The rationale for why makes little to no sense…


Some are shocked that the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction has been rescheduled from January to March of 2021. After watching just about every auction, show, etc. canceled or moved I’m sad about the decision but I’m also not surprised. In an official release, the auction house cited “the current spike of coronavirus cases” in Arizona as well as authorities predicting a spike in COVID-19 cases because people dare to celebrate the upcoming holidays like irresponsible peasants.

The plan originally was to hold the auction in January like every other year. However, after 2020 not being like any other year, it seems we can’t follow that up with even somewhat normal activities in Arizona and many other places for 2021 and maybe beyond.

photo credit: Barrett-Jackson

This move could possibly cause a cascade of problems for not only Barrett-Jackson, but also the city of Scottsdale and the Arizona economy. Being an absolutely humongous auction, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale generates millions of dollars in economic activity each January. Moving the auction dates with about a month’s notice might cause some who were planning to attend to cancel instead, especially when no firm dates for a March event are available. This isn’t what people who are struggling to provide for their children need.

I don’t know what verbiage is in the auction consignment contracts and I’m no attorney, but it would be unfortunate if some consignors pulled their vehicles because of this delay. We’ve seen Leake sink under the withering lockdown restrictions, so don’t think for a second Barrett-Jackson or any other auction house is immune to these “public health” measures.

What’s even more puzzling about this move is Barrett-Jackson successfully held an auction event in Scottsdale this past October without any reported problems. What I would characterize as extreme measures were required by the city and the auction house conformed happily. It’s almost as if one can’t do enough to satisfy the edicts of certain government officials.

It hasn’t been fully explained why March will be a safer month to hold a car auction here, even if the event is closed to only bidders, journalists, and a few invited guests. The only hint of an explanation is that people celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other December holiday will murder half the state of Arizona and anyone who attends any events in January. I assure you, people aren’t dying in the streets here, despite the picture you might be gathering from national media coverage.

photo credit: Barrett-Jackson

Another point: how do we know if by March the number of COVID-19 cases, which are largely asymptomatic, won’t be even higher than in January? Are we making all decisions based off the predictions of officials who originally told everyone face masks weren’t effective, that millions of Americans would be dead by now, and that after 15 days of lockdowns we would “flatten the curve” enough to reopen everything?

To its credit, Barrett-Jackson is being diplomatic about this tremendous setback. I just hope it isn’t to the auction house’s peril after Leake suffered such a horrendous fate at the hands of COVID-19 shutdowns.

“While every indication showed that our bidders, consignors and sponsors were behind our efforts to hold our auction next month, we decided it would be prudent at this time to safeguard everyone’s health,” said Craig Jackson chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson in an official release. “We determined that moving our event to March 2021 seemed like the right thing to do to avoid the coronavirus spike that is currently being predicted. We appreciate the support we have received from the City of Scottsdale and State of Arizona regarding this decision. We were widely praised for the safety protocols we put in place for our recent Fall Auction, and we want to be able to provide customers and fans the same safe environment and great Barrett-Jackson experience during our Scottsdale Auction this spring.”

Jackson keeps it classy and is trying to safely navigate through this awful storm. I say good luck, Barrett-Jackson, and may the auction in March go well. However, I’m not entirely convinced Scottsdale, Maricopa County, or maybe even Governor Ducey won’t try to shut that event down, or “push it back” until later in the year.