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Title: Oral History Interview with Jane Squires, September 21, 2002. Interview R-0192. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Squires, Jane, interviewee
Interview conducted by Mansfield, William
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 148 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-30, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Jane Squires, September 21, 2002. Interview R-0192. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0192)
Author: William Mansfield
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Jane Squires, September 21, 2002. Interview R-0192. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0192)
Author: Jane Squires
Description: 120 Mb
Description: 27 p.
Note: Interview conducted on September 21, 2002, by William Mansfield; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by William Mansfield.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series R. Special Research Projects, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Jane Squires, September 21, 2002.
Interview R-0192. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Squires, Jane, interviewee


Interview Participants

    JANE SQUIRES, interviewee
    WILLIAM MANSFIELD, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
This is Bill Mansfield interviewing Ms. Jane Squires for the Duke Homestead tobacco Auctioneer's Reunion on September 21, 2002 And Ms. Jane Squires, we always get people to start off telling us when they were born and where they were born, if that's all right.
JANE SQUIRES:
That's fine. I'm Jane Squires and I was born March 1, 1961, in Dillon County South Carolina. And have lived in Latta, South Carolina most of my life.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Latta, is that kind of close the North Carolina line?
JANE SQUIRES:
Really close.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK. Let's see. Now you said your father worked . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
My father was a tobacco auctioneer early on. He finished Clemson in '52. [He] went straight to Korea after he finished Clemson and when he got home from the war he started as a tobacco auctioneer in Wilson [NC], and worked for three years and then got on with the USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] and retired with the USDA.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what was his name?
JANE SQUIRES:
Joseph Thomas, or Tommy [Squires].
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what about your grandparents?
JANE SQUIRES:
My grandfather was co-owner in the Peedee warehouse, in Dillon.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So you come from a tobacco family. Well what got you interested in being an auctioneer?
JANE SQUIRES:
The tobacco aspect of it was for the travel, believe it or not.. I don't believe any one else wanted to do it for the travel. But I did. I was interested in general auctioneering and then the tobacco end of it intrigued me, because of the travel. The lure was the travel for me, originally, and have spent the past thirteen winters in Kentucky.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So just being able to travel in the tobacco market . . . . . ..
JANE SQUIRES:
Travel and the challenge of the sale itself. I like the speed of a tobacco sale. I had some obstacles to over come, as I'm sure you're aware of.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
[Laughter] Well, that's something I'd like to ask you about.
JANE SQUIRES:
[Laughter] It worked out fine.

Page 2
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
It does seem like the folks I have met in the tobacco— in the warehouse, its seems just like a picture [perfect] example of the "old boys" network.
JANE SQUIRES:
Exactly right.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Coming into it as a woman, what kind of challenges were you confronted with?
JANE SQUIRES:
I trained for a year, with no pay. I felt like it was something that I needed to do. I wasn't comfortable enough with the mechanics of the sale. The chant was never a real problem for me. The sale mechanics I wanted to make sure that I had them down pat, before I accepted a job. I had had job offers before I decided I was ready to take one. Earlier, when Mr. Yergin mentioned there were black auctioneers in Zimbabwe and Malawi too I had never thought about how I would be compared with a minority, but that's exactly, I'm sure, very similar to how it [is]. Because the prejudice. Because there were many, many, many obstacles I had to over come. Not so much with the warehousemen. [The warehousemen] were almost ready for a change of pace. It was never a problem getting a job. I ran into a lot of conflicts with other auctioneers, that I never wanted to happen of course, but you've heard what a competitive business it is. I had to be better than the average young man starting out, for anybody to take me seriously. And to this day, everyday that I sell tobacco, now, I still feel that I have to prove myself. But it's fine. I like that adrenaline.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That challenge?
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah, I don't mind having to . . . . . .. I knew, early on that I would have to do that.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That's something I'd definitely like to talk with you about, but let's go back a little bit to when you decide to go into the auction business, and learning how to auction tobacco. Now you said the chant wasn't any problem?
JANE SQUIRES:
The chant wasn't a problem. Now you know you have to be licensed in most states to sell anything. I don't know if you have to be licensed in North Carolina, to sell tobacco, but you do in South Carolina. So I had to go to Columbia and take the exam, which is a general auctioneering exam. Has nothing to do with tobacco, but you do have to be licensed. I got that behind me and then followed Paige Roberts, who I was sitting beside earlier, one season. And then got a job next season. The mechanics of the sale were so different then, than they are now. Now it's, pretty much, just a ration situation. Then, with ten or eleven, twelve or thirteen buyers, it was a true auction system, for a while. And then I got into it and three or four years later it became a ration situation.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When did you start?

Page 3
JANE SQUIRES:
[19]89.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Tell me about the mechanics of the sale when you started.
JANE SQUIRES:
When I started, all of the manufactures were represented as well as about eight dealers. So you had a full line-up. A lot of the companies that have merged now, from Dibrell Brothers, DIMON, Austin and all of them have all gone together as Dimon, D-I-M-O-N. And back then it was three or four divisions of that company. Mechanic wise, I wanted to make sure that I knew how to . . . . . . because situations arise on a sale so quickly. It's not like selling an antique or this book bag. You're selling this and you're asking for the next highest increment. In tobacco, you're calling the number that you have, that was different for me. But the speed of the sale, I really liked. I think that's why it fell into my lap so easily.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, the mechanics if the sale, at one time you said it went to the highest bidder?
JANE SQUIRES:
Right.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Then it became a "ration system?"
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah, it became a short crop, pound wise and there wasn't enough to go around. You'd have to divide it up between the companies. Usually on a three-year average, it got to be more like a math situation as opposed to "a dollar more gets it ever time situation." Which is what an auction usually is. Tobacco was all bringing the same price for years, see, in the early nineties, up until the mid-nineties, per pound, all the buyers would have the same price.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So you'd have the same guys bidding the same price?
JANE SQUIRES:
And you'd have to divide it up according— on a three year average of what they bought in previous years. And I've worked for people in Kentucky, for six years that I had to be within a percent of – you had a hundred percent to work with. One company, say got forty, one [company] got eight, one got four, one got two. And you had to be within a half to a percent. So it was a real challenge for me at first. But then I learned how to do that as well. Completely different situation from when I first started in the late eighties.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Tell me about the chant. That's what everybody knows the auctioneer for.
JANE SQUIRES:
The chant is important, I think. But it's not the most important thing at all. I've worked on my chant. It came a little bit easier for me than some, because I sing in a band and have a musical background. As well as Paige [Roberts] that trained me, was musical. You'll find that most of the auctioneers that have a rhythmic chant are musical. They carry the buyers better. The sale runs more smoothly. It's just much more pleasing to listen to. So I didn't have any problem with that. I didn't really have any problem with any of it. It all came fairly naturally to

