can and before I knew it I was the proud owner of a solid cherry desk purchased for $45.00!
You must have the ability to pick up your newly acquired goods immediately so I pulled my minivan around to the loading dock for pickup. As I turned the corner I saw six identical cherry desks. How fun I naively thought. I handed the gentleman my receipt and he politely let me know that I better move fast if I wanted to get all six desks out by the end of the day.
Mama say what?
You see friends, I had failed to do the walk-thru and missed that the desks were sold as a pallet of desks, meaning a group. I purchased six gorgeous desks for $45.00! A steal in its own right but what a nightmare getting them home and storing them. I subsequently sold all six and learned a valuable lesson of auction etiquette. Make every effort to research what you are purchasing and by all means do the walk thru.
Over the years I have seen camping equipment, old bowling alley pins, daycare supplies and furniture, old hotdog and cotton candy machines from the recreation checkout and more military equipment than one could imagine.
My favorite however, is when the base needs to unload their old glassware, serving pieces and pub furniture from the different social clubs on base. My biggest score ever was a pallet of 180 wine glasses for $22.00! This particular auction was at Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska and the auction was a walk thru style set up. A huge hangar was filled with old and surplus items that needed to be unloaded in order to make room for the new items. The wine glasses were in piles on the floor. I grabbed as many as I could and made an offer.
The collection has been a wonderful addition to my entertaining cache. I have used them at weddings, Christmas parties, brunches, and large scale neighborhood events. Remember though, we are all on weight limits for our household goods so I encourage you to be very selective about what you bring on board. Check out my post, “So were you overweight when you got here?” to better understand weight guidelines and consequences.
Do your research and go with a group, make it a unit outing. Be forewarned, auctions can be very addictive so pace yourself.
Have you attended a DRMO auction? Share with us your experiences, your finds and that big score!