An excerpt from the kindle book Winning Storage Auction Strategies, by Dirk and Susan McFergus:
The Phantom Bidder
I was attending every auction that summer and without fail, Pig was there outbidding me on every unit. I noticed that he only seemed interested in the units I was bidding on. I had passed on hundreds of units and when I found one I wanted, Pig was determined to outbid me at any cost and it frustrated me to no end. After a couple weeks of this situation, I came up with an idea. It was possible, I thought that it didn’t have anything to do with me but there was only one way to find out. I had to make him think I wasn’t bidding. My solution was fairly simple. I invited a friend to attend the auctions to bid for me. The catch was we couldn’t speak at the auctions and for all intents and purposes had to appear as if we were complete strangers. My friend was willing and the next auction we arrived in different cars and didn’t even make eye contact while at the auction. I had given him $3000 in cash to bid with and when I found a unit I wanted, I texted him my highest bid. To my surprise, Pig acted completely indifferent to the unit and I got it well under what I had been paying in previous weeks. My phantom bidder put the lock on the unit, paid the bill and handed me the key. Sometimes in the storage auction business, you have to overcome certain obstacles and the Phantom Bidder is just one way to keep an appearance of being uninterested.