Page 4
me. My obstacles were getting people to hire a woman.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I can only imagine what a challenge that was.
JANE SQUIRES:
I've been told that had I tried two years before that I never would have gotten a job. But I hit it just at the right time. The USDA were hiring blacks, to meet minority quotas. Hiring women, black women, which was very unheard of in the tobacco market. And then there had never been a woman auctioneer. There were several women ticket markers and by then there were some women [tobacco] graders. I think - - The people told me that told me had I tried it two or three years earlier I just never would have made it. The business wasn't really ready for a woman auctioneer. But I think I started at just the right time. Late for me. I wished I'd done it right out of school. But I met the right . . . . . .. I met some people who helped me and gave me some good advice. And I listened a lot. I didn't comment a lot. I just watched and observed, a year before I started before I started work.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What kind of advice did they give you?
JANE SQUIRES:
Stand my ground. The camaraderie with the tobacco companies and the auctioneers and the ticket markers is wonderful. But I wanted to be able to leave the sale and go to my room, because I traveled. I was never at home on the market, until last year, and leave it behind me. It's hard for a lot of auctioneers to do [that]. It was't that hard for me to do, because I was the only woman. Unless there was a woman grader or ticket marker on my market, I was in a motel, unless a man brought his wife. A lot of times men did take their . . . . . . there was usually another woman there. I wouldn't have any trouble leaving the sale. You've often heard that men talk about tobacco all night long. Have you ever heard that? The tobacco buyers and all?
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I've heard they get together and talk, but I wasn't sure it was always about tobacco.
JANE SQUIRES:
Well, probably not. But it was easy for me to detach myself from the professionalism of the sale and the camaraderie with the buyers and warehousemen. And I just did my own thing in the afternoon. I'd take classes some places or go to antique shops. I just occupied my time on those long afternoons away from home and never got too . . . . . .. I always wanted to keep a business relationship with men. I had to let them know that it was completely . . . . . .. That I was there to do a job, just like they were.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Did you have instances where it was difficult to convince them that you were there to sell tobacco and . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Well I had, like I say, to prove myself. A lot of times you'll get a new set of buyers. If you're on the same market for six or seven years you're still going to get a new set of buyers every year. Yeah, I had to prove myself every year. And tested

Page 5
and tested and tested and tested. But I got to the point that I was just used to it. The same thing happened this year. It's even going on now.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Would you care to illustrate that with an example?
JANE SQUIRES:
Opening day, this year, A buyer asked me, "Do you ever regret not being in the grading service?" I said, "No. I've never regretted it at all." I'm glad I took the avenue that I took, as far as the auction end. There are no benefits as far as long term retirement. You're self employed. That aspect of it, I probably would have done things a little differently, where I am now. Three years ago, between flue cured and burley I sold 40 million pounds. This year I'll sell six [million].
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That's a big change.
JANE SQUIRES:
I sold nineteen flue cured and twenty-one burley in '99 and this year I'll sell six million. That's a big difference.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you learned you went to Mr. . . . uhm . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Paige?
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Yes when you went to Paige, what did he say when you told him you wanted to be an auctioneer?
JANE SQUIRES:
Well, I didn't tell him that. I had gone to Kentucky to work for Mr. Ben Crane, who at that time ran Fourth Street and Gentry Warehouses in Lexington. He had an employee that ran his leaf account who took and interest in me in Mullins [SC], which is my home market (the market closest to me) and that's where I met Paige. Paige was very patient with me. A lot of auctioneers do not like auctioneers to come into the warehouse. He was very patient with me and certainly was never job threatened. [And] actually was tickled, in fact that I was there to listen to him. His style was so calm and disiplined. I had heard so many, he was just smooth and to the point, with a melodic chant. He was kind. A lot of auctioneers were boysterious and had to put on a big show. Well, that's great, but that doesn't sell the tobacco. And I just learned a lot from him as far as the . . . . . .. I liked his sense of style when he sold. I don't think I can really say that I copied him because I certainly don't sound like him. But I did admire him, still do.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You said a lot, "a lot of auctioneers feel like they have to put on a big show," what do you mean by that?
JANE SQUIRES:
Well it's like their on stage anyway. It's like you've got to perform pretty much. Some are real flamboyant and others get the job done and are not as flamboyant. I chose to have a clear smooth chant. My voice carries pretty good. I just never had

Page 6
to do all that extra stuff. I never thought it was [necessary]. You can be witty. That helps, especially when the sale is monotonous. You can be witty, but I just never . . . . . . the real flamboyancy never really did a lot for me. I never saw the tobacco sell better.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You talked about when you're selling tobacco you're on stage – and I can't argue with you on that, I think you are—whose your audience?
JANE SQUIRES:
The buyers. And the farmers are in there too, and that's who you're working for. Although the warehouse pays you, you're there for the farmer. With out the farmer, the grower, you wouldn't be there anyway.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you're performing, during the sale are you primarily on the buyers or the farmers?
JANE SQUIRES:
I'm focused on the . . . . . . . . . Years ago you'd be focused on getting as much as you could out of each pile, which is still the same concept today but there is not a big price spread, like it used to be. It used to be. Used to could run numbers and really there would be just a tremendous amount of competition. It's not quite like it used to be.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Competition among the . . .?
JANE SQUIRES:
In the money. You know, the tobacco was desirable, everybody had orders for it. It wasn't a soft market. But it's changed tremendously, just in the twelve years I've been in it. And I know these other guys that have been in it fifty years, jeez! Their stories amaze me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Getting back to Mr. Roberts teaching you to auctioneer, did he sit down with you or did you just . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
No. I just followed him and if there was something he'd do, situations that would arise that I wouldn't understand, I'd ask him and he'd explain them to me. How he'd handle certain thing that may arise.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what would be an example of some of these things that come up?
JANE SQUIRES:
An example of that would be; [if] you have a pile of tobacco that brought $1.92 per pound and it was sold and it was sold to Export Leaf. The next pile brought $1.75 and the first person on that pile,to give me [a dollar] seventy-five, —which is just an example—went to Phillip Morris. The Export mans says, "Wait a minute, I've got 75 on that pile." Things like that, common sense situations that can be tricky. You've got to look out for the man that just paid top-dollar for the pile before it, even though he didn't bid on this one, he all-of-a-sudden decides, "Well, Yeah I do want that one."
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So you've got two guys bidding the same price on the same pile?

