Volume 40,   Issue 4                                April  2005


The Right Price?
Dear USG:
In response to the letter “How Low Can We Go?” in the November 2004 issue of USGlass (see page 10), I would like to share my experience with the same type of reverse auction bidding.

Like the anonymous writer, our company was also invited to participate in reverse auction electronic bidding by one of the large box stores, which shall remain nameless for fear of legal retribution. I followed all of the prescribed procedures, and with approximately eight minutes remaining, entered a bid of $51,000. My bid was electronically recorded and, according to the website, was the low bid at that point. Knowing that the bidding ended in seven minutes, I alternately switched back and forth to confirm that the low bid was $51,000. However, it also said “pending,” which puzzled me. I then called the owner of the company into my office and we both confirmed that, according to the screen, we were the low bidder at $51,000. This was back in the beginning of December.

A few weeks went by and I became concerned by the lack of response from either the general contractor and/or the box store sponsor. By the second week in January I was really beginning to feel like something was wrong. I faxed repeated requests to the general contractor. with no response; actually talked with the project manager and was told that the project was being held up, which really increased my paranoia. After three days of unraveling corporate knots, I was finally connected with the person in charge of e-commerce for the big box corporation. Imagine my surprise (not) when I was informed that a lower bid of $49,500 was entered with three minutes left. I asked if it was possible that, with only three minutes left, there was some way that the information was not displayed on the screen. I was assured that this was not possible. End of story.

I know what I saw, and even though the “official log” will show that the $49,500 bid was recorded, I will go to my grave believing otherwise. Why, then, would no one tell me that we were not the low bidder despite all the faxes, phone calls, etc.? To me, it just doesn’t feel right.

I cannot presume to suggest to anyone else that this type of procedure should be boycotted. Some subs may need the work and be willing to take the chance. I can only speak for myself. In the future, I have no desire to become the target of bidding procedures that obviously are stacked against the small glazing subs.

I can only share my experience with others and then let them decide for themselves. I can say this though: the last thing the gentleman in charge of the auction said to me was “I hope this won’t leave a bad impression on you and that you will participate in future auctions.” What was that my grandmother used to say about the big dog down the street? “Bites you once, shame on him; bites you twice, shame on you.”
David Bledsoe
Commercial Estimator
Virginia Glass Co.
Charlottesville, Va.

Third Time’s a Charm
Dear USG:
I just wanted to send a brief note to say how much I enjoyed Deb Levy’s three-part series on her elusive interview with Bill Davidson (see the October 2004 USGlass page 8, November 2004 USGlass page 6 and the December 2004 USGlass page 5). He and his entire business organization are truly first class, and as she said, one that always acts with the utmost of integrity. The three-part format worked extremely well and had me looking forward to receiving the next edition. I wish her luck in her quest for an interview with Roger O’Shaughnessy, as I have always considered him to be another one of those class individuals found in any business that has operated with the utmost integrity and professionalism throughout his career. Good luck!
Mark Maxwell 
Global Marketing 
Communications Manager 
Core Products Business
Dow Corning Corp.
Midland, Mich. 

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