Auctions are often more than an occasion for the sales of goods. Gatherings of people especially at auctions conducted from a house or farm property are a chance for community gathering. It is quite common to observe a large crowd at the start of the auction engaged in talk while inspecting the goods.
Sometime shortly after the lunch hour it is also common to see these social attendees leave for the day without buying anything. Most often they are present to talk to friends and see what some things sell for during the sale, then walk away leaving the true core buyers. Its an interesting anthropological study.