Page 7
JANE SQUIRES:
That happens all the time.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what do you do when they're both bidding the same price for the same thing?
JANE SQUIRES:
That's when you go . . . . . . the whole sale is allocated. That's when go to an average of what they've bought in years, two or three years prior. But now there is a spread . . . . . .
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Could you explain that a little bit further, because I don't think there are a lot of people who would understand that. So explain it to someone who doesn't know the allocation [system]. And you have guys bidding the same price on the same pile of tobacco.
JANE SQUIRES:
Well you would think in the auction system, the person who bid a dollar more would get the pile. If it is a situation where there is a set price and they don't have any more than that on it, [the buyer's] orders are to pay "X" amount and no more. And the other company has that same order. You have to make a decision based on a – which is the way I was taught to do it—based on an average of [how much tobacco] has purchased in the past. A two or three year average, and divide it up accordingly. Say, if you've got the manufactures, for instance, Phillip Morris may get 40%, Reynolds may get 10%. Lorilard may get 10. Brown and Williamson may get 20 and the rest would be divided up among dealers.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK, so you've got this pile of tobacco and everybody is bidding $1.75. Who do you give it to? Who do you sell it to?
JANE SQUIRES:
It depends on what the one before it brought.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK, so you used that example where Export paid $1.90 for a pile.
JANE SQUIRES:
Then he gets the next one at 75.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK.
JANE SQUIRES:
Because he would be what we call, "in the hole"
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, I've had people tell me about take-outs
JANE SQUIRES:
Right, that would be his "take-out" pile.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I was under the impression, if everybody was bidding $1.90 for this pile of tobacco and this one guy bids $1.95 and that kind of throws the rotation system out. How does that effect you sale?

Page 8
JANE SQUIRES:
The highest bidder gets it every time and if someone throws 95, and its all bringing 90. And some jumps it to 95, he of course gets that one. Everybody will probably follow suit and bid [95]. You're going to go back to him frequently, because he has raised [the price of] that whole crop. He was the first to jump it . That's the way it should be. A lot of people don't do it like that., but that's just common math to me. And that's the way it should be done. You're going to reward somebody that's gonna raise [the price] of the whole crop. On my sale he's going to get quite a bit more than everyone else. I learned that . . . . . . that's the kind of thing Paige taught me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
How did he react to you when you told him you wanted to be an auctioneer?
JANE SQUIRES:
Paige? He was probably one of the few in the tobacco business that did not try to discourage me. Now there were several but well over 90% tried to discourage me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
It does seem like such a "good ole boys" group and the stories they tell about people living high, fast and furious, so . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
When I was on the road, especially in Kentucky, I would get as suite in a different building from everybody else. I usually stayed with the men who brought their wives, with the couples. For instance, in Georgia, if we were all in a hotel I'd stay on the opposite floor. So I could have my privacy and all. But it was never a problem with the "man-woman thing." In that situation, the problem with the "man-woman thing" was, "Why in the world would a woman want to be a tobacco auctioneer to begin with?" That's what I've had to over come.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You've had to explain yourself many times?
JANE SQUIRES:
Many times.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
For folks who don't understand tobacco auctioneering, if you could explain what you do when you walk on to the sales floor. As if I don't know anything at all about selling tobacco, could you explain that?
JANE SQUIRES:
I made it a habit, early on, to look at the tobacco when I first get to work, so there won't be any surprises for me. That comes from years of selling tobacco when it was allocated. You wanted to get the sale a little bit straight in your head as to that you're up against that day. I did. I still do that. I still walk the floor, most of it, before I sell it. You line up, the buyers on one side, of course. The auctioneer is behind the warehouse man. Behind me would be some one who hands tickets, which is some one who works for the warehouse, as well, and then the ticket marker. The warehouse man, the person in front of me (I've had women warhouse men too) the person in front of me, starts the tobacco at a price and the sale begins. Hopefully, you're always anticipating the first crop. Everyday that I sell I always hope that that day is better than the one before.

Page 9
And you just try to talk them into it, now.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But they set a price, say this pile of tobacco is going for $1.75 a pound. The warehouse man starts the . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
The warehouse man will say, "75." And then you start your chant at 75. And work with your numbers until somebody gives you a starting price. He may start you on 75 and the buyer may want to pay 75 for it. If you have a real good warehouse man that's what he'll do. He'll know exactly with in a few cents. But I've had warehouse men, before, that started every pile at top money. And that's a work out. But I liked it. It never bothered me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So the warehouseman puts a price out. Let's say this [chooses an object on the desk] is our pile of tobacco. And I say, "$1.75" and you would?
JANE SQUIRES:
[Auctions] Just [auction] until somebody bids.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK, but what about catching the bids from the buyers, how does that work?
JANE SQUIRES:
You know, it's all hand motion, usually. Some bid other ways but mostly its very simple ot figure out that. It's never a problem, once you get the hang of that.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Ok, so they've started the pile of tobacco for 75 and you cry 75 and somebody throws out their hand, then?
JANE SQUIRES:
He does that and he's on 75. That would be 65.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
If he holds his hand down that would be . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
65.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What if he . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Way up would be 85.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK, so how they move their hands [signifies the bid].
JANE SQUIRES:
He starts it at 75 and [the buyer] bids, that would be 80
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What, if he clinches his fist and puts it up?
JANE SQUIRES:
What would be 80. That would be 70.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Down?

