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A&E's Storage Wars TV Show - What's Your Take?

Posted 06/10/2011 02:34pm by InstAppraisal
A&E's Storage Wars TV Show - What's Your Take? image

I'm curious what you all think about the new A&E Show - "Storage Wars".  I have to say that at first I was kind of turned off from the show, but watching a few more episodes I now have to say that I'm enjoying it.  In particular I like some of the characters in the show, most notably Barry Weiss, who's known as "The Collector" and who, compared to most of the cast members, actually has some knowledge about what he's after as well as having a keen eye for spotting that elusive "collectible" or piece of "memorabilia."  The only thing frustrating is how he sometimes just tosses aside and often destroys items that he's not interested in that some of his fellow bidders would put to good use.  Also Barry's clothes, from his skeleton gloves to his "lucky socks," adds an element of fun to the show.  He has a colorful personality for an older chap - riding in on his sports motorcycle, or arriving to the show looking like Thuston Howell III in his classic Jaguar.

I absolutely loathe one of the cast members - Dave Hester and his pig call bidding and nasty mouth.  He thinks of himself as "Mr. Know It All" and the supreme expert at the art of bidding, but in reality he doesn't seem to know too much about collecting.  Dave tends to bid most often just to be able to keep one of his competitors from winning and not because he's truly interested in the contents of the locker.  Jarrod and Brandi Schulz, the new kids on the block, who run a thrift store, spend much of their time looking for items to sell.  They too are entertaining in that they compete for who made the best purchase and they try to control each other on when to stop bidding the other's bidding.  The cast is rounded out with Darrell Sheets, the self described "Gambler," who has been buying lockers for more than thirty two years.

As far as actually making money in bidding on abandoned storage facilities, the show's premise, I doubt that you'll come away as successful as some of these guys (and girls) do.  I've heard that the show's popularity has turned bidding on storage lockers into a circus and that you now have too many people showing up who don't know what they're doing and end up driving the price up for everyone.

The show reminds me of going to Vegas and gambling.  In 99% of the cases it seems to be a complete gamble as to what you'll get in the storage container.  Sometimes you can eye a few notable items that you may have a good idea of value, but that's most often not the case.  That small percentage of the time you can end up with the treasure chest of collectibles, but you will more often end up with a sack of someone's old laundry or just pure junk.  At any rate, the show is entertaining, a bit because of the item's found, but more so for the characters on the show and seeing how they all interact with each other and try and outdo each other - in bids, flash, and good 'ol street smarts.

You can learn more about A&E's Storage Wars here

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Lovejoy's picture
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Submitted by Lovejoy on

I watch the show on a regular basis and am amazed at how little any of them know what anything is ;~) . You'd think if you were dealing with storgae compartemnts full of excess household contents on a daily basis they'd develop some kind of basic general knowledge.

I know from people who run storgae faclities that anyone whose been having problems paying they tend to clear the lcoker of anything good if they plan to skip on the rent.

The best lockers are the ones where the former renter has passed on unexpectantly, but even then you are dealing with items the owner deemed "Surplus" and not worthy of storage in their own home.

The next best lockers are those used by Contractors who have gone out of business, they seldom contain anything but industrial grade tools, which even in this depressed market are fairly easy to flip and make a profit if you get the locker at a decent price.

presleyh's picture
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Submitted by presleyh on

