As the hours of the LOST scrolled by, so did the list of auction items and the constant stream of ever-higher bids. If nothing else, this final official LOST event makes a statement about fans as consumers of popular culture, even in a sluggish economy.
Like many long-time LOST fans, I followed the official memorabilia auction online on August 21, the first day of the two-day, multi-hour sale. The view from the auction floor must have been much more invigorating and illuminating. After all, the auction site encouraged ticket buyers, whether they registered as bidders or simply wanted to browse, to come early to peruse the merchandise. Visitors could have their photo taken with wreckage from Oceanic 815, and Kate or Hurley impersonators could participate in costume contests. The on-site activities offered much more than an auction, although that itself was entertainment. The auction “show” featured fast and furious bidding, a bid war or two, and the adrenaline-fueled anticipation of exactly how high those bids would go.
Much of that excitement was necessarily lost in the shift from in person to online, but the view from the screen became riveting in its own way and provided a very different interpretation of the auction’s cultural significance. Images of upcoming items slowly queued up the left side of the screen, with the memorabilia currently up for bid taking center stage one final time. A rapidly changing list of bids scrolled along the right side of the screen. When the bids—marked Floor or Internet to indicate the source of competing offers—slowed for a few seconds, yellow warning signs reminded prospective buyers to hurry. Another prompt indicated that the current lot was about to be closed.