Page 10
JANE SQUIRES:
That would be 76.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
One finger up would be 76.
JANE SQUIRES:
From 75, from 80 that would be 81.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So if you started off and 75 and a guy holds up his clinched fist?
JANE SQUIRES:
That's 80.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That jumps it to 80. And if someone else was to hold up one finger, they'd be bidding for 81?
JANE SQUIRES:
After he bid the 80, exactly.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
OK. So you're scanning the line of buyers to see their signs. And they have hand signals that indicate [the amount of their bids]. Could you explain those for me?
JANE SQUIRES:
It's pretty much like sign language.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Ok.
JANE SQUIRES:
Zero [is a] fist.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
A clinched fist.
JANE SQUIRES:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Or , 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. Depending on where he starts. If he started it at 80 and [the buyer] wanted to bid 79, that's 79.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So [the buyer] would hold four fingers down to indicate that it was . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
79, because that [holding 4 fingers up] would be 84.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Ok, so the position they [hold their fingers indicates the amount of the bid.] Is that standard hand signals?
JANE SQUIRES:
It's universal.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I've often heard about buyers that have sort of private signals.
JANE SQUIRES:
I always tell then not to play "hide the bid from the auctioneer."
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Is that something that . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Some people like to be, some buyers had their own style, which was fine. And it may take a day or two to get used to that buyer. Especially the "old school" buyer.

Page 11
But I'd rather have . . . well I can't say that. I love my young buyers too. But it's a pleasure to work with a group of seasoned tobacco buyers that have impeccable mechanics. It's a pleasure. But it's such a rarity now days.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You say they have impeccable mechanics?
JANE SQUIRES:
The sale mechanics of their bidding is like second nature to them. They don't have to stop and think, they're walking the whole time. Never second guess themselves. A seasoned buyer is such a joy. But there are some young buyers that great too. I have too now that I wouldn't trade for anything. They're young but they want to keep their jobs so they had to be a little bit better than average.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Do you ever have disputes?
JANE SQUIRES:
All the time.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Tell me about some of those.
JANE SQUIRES:
Not so many this year, on a year like this. I've had many disputes in the past, when tobacco was tight and it was allocated. [They were] daily. With each company, daily.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You say you have a dispute, about what? How does . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
The buyers questioning why I would knock tobacco the way I did. Especially when I first started, not so much any more. The first two or three years [the buyers would ask] "Explain that to me." [or] "Who taught you that?" That went on for a couple of years but I don't get questioned too much any more. But disputes are good. I always liked my sale when my man, that was buying for Phillip Morris and my man that was buying for Export [Tobacco] were not best friends. I always liked it when there was a little bit of tension between those two. I really liked it when there was a little bit of tension between all of them.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And why is that?
JANE SQUIRES:
The competition on sale was better. Tobacco bought more. If you're buying with all of your friends, [they'll say] "Oh you can have that one." Or, "Oh, do you need that one?" I don't like a sale like that. I like [the buyers to say] "It's mine!" And [as a rule] they are going to pay more for it if they see their competition wanting it just as much. So I always liked when they were friends, but not best friends.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But when they would confront you with something like that, "Why did you sell that to him?" "Where did you learn that?" How did handle the disputes?
JANE SQUIRES:
I always tried to have the way it was supposed to be done (which is what I learned from Paige). And there were times that I've been wrong. There were times I have

Page 12
been wrong. But I would admit when I was wrong and that always made it easier. If you're wrong and you try to cover it up, these guys know. I try not to make too many mistakes any more.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
[Laughter] I can't see how that would be a habit to begin with. But when you say you're wrong, what kind of mistake could you make?
JANE SQUIRES:
Let's see what comes to mind. Like I say I try not to make that many. I made one in Danville [VA] one time, [at the tobacco auctioneer championship in Danville.] a dire mistake. Let me think of what it was. We had several, must have been eight or ten buyers, and say, for instance, somebody bid 75 and he said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, I want that." And I said, "OK, can anybody else use it at 75?" And one other buyer said, "I've got 65 on it." I said, "Ok." Well the guy that originally bought it at 75 said, "Well I had 65. I just don't have 75." Well, you can always go up. But once the pile of tobacco is yours it goes to somebody else at a lower price, you can't come down. You can raise your pile. I made that mistake one time, in front of about 25,000 people. I never made it again.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That's good. Somebody said mistakes are educational things.
JANE SQUIRES:
[Laughter] I know. I never made it again.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
This man gave you the impression the impression he was bidding $1.75?
JANE SQUIRES:
He bought the pile and then he said, "No I can't use it. I can't use it." So I offered the pile to anybody else. The next man in line said "I've got 65 on it." And I said, "Ok, 65." Well this buyer that originally had it at 75 said, "Well I had 65 on it." So I said, which was wrong, -never done it again- I told the guy, "He had it originally [for 75], I'm going to go ahead and give it to him for 65." A big mistake!
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What did they say?
JANE SQUIRES:
They said, "No no! Big mistake." That's really the one that sticks out in my mind. It cost me a bunch of money. [Laughter] It really did. It was a terrible mistake. I'd never been faced with that before. I thought, I was taught when somebody buys that pile, it's his to do with what he wants to. If he raises it, it can't come down. It goes to some one else's option.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So it should have gone to the guy who bid 65 on it. And the man who decided he didn't want it would have been out of luck?
JANE SQUIRES:
Exactly. Just small things like that are a big deal when the buyers have all their supervision in there and all their bosses are watching.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
The "Circuit Riders?" [Tobacco company officials who supervise the buyers.]

