Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Little Auction Etiquette

The LIHS Annual Auction is nigh upon us or in other words the  auction will be here and gone almost before you know it. It is scheduled for the LIHS monthly meeting on Sunday June 7th at 1PM. As usual it will be held in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale (directions and a link to a campus map here).

The auction is the main way that the LIHS funds itself now that we no longer hold an annual expo. The funds are needed to pay insurance and any other costs associated with running the society. We do pretty well at it but I have to say, I think maybe we can do better. The main ways we can do better is if folks who are bidding on items actually make decent bids and if people donating items donate things that are worth those decent bids. Remember that all items are donated by members (or others) who are trying to help support the LIHS. With that in mind, allow me to be so bold as to make some suggestions about bidding.

When used items are being auctioned, try to bid based on the condition of the item and what would be a fair price for it if sold used, that will benefit the LIHS. I am not saying to bid $100 on an item you believe is valued at $100 but bidding $5.00 on that item, even though used, is lowballing. True, the owner who donated it probably got his use out of it and does not need it any longer and it is probably of little value to him - but remember that person did not have to donate it to the LIHS. The item could have been sold via Craig's List or LI Back Page and put some money in that person's pocket or given him money to flat out donate to the LIHS. So make a decent bid, say maybe a starting bid of at least at 1/4 of the estimated value and work up from there. This will not only be better for the LIHS at this auction but will probably do more to assure that the same person donates something of value again next year as opposed to thinking it was not worth making a donation in the first place. As a bidder making a good bid, you still stand a chance at getting a good deal and will also have the satisfaction of knowing your money went to a good cause (and remember that is the reason for the auction - to support the LIHS).

The same kind of, sort of, just about goes for new items. However, 
with new items you should probably start your bidding closer to the retail value of the item. That is especially true if the item was donated by an individual instead of something donated by a corporation like Zoo Med. Why? Well, the person donating the item probably has paid for it out of his own pocket. If you bid $10 on an item that cost that person $100 why would that person ever have any incentive to again donate that expensive of an item to the LIHS for the auction. He could have more easily, and to higher benefit to the LIHS, made a monetary donation of $100 and left it that. Thus he would have saved money, time and effort that it took making the purchase and getting it to the auction. At the same time it would have given the LIHS 10 times the amount you would have bid on the item. It does not make sense to lowball, especially on brand new items. Yeah, it saves you some coin but can have an effect that is detrimental to the LIHS in that such items likely will appear less and less frequently at future auctions, bidders will lose interest if only junk winds up being offered, and the LIHS will have its main source of funding reduced over the long haul if the auction declines in quality. So, try to start the bidding around at least 50% of the retail value of new items donated by other members. Hopefully someone else will bid too and one of you will get the item for a good deal but much closer to the retail value than would be a lowball bid. Again, bear in mind, the auction is being held to support the LIHS.

Bidding on live animals or feeders is somewhat different but you still should avoid lowballing. The reason this is different is that many of the animals that are donated for the auction were bred by the person donating them. There is not as much of a cost involved for them; however, they could also sell those animals and donate the money to the LIHS. Try to make your starting bid at least 1/4 to 1/2 of what you think the critter is worth. Making a bid of $5.00 on a fairly high end snake that is worth $250 would be ludicrous but it has been done at LIHS auctions. I remember one member a few years ago who had several designer snakes, of a certain type, up for bidding. Some of them went for as low as $5 or $10. I bid some of them up and wound up having the high bids on at least two of them but at least the LIHS got more than a measly $5 or $10 in donations from them. I did not really want the snakes, I wanted to help the society and also to keep the person who donated them from feeling as if he got screwed and that it was not worth having made the donations. I think though, he thought the latter - I have not seen him at an auction since then. Again, this is to benefit the LIHS. Sure you can have fun bidding and probably get a good deal but the main reason to bid is to support the society.

