By J.G. Noll
If you’ve been on Facebook this afternoon, you may have noticed a post making the rounds. The post, by Gene Daniels Auctions from Chesapeake, VA, publicizes a weekend auction of “Unclaimed Government/Military” storage containers. Photos accompanying the post show crates stacked floor-to-ceiling in a warehouse. The auction company’s website advertises that approximately 105 containers totaling 78,180 pounds will be auctioned off–some individually and some as an entire home:
“Unclaimed Shipments from Overseas…These Shipments are unclaimed household goods / personal property of military members who were staioned in locations such as Italy, Germany, Spain and Bahrain. Many Military members take advantage of their time stationed in these faraway places and purchase unique furniture pieces and decorative items handvrafted in these countries. HIDDEN TREASURES…The contents of thee shipments have not been seen and containers have been sealed since originally packed overseas. The shipment(s) you bid on may contain such items as antique furniture, china, crystal, artwork, TV’s and other electronics or possibly collectors’ items.”
The post quickly sparked outrage in the military community with more than 317 comments and 680 shares at the time of publishing.
Many responses emphasized that, while the auction company described the contents in glowing terms, families’ memories were also inside the crates. “It’s baby pictures and years of scrapbooks that you worked hours on completing layouts so you would have fun ways for grand kids to look through. It’s your child’s first teddy bear that they want to keep and give to their kid,” Staci Stubbs posted. “It’s the silly glasses that you used to drink out of at your grandma’s that are irreplaceable because they don’t make them anymore, and they weren’t ‘special’ except for the memories.” Others echoed the sentiments, mentioning how irreplaceable many of the crated items would most likely be and sharing their own stories of personal treasures lost during their military lives.
Facebook commenters also noted the seemingly unfair economics of PCSing.”The families are then paid pennies on the dollar for their lost goods. This is profiting off the backs of our military families!” wrote Alice Bullock Adler. Other comments pointed out the paltry lost-item repayment by the government and noted that the crates have names and information on the inside of the crates–and most likely, information that is visible on the outside of the crates too. “You should make an effort to find the owners before auctioning!” commented Laura Auvil Dalton, echoing many comments asking the auction company to reunite families with their lost belongings.
Others focused on the moving company that is selling the crates–Bay Area Movers, Inc. of Portsmouth, VA–pointing out their poor reviews on Google and Yelp. Reviews of the moving company range from broken furniture and stolen goods to dangerous driving. Some writers questioned whether or not the movers truly made an effort to reunite the goods with their clients.
Angry posts and ratings have flooded Gene Dainels Auctions’ Facebook page since the original post. Negative reviews citing the auction can also now be seen on the Google ratings of Bay Area Movers, Inc of Portsmouth, VA. Gene Daniels Auctions responded on the post to critics saying, “Please understand that Gene Daniels Auctions is only the Agent for the Seller any information regarding your concerns please direct it to Bay Area Movers, Inc. at 757-487-5550.”
An hour later, they posted a second message: “ALL Information that has been posted by Gene Daniels Auctions is provided by the Seller, Bay Area Movers, Inc. Again, we ARE just the Agent all concerns should be addressed to Bay Area Movers.”
Please note that there are numerous businesses across the country sharing the same name as Bay Area Movers.