Page 13
JANE SQUIRES:
I made that mistake years ago. I never made that again.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Was it easy to go back to work?
JANE SQUIRES:
Oh yeah, it was easy. That was in the contest. That was the one they threw at me in the contest. That's why I say it was in front of 25,000 people.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh so it wasn't on a real sale?
JANE SQUIRES:
It wasn't in a real sale, but I've had that in the sale since then. And knew exactly how to handle it. As a matter of fact, I had it last week.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Tell me about that.
JANE SQUIRES:
The same situation. He said, "I can't pay 75 for it." Well, it wasn't 75, actually it was 94. I asked if anybody else had that and one of my buyers said, "I've got 85 on it." And I said, "Ok." Well the man that originally bid 94 said, "I've got 85." I said, "You can keep it at 94, but you can't have it at 85. It's his option." They never questioned me. The just wanted to see what I'd say.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Because you're woman did they try and mess with you? Or challenge you more?
JANE SQUIRES:
Some buyers did. Some buyers did, through the years some have. I can probably count those on one hand. Over all they've been very accepting. But there were always some. Always.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You were talking about the tobacco being on allocation. Explain that, if you don't mind.
JANE SQUIRES:
That's when it is all bringing the same price. Usually the good quality and the poor quality. It's a division situation, just like we talked about earlier, where there is no price difference and you just divide it up. It hasn't been like that in a few years. You might get into some crops that are allocated but there hasn't been a ration crop in several years.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You say allocation, is that the Department of Agriculture decides that?
JANE SQUIRES:
That would be the cigarette manufactures, I think. I don't know that. I would think they would set those prices, I think. But I'm not sure. That's not my end of it.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But all the tobacco is going for the same price and you have to ration it out? Is that what you said?
JANE SQUIRES:
That's what we're talking about, doing it on an average.

Page 14
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
How much homework do you do before you start the sale?
JANE SQUIRES:
I don't do any any more. When I was working in the burly, and it was rationed, I'd spent two to three hours a night, getting my percentages straight in my head. But I don't have to do that anymore.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you say getting the percentages straight in your head?
JANE SQUIRES:
I call to see how many pounds we were going to sell. If we were going to sell 650,000 pounds I would know—I could pretty much gauge my rotation, per company, on 650, or 500,000, or 350 whatever we were selling at that time. And, no I wouldn't count piles, I wouldn't have to do that but I would have to have them with-in a percent. I'm glad its not like that any more.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You said you'd do your rotation, explain that. I mean these are things you have worked with for so long that they are second nature to you . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Right, but we don't have a rotation system anymore. This was when tobacco was all bringing the same price and the older auctioneers just cringe, because it's not really an auction system, when it's like that. It really isn't. It's more of a mediator that divides it up. But that's what we talked about going on a percentage. You just divide it up according to what they've bought in past years.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So like if Dibrell Brothers has bought 30% of the tobacco in . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
The past three years, I would do everything I could to give them 30% of the rationed crop. They probably wouldn't get 30 but they'd get close to it.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And wen did that start?
JANE SQUIRES:
I was just trying to think. I started . . . the allocation system, it seemed like it was'90, 91, 92. The first years I really got into the burley it was allocated.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So that would have been about ten years ago?
JANE SQUIRES:
Yes.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And how has it changes since then?
JANE SQUIRES:
We haven't had a situation like that, I don't know, maybe there was one in the late 90's. I'm trying to think of the last time I had to really really work at that division. I think it's been several years. The crop, they're just not buying like their used to.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Does what you do change from, like flue cured [tobacco] to burly [tobacco]?

Page 15
JANE SQUIRES:
Yes.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
How does it change?
JANE SQUIRES:
Since we've gone to bales in the flue cured it's sold as quickly as the burley is now. Similar, same same process, of course. It seems like to me that the last two years I've been in the burly, a little bit more of it has sold than has the flue cured this year.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you say "a little bit" you mean it just sells more . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Sold to the company as opposed to going back to the government.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh the Stabilization CO-OP?
JANE SQUIRES:
She I worked for the stabilization house this year. We just walk over a lot of tobacco that is not bought, when in years past the quality of what I'm selling this year would have sold for top money.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So its just not selling as much. Well, you talked earlier about so auctioneers put on a big show and act real flamboyant . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah and that's great, because you want a lot of diversified, different people and all. I certainly wasn't being derogatory. I love to watch an auctioneer that put on a big show. It's just not my style.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But I was going to ask, what do you do to assert your authority?
JANE SQUIRES:
I never really had to do anything, because I'm going to get their attention anyway. They are going to be [asking], " Can she do it or not?" I always had that edge because there was enough curiosity on the other side of the row, to want to see if I could do it. So I never had to, "OK," be like disciplinarian. I never had that trouble with the authority part. Because, luckily I've had some fantastic buyers.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But are there any subtle things you would do to establish yourself? And I say this from earlier they were talking about an auctioneer who always wore a pin-striped suite and . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
I wear a hat. I've never sold tobacco with out a hat.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What kind of hat?
JANE SQUIRES:
Either a ball cap or a straw hat in the summer, or a felt fedora in the winter.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Is that kind of a trade-mark for you?

Page 16
JANE SQUIRES:
Pretty much, because I don't like for my hair to get in my way. So the hats always cured the long hair. But I don't thing I've ever sold a sale without a hat on.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Any thing else that you might do to distinguish yourself? I mean, being a woman that's certainly [distinctive].
JANE SQUIRES:
That was usually enough.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
[Laughter]
JANE SQUIRES:
You know. That was always enough. If I got my foot in the door, after I was usually home free. But there were some people that just didn't want a woman [auctioneer].
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh, I can imagine.
JANE SQUIRES:
A lot of people.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I can imagine, 'cause you are talking with some of the more conservative people on the face of the planet.
JANE SQUIRES:
Conservative! As a matter of fact I was in a burly market last year, for the first time and I thought that all of that, to be sure in the year 2001 had changed. This was last year and I said, "I just know, that never will this happen again." But last year I had it happen again in Weston, Missouri.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what happened?
JANE SQUIRES:
"We don't want a woman to sell tobacco. Can you bring somebody else?" and I'd all ready flown in.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Now was this the warehouse?
JANE SQUIRES:
Yes.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
The warehouse man?
JANE SQUIRES:
And the farmers.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, I was going to ask, it seems like you've managed to establish a good reputation for yourself with the buyers fairly quickly. What about the farmers?
JANE SQUIRES:
Farmers, over all, have been more open minded than any other group. Depending on the market. Georgia accepted me very well. I worked in Georgia for so long. And of course my home state [South Carolina]. I started in North Carolina, with the flue-cured, so they were always good to me here. I had a little trouble in Maryland.