As for people donating items, you too can do your part toward the goal of benefitting the LIHS. Make as many donations as you can of quality items on which folks would be willing to make good bids. If you are donating used items, say for instance a tank and stand, do a little work to make it more appealing - like cleaning it. Don't leave feces smeared on the tank sides or leave blue tinsel inside the tanks. Some of the enclosures that have been donated for the auction have been so disgustingly filthy that I am sure that is the reason there were no bids on them and they wound up in the dumpster outside after he bidding was completed.

Also, don't use the auction as an opportunity to offload your junk. If you have a glass turtle tank that has large cracks on two sides and is not water tight that you do not want - what makes you think someone else wants it? If you have an animal that you know is ill and want to get rid of it - don't do it at the auction. You are putting the future of the LIHS at risk by way of a tort claim if you do so and that animal transmits an illness to the new owner or her collection of herps. That does not mean you cannot or should not donate animals that may have slight deformities not due to a current illness. For instance, many a bearded dragon has had toes bitten of by cage-mates when young. They grow up otherwise healthy and surely healthy animals are what folks want.

As a person who is donating something, you may also want to consider placing a starting bid or a reserve bid on your items. I prefer to place a starting bid and not a reserve. In a 'reserve auction' the bidding can start at any price; however, if the preset reserve price is not achieved, the item remains unsold. If the reserve price is met, the item sells for that price or for the highest bid over the reserve. For an item on which you place a starting bid, the bidding must start at the minimum acceptable price you have set beforehand. If no one makes a bid at least as high as the price you set, the item remains unsold. If someone bids at the set starting price, the winner of that auction will be the person who matched the preset starting price or will be the bidder who bid the highest bid above the set starting bid. Of course, the person who made the donation can decide, after the auction end for any given item, that whatever bid was made was acceptable and thus the item in either a reserve or minimum bid auction may still be won by a bidder who technically came in too low.

Remember folks, the whole reason we hold the auction is to benefit our society - the LIHS. Let's try to do that as best we can while at the same time assuring that the auction will be held for years to come. Please donate quality items and bring plenty of cash for bidding. Let's do all we can do to keep the LIHS up and running.

All the best,
Glenn  B

Sunday, May 3, 2015

LIHS Meeting May 3, 2015

The LIHS's monthly meeting was held today and it was a good one. There was a very interesting presentation on Indigo & Cribo snakes (genus Drymarchon) given by speakers Andrew Fedoriw and Alan Brutosky. It was a very interesting about the care and breeding of those snakes. Tara F should be posting photos to the LIHS FB page sometime in the future. If you want to get some info about the genus Drymarchon, go here: http://eastcoastdrymarchon.com/, that is the website of the speakers.

As for the bearded dragon that I was offering for adoption, that I mentioned in an earlier post, it went to Chris M at the meeting today. He made a generous donation to the LIHS and walked away with a nice male bearded dragon.

Remember that the LIHS annual auction will be held at next month general meeting on June 7th in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale, here is a link to a PDF auction flier and links to more info and directions can be found here. As usual, the meeting and auction are open to the public, there is not an admission charge.

All the best,
Glenn B

Friday, May 1, 2015

Male Bearded Dragon For Adoption At May and or June Meeting

I will have a bearded dragon up for adoption at the May and or June meeting(s) of the LIHS. It is an adult male, is in apparent good health but is missing part of one of its feet (left hind foot partially bitten off when young). There will be an adoption fee to be named at the meeting. All proceeds from the adoption will go directly to the LIHS. This animal will be offered for adoption as per availability (in other words, if it is adopted out before those meetings, then tough noogies). This bearded dragon is only available for adoption to LIHS members whose dues are paid up.

THE BEARDED DRAGON HAS BEEN ADOPTED AND IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

All the best,
Glenn B

LIHS May Meeting & June Meeting / Auction

The LIHS monthly for may will be held this Sunday, May 3, at the Conference Center on the SUNY Farmingdale campus. As usual, it is scheduled to run from 1-4PM, although it may end earlier. The schedule speaker for the meeting is to be: Andrew Fedoriw. He will be giving a presentation on the Hobbyists Approach to the Care of the Genus Drymarchon (Indigo/Cribo Snakes).

