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Don't drink and bid - Rob Felt

Silent auctions for charity are a great way to bring people to an event while keeping them entertained and raising money for a good cause at the same time. Throw a wine tasting into the equation and things become even more interesting.

My wife's sorority recently held an event at the Academy of Medicine in Atlanta to raise money for domestic violence. Suit, tie, food, music, the whole package.

Lining the walls of the main hallway were tables that held silent auction items of all flavors, and exploring the academy's back rooms would reveal even more.

People mingled and sipped wine throughout the building. Wine glass in one hand and corresponding hors d'oeuvres in the other. Cheese with the whites, roast beef finger sandwiches with the reds, etc.

Upon arriving you were given an empty wine glass and a card that let you have one sample of each of the wines they were pouring. The stewards at each station were to punch your card when they gave you a glass then send you on your way.

Simple formula, but it didn't exactly work out that way.

There were rogue stewards among the law-abiders who, while drinking themselves, ignored these punch cards and kept the wine flowing freely. Needless to say, these were the more popular stations.

We had made an initial sweep of the auction items as soon as we got there, but after meeting up with a few friends and having a few glasses of wine, we took another look.

That's when things got complicated.

The first item that caught my eye was a Neil Boortz bobblehead doll. After some wine there's nothing funnier than a Neil Boortz bobblehead doll. The greatest thing about the doll is, love him or hate him, it serves a function either way. You agree with something he says and it's a cute tschotke. You disagree with him and it becomes a voodoo doll exaggeration of his bullish character, mocking and small on your desk.

I bid on that.

A friend of mine directed me to the sports section of the auction items, where we found 4 seats to any Atlanta Hawks game for $40. We're both from Cleveland, so we talked about going to see LaBron James and the Cavs when they come to town in January.

I bid on that.

The night was winding down now, and the auctions were closing. To our surprise, this closing-out included the discounting of many of the items that were left.

Look out.

I had seen the autographed Jeff Gordon hat earlier, and at its $40 price tag I passed by, but now it had been cut in half to $20. "That's just the cost of the hat," I reasoned.

I bid on that.

Would I have spent that money on those things if I were sober? Probably not.

Would I have spent that money on those things if it wasn't going to a charity? Probably not.

That's how they get you, and they got me.

At least it's a tax write-off.

Rob Felt is the photographer for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or .