Page 17
They didn't want a woman. And that really hasn't happened to me in years, until I went to Missouri this year.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Yes .
JANE SQUIRES:
And my response, it really took me by surprise because it has been so long since I've been faced with that. I was very calm. I said, "I understand completely. If you would like for me to sell until you get someone else here, that's fine. If you want me to sell around and let the farmers hear me, that's fine. If you want me to go to lunch, I'll go now." And that was at 9:00 in the morning. So they had a little meeting and said, "The farmers want to hear you." I sold two rows and ended up staying all day.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That must have been very satisfying . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
It was humiliating at first, but then after that, everything was fine.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Did that happen more regularly when you first started?
JANE SQUIRES:
It hadn't happened in a lot time. But it happened a lot when I first started.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That must have been pretty disheartening.
JANE SQUIRES:
Actually, I tried to find the humor in it. That was the only way I could get through it. [Laughter]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And did you manage to do that?
JANE SQUIRES:
Just kept telling myself "They'll wish one day they'd let me sell it." Or, Hmmm, OK." I probably could have . . . . . . Had I let it worry me I would have quit a long time ago. But I tried not to ever let it bother me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, it's great that you've hung in there and stuck it out.
JANE SQUIRES:
I think they thought, at first, I was as novelty. And when they realized ("they" meaning buyers, warehouse men and farmers) when they realized I wasn't in it for the novelty part of it, everything kind of worked out.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And once you demonstrated what you could do they . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
I've often had to demonstrate before [they've let me auction tobacco]. Which is Ok. A lot of times you have to, which is just like filling out a resume. I never ever mind giving a chant, or a trial run or anything. Now I've been faced before with looking for a job and, luckily, have not had to look for one for a long time. Jobs did come fairly easily to me after I first got started. So other auctioneers didn't want you to come into their warehouse and sell. But again, I'll do the 90%-10%. 90% of

Page 18
them welcomed me with opened arms and 10% said "no way." As a matter of fact one said to me one time, "I'll be in a wheelchair, on oxygen before she sells tobacco behind me."
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, I was going to say, auctioneers are kind of territorial and competitive, so it seems like the idea of a woman could really threaten these guys.
JANE SQUIRES:
And I never set out to be a threat. I just wanted to have my little market, get paid the same thing the guys got paid, when I felt like I was as good as the men. That's all I ever wanted
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Did you have difficulty getting the same pay?
JANE SQUIRES:
Yes.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
They felt like they could pay you less?
JANE SQUIRES:
Still feel like that.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Why?
JANE SQUIRES:
In 2002, and yes to both those questions.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What happen when you're confronted with the pay differentiation like that?
JANE SQUIRES:
I would get it straight before I sign my contract. But repeatedly they would try. Because I would know. If I was going into a job, usually the auctioneer there before me was a friend of mine. I would know what the salary was. Never, except o one market, have always tried to under cut me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well I can't say that I surprised by that statement. I'm sort of disappointed.
JANE SQUIRES:
It is dissapointing, but it's a fact of life. And I just learn to live with it and fight hard and get the same pay scale, or more. [Laughter]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Hats off for you to that.
JANE SQUIRES:
Thanks. It took me along time. But I was bound and determined. When I was doing the same job, I wanted the same pay.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
As they say, "Right on!" That's great. But we've talked about the differences in selling flue cured and burly and you said there wasn't really that much. Do you think there are subtle differences in like the people who raise the flue cured and the burly. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think burly tends to come from smaller farms?

Page 19
JANE SQUIRES:
Oh yeah, much smaller farms.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And what kind of difference does that make in the warehouse?
JANE SQUIRES:
You know its our livelihood at home, like it is here. But in a place like rural Kentucky, it's all they have. There is not a whole lot of middle class in Kentucky. There's the upper elite and the poverty level, there's not a whole lot in between. And the small farmers they have to have tobacco to survive. They have to. You see many more of the burley farmers in the warehouse, like you used to the flue-cured farmers. They stick by their crop to the end, the selling process. They stay with it pretty much, a little bit more attentively. I don't know if it's as labor intensive as the flue-cured is. Usually when you're selling some at market . . . . . .
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You were talking about in Kentucky, where the burly [is grown on] lot smaller farms and in the flue-cured you don't have . . . was I correct in understanding you when you said you don't have as many farmers in the warehouse?
JANE SQUIRES:
I don't see the farmers in the warehouse like I used to. When I was in Dunn [NC], when I first started and then in Georgia all those years, and it maybe because there are not as many farmers left. But I can remember opening day, the governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, three television stations, the AP [Associated Press], everybody [would be there] opening day. It's not like that any more.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
How does that affect your performance, when there is not . . . . . ..
JANE SQUIRES:
It doesn't. I'm focused on seeing how much the tobacco can bring. Especially on a year like this and I'm on my home market and every crop I sell is someone that lives with in ten miles of me. So these are my neighbors, people I grew-up with. A lot of them are my age. A lot of them are my father's age, their children, and some my dad's age are still farming. So I know all the farmers. It's not like being in Georgia. Where I grew up with these people I'm selling their tobacco now.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So knowing the farmers that you're selling for, how does that effect . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
On a situation, like this year, where it's not bringing what we had hoped, it's terrible. It's a sad situation. I see these guys in town. I see them at church. I see then at the grocery store and then I see them at the warehouse, occasionally. Of course I want them to get them top money for it. Because for years they wanted me to come to the home market, anyway. And I chose to stay in Georgia. But they know, I think they know, I'm doing the best I can. You can only do so much. I can't say, "Look Phillip Morris, buy it."