Directions to the campus here and a campus map here.

Remember, the LIHS annual auction will take place at the monthly meeting in June. More info here.

As usual, both of these meetings are open to the public at no charge.
 
Hope to see you at both events.

All the best,
Glenn B

Pretty Much My Sentiment


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Road Trip To The Hamburg Reptile Show

I took a short road trip to Hamburg, PA yesterday to attend the Hamburg Reptile Show. Normally the trip takes about 2.5 hours, it took me about 3.5 due to traffic in NYC. Once there, I spent a few hours inside the Hamburg Field-House debating whether or not I should buy any of the wide variety of herps that the many vendors had on display there. I badly wanted to pick up four or five Blue Tailed Newts and a couple or few of Iranian Newts, that a certain dealer was offering but declined; more on this later. There were a lot of other dealers offering anything from venomous species, like Puff Adders, Pygmy Rattlers and Gila Monsters to those offering the more mundane (and safer) herps like Sulcatta Tortoises, Pixie Frogs, Colorado River Toads, Corn Snakes and Ball Pythons. There were also folks selling non-herp species like several types of tarantulas, scorpions, and rodents.

I debated not only on those newts but also considered picking up some guinea pigs, ducklings and rats (the last two as snake food and the first as potential breeders for a colony of cavies for possible people food); I declined despite badly wanting those newts. In fact, I declined getting all but one herp - a normal appearing ball python, obviously a 2015 hatchling but of large enough size to know it has been eating well. I got that not for myself but as a donation to the Long Island Herpetological Society's
annual auction set for June 7th.

All in all, I had a great time there with only one bump in the road so to speak. As a quick suggestion to dealers (of anything), let me say that you really ought to be careful about what you talk about in front of your potential customers. I was about to purchase at least 5 of the Blue Tailed Newts (from a dealer with whom I have done business before) and two or three of the Iranian Newts. That would have amounted to about a $200-$250 purchase depending on how many I bought and depending on if I would get the 5 to 10% discount for which I was going to ask for buying multiple animals. Suddenly, without even acknowledging I was standing there for a few minutes already, his apparent partner (the other guy working his table anyway and someone I have never met or dealt with before) started talking about people who ask for a discounted price when buying a few to several animals from them (and note I had not said a word). His partner called those folks several derogatory names for trying to get a better price when they were offering a good price already. The other dealer, the guy I have dealt with before, heartily agreed.

Then the first guy ranted on and on for at least five minutes about such customers, all in a very negative manner, as I stood at their table looking at their offerings and listening to every word that this loud mouthed slob (who had food falling from his mouth while talking because he was stuffing sandwich into his mouth at the same time) spewed from his blowhole. The guy with whom I have done business agreed with him every time he blasted those expletive / expletive / expletive customers and he threw in a couple of choice descriptions of his own. Throughout, they both totally ignored me, the customer waiting to be attended to by them.

In the past, I have asked for and received such discounts from that same particular dealer on some newts that I purchased from him. It is standard operating procedure among most reptile & amphibian dealers to discount the price somewhat when a good number of animals are purchased at the same time. Yesterday though, I did not even inquire about such a discount since they were so busy slamming customers who asked for a discount. I was about to say something nasty in reply to their tirade but I decided that instead of getting myself all worked up, I would keep my blood pressure at a decent level and not mess up my remaining time at the show. So, I just walked away and ignored them.

That means I also left without spending a dime on their stuff; maybe they can afford to lost a $200-$250 sale but I figure that is bad business. I would have to have been a true idiot to have spent one penny there so as it turns out the real idiots were the two guys behind the table bad mouthing and losing customers. Anyway, I had a good time at the show, probably at least in part because I maintained my cool (for once). Besides the one snake that I bought, I also picked up some supplies that I needed for my critters at home. Then I went to Cabela's.

