Sunday, November 7, 2010

Junk TV....better than junk food!

First Pawn Stars....

Then American Pickers....and Canadian Pickers is on the horizon....*SIGH*....the concept I should have pursued heavier than I did several years ago...I always seem to be too far ahead of the curve. Oh well...

Then Auction Kings was a recent addition to the Discovery Channel's offerings....

And the most recent addition to hit the air was American Restoration. (PS, AP and AR are all on the History Channel, BTW.)

Wow, junk is getting popular....though that is something I have been involved with for pretty much 98% of my life..and mainly by choice! You'd think I'd have been be on TV by now, eh?

I think it is a good thing that it ("buying and selling junk") is being recognized as a legitimate business. Though my mother, despite my over 20 years of being immersed in the junk business, seems to be a still somewhat of the mind that it is not a "real job."  She cares for my well being, which is the basis of her concern. But, I'd would not be happy doing a 9 to 5 job at some government desk jockey position, holding a sign on a highway for some work crew, driving a transport truck, doing someones accounting, etc, etc.

Maybe these programs will change her mind about what I do...legitimize it in her mind.  Maybe these programs will change the minds of all our relatives and friends...all those folks who have been telling us to "get a real job."

Hey, guess what, people? It IS a real job! 

I have been involved in all sorts of "junk" and recycling efforts. I'm a recycler overall, even when it comes to non-vintage junk. Part to make cash,  partly because it assists in satisfying my creative bend, and partly because I think we waste WAY too much good "stuff".  I have (and still do) attended government surplus auctions, submitted bids for government surplus online, gone to many a bankruptcy auction, worked with/along side demolition crews doing salvage, bought salvage rights to properties, cleaned out buildings ranging from little sheds to 30,000 sqr foot warehouses,  hauled van loads of reusable packing materials from factories, and on and on and on....Yeah, I love junk, what can I say?

Well, a new show has hit the airwaves, this time via SPIKE.   And, it again is something that I've done, in a way. I'd do it the same way these guys seem to be doing it, as I have done pretty much everything else...

What do they do?

 They buy storage locker contents.

 You see, when people default on the rent of their storage lockers, the storage companies end up with the legal ownership of the contents. Seeing as the big storage companies aren't in the "junk liquidation" business, they call in an auction company to auction off the contents of those lockers.

Ok, some of you are thinking "Oh yuck, someones old moldy couch and crap."

Sure, there is some of that....but, there can be hidden treasure, just like when you are picking. You just need to know what you are doing...and have a strong back....or at least a partner with a strong back!

I've bought "blind" in a similar way...there are many auctions I attend that sold lots by the boxful, just as they were pulled out of attics, storage lockers, etc.  The auction companies in Manitoba generally now try to maximize the returns on the sales of the contents of lockers, so it all gets put out, and sold bit by bit.   These guys on Spike's  "AUCTION HUNTERS" buy the whole contents of the lockers, sort of sight unseen, though they might be able to see into the lockers, but the stuff isn't pulled out, just the door opened...a bit of a tease as to what is inside. Could be a bunch of boxes, but, what do they contain? Clothes? Coins? Gold? Last year's newspapers?

 My knowledge base and "trained eyes" help me to recognize many things that can be hidden in the midst of run-of-the-mill stuff.....seeing treasure shining amongst the trash where others see only trash. But, unfortunately, when it comes to storage lockers, things are done differently in Manitoba. Auctioneers haul it all out, and sell the stuff bit by bit. They are hoping to maximize their profits as well as helping the locker companies' recoup more of their back rent.

Still, I have bought enough "site unseen" type of lots to know exactly what it is like!
But, for those of you who have not experienced the "rush" (and the disappointment, too!) this show seems to promise a first hand view...or at least an over the shoulder view.

Will be an interesting show...'cause I know how interesting my life in the junk biz has been!  We junkers are an unconventional sort!

Here is a brief description of the show, as per Spike:

Every day in America, there are over ten thousand abandoned storage units that are put up for public auction. Each unit has the potential to be a goldmine or a bust for those who make their living hunting unclaimed property. This eight half-hour episode series follows two of the best prospectors in the business, Clinton "Ton" Jones and Allen Haff, in their quest to win auctions, acquire treasure and sell it for profit.

Here are some teaser videos to whet your junkin' appetite!

For more on Auction Hunters, hit SPIKE!


  1. I like all of these shows. I would rate Auction Hunters #2 behind American Pickers. Do you think these shows will affect prices in the biz much?

  2. Prices might be affected on the "wholesale" level by the increased competition in certain areas of the country, especially those with a high viewership for the program. Good for sellers at that level, bad for buyers at that level. However, if you are a professional already at it, yo uknow what yo uare going to pay, and, if you are smart, you stick to it. You also should have the skills to reamin profitable in the business. Amateur's hoping to get rich quick will always find it is harder than it looks. 1000 new buyers may jump into the market, but 998 will eventually figure out that it isn't as easy as it looks on TV. One will be dogged and determined and eventually go broke, and the other one will stay in the biz, and succeed. Long odds to be that "one". In most cases, there are better odds at the Casino tables to put your money into....and you know how that usually turns out.