Page 20
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I was just wondering if that kind of determination, in connection to the home crew affected . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
I think its probably made me a little more determined, because I'm selling among my neighbors.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And does that determination, how does that manifest itself in your chant?
JANE SQUIRES:
The buyers don't like a long winded auctioneer that stops on every crop and gives you a run down of who the farmer is. You don't have time for all that. I'll throw into the chant, "This came off of our farm." "Help me where you can." Or "This is my neighbor, help him where you can." I have two lady farmers that farm on the next county over. I'll say, "These are two women farmers, farming completely by themselves. Help them if you can." And they do what they can. That's all I do. But I do try and personalize it a little bit, when it's my neighbors. A lot of people don't want to work their home market. I chose to this year, because the pounds are so low, everywhere, the commute would save me on expenses. See, I'm just ten or twelve miles from my warehouse.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
It's nice to be able to be at home.
JANE SQUIRES:
As opposed to being in Georgia all week.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you say that a lot of people don't want to work their home market, why do you say that?
JANE SQUIRES:
Pressure. Pressure from farmers, pressure form the growers.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Because there's that connection they sort of [expect more].
JANE SQUIRES:
Right. They expect help and a lot of times you just can't give it.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That's one of the things that interests me is the auctioneer is on stage performing and it seems like you have more than one audience to perform for. Is that . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
Well, no. The reason I use that is I told you I'm a singer. I'm in a band and when we perform we perform as a group. We want the whole harmony, we want the group to be harmonious. No one stands out among any other. We don't have a lead singer, we all sing. On an auction you are the lead singer. But you performing for the man that grew it. 'Cause if he's not happy, he's going to take it somewhere else.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Isn't there some [regulation] where you have to designate where they sell?

Page 21
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah, they have to designate, but you can still pull it from one house and take a two-week, fifteen-day break and then re-designate. And that happens and of course that devastates you when that happens. It doesn't happen to me very often but it does happen.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
But the performance, you don't find yourself and when I say performing I mean being a little more flamboyant for the farmer?
JANE SQUIRES:
No. I've never had to be flamboyant. Just seeing a woman in the line up is flamboyant enough.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
[Laughter]
JANE SQUIRES:
Believe me.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh I can.
JANE SQUIRES:
[Laughter] Believe me. No I'm not flamboyant at all, but I'm very clear, my voice carries and it's a fun job.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Every auctioneer I've talked to says that.
JANE SQUIRES:
It's been so good to me I hate to see it end. It's been a really good job.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
There's a gentleman down in eastern North Carolina, named Robert E. Lee?
JANE SQUIRES:
Robert E. Lee I know him well. He died.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
No!
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah Robert died.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh man! I'm sorry to hear that. I interviewed him about ten years ago.
JANE SQUIRES:
A very nice man. He died last year.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Oh man I'm sorry. He said, "I can't wait to go to work."
JANE SQUIRES:
He was a great man.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
"My job is just that much fun. I can't wait to go to work."
JANE SQUIRES:
He was one of the ones that always welcomed me when I walked into his warehouse and I did the same when he came into mine.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What kind of interchange do you have with the auctioneers? When you're at a

Page 22
warehouse do you ever fill in for somebody or just sort of make a guest appearance?
JANE SQUIRES:
I do that some times and I always like it when some come into my house. I'll let anybody sell as long as it's Ok with my warehouse owner. This year it's a little different, since we're working for the CO-OP. I had an auctioneer in my house Thursday and I asked the CO-OP representative if minded if I let him sell some. He said, "That's fine." So he took a row. There are a lot of auctioneers that never would let me sell.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
When you let some one sell a row like that, do they get paid for what they sell or is it just kind of complementary?
JANE SQUIRES:
No, its just a comp. And it's really a nice gesture, when another auctioneer is standing in there, to offer for them to sell some. I'd always do it. About half ask me if I want to and about half don't. The ones that are job threatened don't. The ones that know they are secure of their job happy and good people. [They say,] "Come on in here Jane and sell some." The ones that are scared of losing their job never open their mouth.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, what makes a good auctioneer?
JANE SQUIRES:
Clear chant. Level headed. Got to have a compassion for the grower. You need to get along with your warehouseman. You don't necessarily have to get along with all the buyers, but it does help.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
How so?
JANE SQUIRES:
Well, I'm sure there are some buyers that don't like me. If everybody liked me it would be a very boring job. But I did try to get along with as many as I could. Now if one was just going to be intolerably difficult, I'd just tune him right out. And say I'm going to have him this season and deal with him and be done with it. That's the way I look at it, if I knew I was getting a buyer that had a reputation of being a trouble maker. And you get those.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
What do they do to make trouble?
JANE SQUIRES:
Nothing is ever right. [They'll] dispute everything you do. [They'll] say you missed a bid and they didn't even bid. Blame every thing on the auctioneer. And a lot of times that happens. It doesn't happen much any more, but it happened in the past. Usually I know I can make it one season with anybody. I never had that many that I didn't like.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I was going to ask, if this guy is constantly disputing and slowing down the sale, how does that go over with the other buyers?
JANE SQUIRES:
They get enough of it too and say, "Please just do your job." But that's the kind

Page 23
of person that would make waves in any job he had. Not just on the tobacco sale. You know there people like that everywhere you go.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I'm afraid so.
JANE SQUIRES:
It's just on a tobacco sale they're a little more animated I think. They're out in the open. They're not behind a desk. They're not in a classroom. Which to me is a lot like being on stage, being in a classroom.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Yeah, you've got the show off and the class-clown. Well what about some of the other auctioneers. You've talked Robert E. Lee. Who are some of the other auctioneers that standout in your mind as being impressive, either really good or really bad? But about the good ones first.
JANE SQUIRES:
Paige [Roberts] has been an exceptional friend to me and a good auctioneer. Billy Clark, the late Billy Clark.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
He's down in Greenville [NC].
JANE SQUIRES:
Was, he's dead also. A tremendous person. A fantastic auctioneer. Just a great man. Sandy Houston, who was also a world champion auctioneer and a very good friend of mine. A super auctioneer.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
I met Sandy awhile back.
JANE SQUIRES:
Walter. Those are some of the ones that are just a bright spot in my life. That have been helpful and kind and never job threatened.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Somebody told me that the auctioneer has to take control of the sale, is that right?
JANE SQUIRES:
Pretty much. You're the verbal part of the sale so you have the last say so. But there is a diplomatic way to do it, with out getting everybody in a stew. I learned that early on. You can be humble and still get the job done with authority. I never ever stood on my sale and argued with anybody. I'm just not going to do that. I never have done it and I'm not going to do it. I tried to learn every situation that I could so I wouldn't have to argue.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Tell me about the diplomacy, if you don't mind. And maybe examples.
JANE SQUIRES:
To me, and the other auctioneers that you interview may disagree completely. Of course they are not going to have anything to say like I have. To me 90% of tobacco auctioneering is just common sense. It's just black and white to me. There wasn't a whole lot of room for error once it clicked in my head what I was doing. Do you understand what I'm saying?
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Once you knew . . . . . .

