There will be no talk of history in this blog post. Today we’re going to talk about pop culture. Perhaps the reason you came across this post is because you were looking for information on the topic that I am about talk about. In recent years not-so-glamourous jobs have been thrust into the spotlight of reality tv. There are shows about Repo men, shows about pawn shops, shows about bounty hunters and oh yeah shows about storage auctions.
One of most popular shows in this genre is “Storage Wars” which airs on A&E. The show follows a group of bidders who go around to different storage auctions across the United States looking for hidden treasure tucked away in a storage unit. Before getting into the industry I looked at shows like this as completely legitimate but having worked here now for 6 months (I believe there have been 2 or 3 auctions in that time) I have started to question the validity of some of the finds in these units.
Apparently I was onto something.
David Hester, who was one of the star bidders on the show, has filed a lawsuit against A&E stating that the company “stages” the units that are used on the show. Saying that they add items to the units to make the auctions look more lucrative than they really are and though this has yet to be proven I am willing to accept this statement.
Now of course there will be gems in a unit every now and then but most of the time the best you will really do is maybe a really nice television, good furniture, perhaps some vintage music, or a baseball card collection but even these are rarities.
The show creates the appearance that you can expect to find something great in a storage unit at every auction which is just not the case.
Fortunately for A&E there is almost no way for Mr. Hester to prove his claims but any industry expert will tell you that the show is an exaggeration of the process and that in reality auctions very rarely make real money and very rarely will gems be found.
Some would say why would you complain if the show makes people more interested in auctions? To that I say I am not complaining, but there are some storage managers who don’t want a big audience at their auctions. It can be a messy process. After all, the things being auctioned are another person’s personal belongings. The show somewhat desensitizes people to that fact.
All that said… They do make auctions look like so much fun.