Auctions make shopping entertainment.

The Greatest Show

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This essay is one of an occasional series written by students who are new to Athens, Ohio.

The US is the land of entertainment, home of Hollywood and birthplace of the worlds’ largest fun-exports. It seems like no other country follows the rules of entertainment as strictly as the United States. Even during the election campaigns, candidates fill stadiums of supporters, cheering for them, waving signs and flags and it seems like they justify their decision simply on who does the best show.

Lauren Ramoser

The Super Bowl is watched by more than 100 million people each year – only in the U.S. And weeks before the actual game, people get excited for the half-time show. Besides the world-famous music act, the audience waits to watch impressively expensive-produced TV-commercials, because even advertisements follow the simple rule of entertainment in this capitalistic country.

Why should it be fun?

So, when I first arrived in the USA I expected the entertainment to be part of the culture shock. Germans are very effective. While we do like good entertainment in movies and free time activities, we forgo it mostly in everyday situations. A very German question is: Why?

We don’t cheer for politicians as if they were superstars. Why are they making a huge show? Is their actual work not good enough to stand for itself? I would say the overall entertainment factor is a lot smaller in Germany.

I wasn’t surprised when I visited my first auction in Chesterhill just to find out that it is actually fun to bid on apples. The fun factor increased with the size of the auctioned product. There were even tractors, cars on a private auction in Coolville. The thrill of bidding on a product instead of simply buying it is fascinating.

More than just fun

There are auctions in Germany. The concept wasn’t new to me, but the extent of people’s motivation to go there was. First, it serves as a source for good bargains, which is great. Finding things, you might get way cheaper than in a store helps the economy of a county with a low overall income.

But this isn’t the only justification for a Saturday on an auction for most visitors. In a country that is that large and, in comparison, sparsely populated, auctions are a great way to meet neighbors and to feel a community.

And of course, the entertainment factor is enormous. For anyone, who isn’t convinced yet, feeling the thrill of a lurking bargain and the excitement after the relieving “SOLD!” feels very good.

I can imagine auctions just like the one in Coolville in Germany. Bringing your own folding chair, being there early to save a spot in the front row and fighting for the best price – sounds like something that would work home for me.

And why shouldn’t necessities also be fun?