Ah yes, that is what makes the trip to this particular reptile show more alluring than most to which I have traveled -
Cabela's is only about a 5 minute drive from the field-house. While at Cabela's, I spent about 3/4 of the money I had originally intended to spend on buying newts.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't Forget The Annual LIHS Auction...

...is scheduled to be held during our monthly meeting on Sunday, June 7th, less than two months from today. It is scheduled to be held in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale, from 1PM to 4PM.

Directions to SUNY Farmingdale can be found here:
 
http://www.lihs.org/files/meetingplace.htm 

A campus map showing the Conference Center (building 76) can be seen here:

http://www.lihs.org/files/FSUNY_MAP.jpg.

LIHS members, please bear in mind that this is now the main source of funding for the LIHS. Please attend and please participate in the auction both by donating items for the auction and by bidding on others.

As usual, the auction most likely will include new and used herp keeping accessories, live herps and feeders (possibly frozen and or live). There may also be some non-herp related items up for bids. The terms are all items sold as-is, no guarantees, cash only, payment upon successful bid acceptance.

The meeting and auction are open to the public and is not restricted to LIHS members. Please come by and find yourself a deal.

More info on LIHS upcoming events can be found here.

All the best,
Glenn B

LIHS Monthly Meeting April 2015

The April meeting of the Long Island Herpetological Society (LIHS) is scheduled to be held this Sunday, April 12th, from 1-4PM (end time approximate). The meeting place will be at the Conference Center (building 76) at SUNY Farmingdale. The campus is located at:

2350 Broad Hollow Road (Rt. 110)
Farmingdale, NY 11735

Click here for directions to the campus:
http://www.lihs.org/files/meetingplace.htm

And here for a campus map: http://www.lihs.org/files/FSUNY_MAP.jpg

The speaker at the meeting is scheduled to be John Heiser who will give a presentation on Hiking and Kayaking Central Florida.

As usual, there will probably be live herps on display at the meeting and some possibly for sale, trade or adoption.

The meeting is open to the public at no charge.

If you would like more info on the LIHS please visit this link:
www.lihs.org

Hope to see you at the meeting.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Leave No Stone Unturned...

...or in the case of a herp that is missing inside your home, no corner unsearched. Today, I realized one of my false map turtles was missing from it's tank. I'll be darned if I know how it escaped but the fact is that somehow it figured out how to do it. I looked all around the tank, behind everything on the same bench top that holds the aquarium, on the bottom shelf of the work bench, under the dryer, washer, shelves water heater and so forth in my basement's back room where the tank is kept. I could not find it. I even searched in the Homer buckets in which I keep odds and ends thinking maybe when it fell off of the bench top, it fell into one of them on the next shelf down. No luck. Then I searched the front room of the basement, under and around everything - no luck.

I considered that maybe the two other turtles in the tank ate it but there was no evidence of that. Then I had the thought that maybe it got onto the bottom shelf of the shelving unit in the back of my basement. Nope - not there either but what was that there, way back, in the most inaccessible corner of the shelves, just above the floor level and wedged in tight? It sure looked like a map turtle shell. Yep, that was it. It was about 3 inches off of floor level so could not be seen when I looked under the shelves and only came into view when I took almost everything off of the shelf. In fact, only about a 1 x 1 inch piece, at most, of its shell was visible even then because most of it was obscured by the shelf or the upright 2x4 frame of the shelving unit. I grabbed it and back into its tank it went. It seems no worse for the wear, I am happy of that. Now to figure out how it got out of the tank and then make sure it does not do it again.

All the best,
GB

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Season's Greetings

Wishing a Very Merry Christmas To All and a belated Very Happy Chanukah too. Sorry that last comes late, I have not had much time for the blog lately.

All the best,
Glenn B