I think there is a lot of liberty taken with the truth on this show.  Its a bit hard to believe that so many very valuable items are just left in a a $50.00 a month storage room.  I have bought storage rooms when I knew the value of the items beforehand.  I have never known anyone to buy a storage locker and find thousands of dollars worth of silver coins, or ten thousand dollars worth of sports memorabilia.  My initial reaction was that people will come out of the woodwork to bid on these things, and that is happening.  It will fade away when people realize that its just old clothes and washing machines that don't work.  Also anybody who bids "just to run the other guy up"  is not a very smart bidder.  I prevent that from happening by brisking bidding up to the amount I wll pay and then abruptly stopping.  Anything else is just playing games and will get you burned in the long run.  If there are items in my line of business that are "seized" by storage companies around here, they call me and sell directly to me.  Its legal, they own it, and they don't have to pay an auctioneer. I think American Pickers is also unbelievable for the most part.  Why would these guys drive a thousand miles and find a treasure trove of collectables and just buy 4 or 5 items? I would offer the toddering old folks ten thousand for the whole lot and bring in a moving van.  One more strange thing is a camel back steamer trunk seems to have appeared on Pickers, Pawn Stars and was restored by the guy on American Restorations.   It really looked like the same trunk, so I'm thinking the shows are somehow entertwined behind the scene.  I like to watch them all, just wish they didn't rerun them 15 times a week.

BoosterGold's picture
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I'm sure the  law varies from state to state but in most places a storage company can't just open up a unit and piece things out for sale, regardless of how much money they are owed. The property remains in ownership of the person who rented the unit until it is sold at a public auction. The storage company has to get a lein against the property and have it sold at auction, they can't just pick thru it themselves, but as I said the law probably varies from state to state.

Out of all the auction shows Storage Wars feels fairly real. For starters you can look up the buisnesses owned by Brandi and Jerrod, and Dave Hester online, they are real and existed before the show started. The acutioneers are real, they were actually on Family Feud about 10 years ago, and they talked on the show about being auctioneers and Dan gave a demonstation of his fast talking. The people on the show aren't actors. Unlike what someone else in this thread said, there are quite a few bids being placed by people other then the stars on the show, when ever you see a bid placed with no name next to it, thats someone not on the show. You'll even see other peopleplacing bids. The items found in the units seem legit to me based on what people I know who do this for a living have told me. The thing to remember is, not every unit is that good, if they showed a bunch of loser units people wouldn't watch, so mostly they're showing the good stuff and editing out lockers that the stars don't win, or just don't have interesting stuff in them. People do leave a lot of very nice, and valuable items in storage units. It won't happen with every unit, but there are plenty that do.Checkout 's channel on youtube, he was in the business of buying storage units for a number of years and gives advice to people who want to do it. He talks about the realities both good and bad of what you will find, how hard you have to work to do it, and about the stuff he's found both good and bad.

Charley's picture
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Submitted by Charley on

I've heard from some people that have been buying lockers for many years that this show has killed their business.  Now you have way too many people show up who don't know what they're doing and end up bidding on lockers that aren't worth anything and driving the price way up.

One thing I've noticed about the show is that in some of the more recent episodes you'll see the crowds have increased significantly compared to the earlier episodes.  I think some of the recent shows have been taped in the last few months.  There have got to be at least 40+ people standing around to bid on the lockers, but it always seems that the main characters on Storage Wars are the ones who are doing the bidding.  I don't understand how that's possible.  Is it a setup for the show?  Nobody else appears to bid, at least not towards the end, and certainly not winning a locker.  I've only see one other guy come in and win a locker in the end - some newbe who ended up being part of the show.

Anyways, I'm still enjoying the show, even though it's clear that nobody knows what they're doing.  Definitely a Vegas crapshoot and it's funny to hear them actually state - "I have to get a locker today" and they bid on something not because of anything they see with potential, but simply because they want a roll of the dice.

Lovejoy's picture
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Submitted by Lovejoy on

It's television, and likely a lot of it is staged for effect, editied to to fit the 43 minutes of actual air time ;~). I too have noticed the increase in the size of the crowds, could be some are just "Lookers", like you finad at any auction.

masterosok's picture
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Not that I don't believe that certain elements of the show are scripted... It would make sense that they would edit out the lockers that the main players don't win. As those lockers probably don't have much value and the winner isn't obligated to show you what is inside. I certainly don't want intrigue built up for a locker that I never get to see the insides of.

