Check stand number 15 from the old Wal-Mart, complete with a working conveyor belt, check-writing stand and bagging racks failed to attract a bid of even $10 at Saturday's auction at the closed store.
A lucky buyer was able to purchase all the fish tanks -- 12, 55-gallon tanks in a 25-foot shelf set with a sink, outlets, water pump and ultraviolet disinfection unit -- all for $50.
Bonnette Auction Co. came up from Alexandria, La., for the sale.
"What happens is, they build a Super Wal-Mart, they take all the stuff they want from this one, then we come in and sell off the rest," said auctioneer Barbara Bonnette with a touch of Southern drawl.
Some items, like the fish tanks, went for a song while others went for a price closer to retail. A 5,000-pound capacity hydraulic hand pallet truck sold for $250.
"Those things are $300 new," said Larry Sliter who came down from Reno's Twin City Surplus for the sale. "If you're not here to make money off it -- if you're an end user -- then it's a good deal," said Sliter of the auction. "But if you're gonna try and re-sell it the prices are too high."
As Bonnette and another auctioneer, Kevin Kelley, took turns on the microphone hollering prices for different items, a crowd of about 50 bidders followed them through the mostly-empty store. Collections of jean racks, glass-doored refrigerators, makeup racks and even "this whole back wall of shelving" were up for bid. A pile of about 20 tarps out in the garden area sold for $85 and a 6-foot step ladder with the words "property of Wal-Mart" on one side went for $45.
Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch brothel in Mound House, was excited about the deal he got on two safes.
"I'm telling you, they're worth five grand," he said. "I paid $300. They'll be at the Bunny Ranch now. Part of Wal-Mart's history is at the Bunny Ranch!"
He also purchased some display cases for his new nightclub and cafe, the NV/50.
"There's millions of dollars worth of stuff here and they're just giving it away," Hof said.
Vicki Price and Ken Wood came to outfit a different type of business. They bought display cases from the eye glass store and a refrigerator for the new pie shop they're starting in Apple Hill near Placerville, Calif.
"Everything is really cheap," said Price. The two read about Saturday's auction in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
Bonnette said the auction made about $20,000.
Next up for Bonnette Auction Co. is a Sam's Club in Aurora, Colo., and then another Wal-Mart in West Palm Beach, Fla.