Page 24
JANE SQUIRES:
Once I nailed it there was just not . . . . . . the challenge was still there, because things happen everyday. You have a different sale every day. You have different personalities with your buyers. Different personalities of your warehouseman. Your dealing with a whole different group of people. I've seen some auctioneers just get red in the face and look like they're going to have a heart attack and so mad. It's never made me that mad. I've wanted to get that mad. And I've probably gone to my room, where none of these other men have, I've gone back to my room and cried. Because the situation was not handled like was. Somebody was throwing, "You need to be home having children and washing clothes." That kind of comment. Two supervisors had given me that kind of comment one day. You get three or four things like that in one day and your feathers fall. So you go back to your room, you re-group, pick yourself up and you try it again the next day.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
You're probably the only auctioneer . . . . . .
JANE SQUIRES:
That's going to say that? [Laughs]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well you're the only one that's been challenged that way. Like I said, I think it's truly admirable for you to get out there and do that. And not only get out there and do it, but do it well. So hat's off to you for that.
JANE SQUIRES:
It's been a great job. I have no regrets. None.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well I'll ask you two more questions then I'll turn you loose. You said the auctioneer needs to be level headed. Describe that a little bit more.
JANE SQUIRES:
Obviously when you're dealing with tobacco you're dealing with hundreds of thousands of thousands of dollars, daily. It's not your money. It's someone else's money, the farmer's money and the company's money that they're spending. You don't think of how much money you're transacting in one day. I didn't until I realize one afternoon (the tobacco was bring top money, and I'd sold 600,000 pounds) and I went home realized, "Wow. That all went through my mouth. I sold that much money in four hours." That transaction was made in four hours. Just from me and there are 70 other people doing it today. So there was so much money involved. You have to be level headed. I don't know. When I started mother just said be calm, be level headed, use good common sense good judgement and you'll be fine. And I've tried to do that. It's worked so far. There have been times –because I can be a hot-head. I like for things to go my way. I want the good jobs. I was patient a long time. But I've learned, the older I get, that everything that's happened it's all worked out beautifully. I hate to see it come to an end.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well I've heard people say that once they get a little taste of contract growing

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they'll come back to the warehouse sales system.
JANE SQUIRES:
Could be.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, I've been talk to you for the past little bit. Is there anything you want to comment on that I haven't asked about?
JANE SQUIRES:
Well, over all it's been, like I say, a wonderful experience for me. I've seen parts of the country I never would have seen. I've been to South America, I've been to Europe. (I would have done Europe anyway, without the tobacco industry.) I spent a couple of months in Argentina.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Selling tobacco down there?
JANE SQUIRES:
No I was visiting.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Representative?
JANE SQUIRES:
Right. I probably wouldn't have done that had it not been for the tobacco business. I've made some life long friends and its pushed me to realize that there's just not a whole lot I can't do. After getting over that hurdle twelve years ago, it changed my life.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
That's a big obstacle to run up against, so you're to be commended for that. Can I get you to demonstrate your chant a little?
JANE SQUIRES:
Sure.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
And if you want, pretend you're doing it for the home crowd.
JANE SQUIRES:
Are five piles enough?
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Sure.
JANE SQUIRES:
[Auctions]
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Ok, now slow that down and explain.
JANE SQUIRES:
It's just the numbers and a filler, which happens to roll off my tongue very quickly. It comes easy to me because I sell a lot of stuff other than tobacco.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
So you auction other stuff.
JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Ok.

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JANE SQUIRES:
Yeah, I sell other things too. So the chant is just in my alto voice. Which I can hold out in all day. If I change and went high, or went low to a baritone or went up high to a soprano I could probably last about an hour. But I keep it in my same a lot voice, just like I'm talking to you and [chants] then go into the chant like this. That way I can last all day. See, it's my same speaking voice.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Can you do you chant in slow motion?
JANE SQUIRES:
Everybody does it differently. I say, mine is, bring it 94, [chants slowly] 94 and then I go, what do I say? [chants]. I just do the numbers real quickly and roll the numbers, because in tobacco they're interested in numbers. They're not interested in "Hey look at this nice antique." I do a lot of work for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited and I have a lot of time to talk about prints and paintings and all of that stuff. Tobacco, they just want the numbers. [snaps fingers.] I think I say "What would you give?" real quickly.[Chants] Would you give two, that's what I say.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Do you ever incorporate any jokes?
JANE SQUIRES:
Sometimes. If the mood is right. It's a somber mood right now in the tobacco business. I have some witty buyers occasionally and there is always a lighter side, but its not like it used to be.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Some of the fun has gone out of it?
JANE SQUIRES:
A lot of the fun has gone out of it, but not all of it. It's still a fun job to me. I still love going to work. I just wish I could work more.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, maybe things will turn around.
JANE SQUIRES:
I hope so.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Thanks so much for taking the time talk with me.
JANE SQUIRES:
I've enjoyed it.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well thanks, I've enjoyed it too
JANE SQUIRES:
I've probably blown your mind.
WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well the information you've shared with me will be deposited here for research and you've signed the release form but its Ok for scholars to come back to this?
JANE SQUIRES:
Sure.

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WILLIAM MANSFIELD:
Well, thank you so much
JANE SQUIRES:
Thank you, I've enjoyed today.
END OF INTERVIEW