Curt a.'s picture
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Submitted by Curt a. on

Yep it has ruined the biz, many people buying junk And raising what used to be a fair investment hoping to strike it rich.  Kinda slowing down ow since the new has worn off!!!  Oh,dave Harris (I think that's his name) left the show and claimed they were seeding the units to keep it interesting ....

mfa1969's picture
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Submitted by mfa1969 on

Hello all!  New to this website, but I like it a lot.  I bid on storage lockers mainly because I have always had an interest in it and it can actually be fairly profitable if you are careful and know what to look for.  I am fairly new to the game, but the TV shows have had very little influence on me doing it.  A lot of time, people that are interested in the auctions (because of the TV shows) show up for them, bid big $$$ on one unit and get nothing (unfortunate for them). Orm they get very little return for their money.  Those people never seem to come back.  I think it is all about consistentcy and being realistic.  The auction show's tend to exaggerate the reality of the business and it hurts a lot of people's wallets.  I go with a budget, and usually stick to it.  I am a gambler by nature, so that side of it keeps me intrigued in it.  However, I also know when to fold (for the most part....lol). Plus, my wife keeps me in check money wise so I try not to tick Mamma off.

As far as Storage Wars goes, I like the show.  I do not like Dave Hester at all!  He is a jerk but I also think a lot of it is for the show dynamics.  What irks me is that his Father was a United States Marine, someone with honor (presumably), and he is the total opposite of that.  There was an episode where Dave was talking about model trains (he had found some in a unit), and how he and his Father would play with them.  He talked about how they were poor growing up and that he is running his business in his Father's memory.  Way to honor you Dad, Dave!  Being an auction "Bully" and hurting the others by bidding them up when you aren't interested.  But I digress.

Anyhow's, I have just recently moved away from San Diego, CA. and the show actually covers quite a bit of southern California.  The Auctioneer, Dan (I believe) runs a lot of the auctions in the SoCal area.  I had a friend who's father had gone to an auction in LA where they happened to be filming the show.  His son told me that the show (at least in the beginning) had went out and gathered people up to fill out the crowd so it made it look busier than it was.  Now the show has a lot of looky-lou's because it is popular.  I am not sure of the vericity of this but it would not surprise me.  It is all about ratings after all.

There is another show called "Auction Hunter's" that is pretty good also.  It is about two guys, Allen and Ton, who buy units.  What I like about this show is that at the beginning, they actually have a disclaimer of sorts.  It states that Haff and Jones purchase hundreds of units each year, and that only their rarest and most valuable finds are presented on the show.  So, at least you know that it is not all treasure(s).  Allen and Ton are both actor's according to IMDB, so maybe the show is somewhat fake.  If it is, then it is entertaining, but proves my point about ratings. 

Most of the auctioneers I have talked too are fairly indifferent about the show's.  One one hand they have generated new business, and made them more money (sometimes).  On the other hand, the crowds tend to tick off the regular auction players, and the crowds tend to make for more confusion and chaos (i.e. time to look in the lockers, more time to complete the day's auctions, etc) which makes for a lot more work for them.  All and all, I tend to thing "reality" show's are bunk and try to avoid them.  I do watch the auction one's, pawn star's, picker's etc because I learn some stuff.  However, my favorite will always be "Antiques Roadshow" because it is actually real, and not for ratings.

tommyboymooser's picture
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Everyone who is on a TV reality show is considered an 'actor' by IMDB, so that would have no impact on whether it is real or fake. I think it is mostly real, but heavily edited for TV of course. If it wasn't mostly real, then the 'looky loos' who show up would no doubt spill the beans. Whether there are plants, I don't now and I'd hope not, but who knows...

BoosterGold's picture
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I think you missed my point. Unlike the cast of Storage Wars, Allan and Ton from Auction Hunters have a list of acting credits going back a decade, well before the show began. My point being that with Auction Hunters it's just two unknown actors cast inn a completly fictionalized show, where as at least with Storage Wars you have people who are really in the resale business, and have stores, or sell at flea markets etc.

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