With all the winter holiday's season's events, life's trials, tribulations and surprises, I almost forgot something....
I still had "Part 2" of "Driving Down The Highway Of Pickers" to do...
SO, here it is, just in time for Christmas...or whichever other season, holiday, festival (etc) you happen to celebrate!
For those of you who are long time readers of my wordy tome, you likely know that I started this blog some time ago.
I called/titled it "A Picker's Journal" right from the very beginning.
Yup, came up wit dat classy, fantabulous, awesome, superb sort of title all by me lonesome!
It is my own creation; "an-original-painting-in-3-words" so-to-speak.
It was born in my cerebral grey matter back on the third of May, in the year of two-thousand-ten.
This baby's first words were a posting called:
(*Click on that phrase to bring up my very first blog posting written for "A Picker's Journal.")
I was one the handful of people who were "regulars" on History Channel's chat-boards; and the "American Pickers" board in particular.
I made some like minded online friends who I still keep in contact with today, actually.
I know what you are wondering, and the answer is no, Mike & Frank were not there, nor was Danielle..... Or, rather, they did not post, reply or otherwise interact on that board.
Well, that is, as far as we know/knew.
I would not be surprised in the least, however, if they did not occasionally check out the boards.
I do not recall specifically when I posted links to "A Picker's Journal", but I have no doubt I posted links to it, shared posts, etc; being that my posts tend to all be relevant to picking, the antiques biz, etc, so sharing them with like minded people is part of the goal in the first place.
As I may have mentioned in past posts here, I did have the same idea as Mike, about 10 years prior to AP hitting the air, long before I had ever heard of him & Frank, and long before most of the general public knew what a "picker" was, other than relating to guitars, fruit, or that ol' groan inducing joke answer we are all tired of, and that is: nose pickers.
Good, because if you continued, I'd have to smack you upside the head....
Back to business....
Now, I am not so arrogant as to think I was the only picker in the world who had the same idea as Mike, nor do I think I was "the first" to have the idea.
The concept is not new...besides, great minds think alike, after all!
Mike happened to have good timing, was graced with the right set of circumstances which came together, along with a heavy dash of that good ol' picker tenacity that many of us exhibit, and the usual hard work we are all used to. It wasn't handed to him on a silver platter.
Some production company didn't come to him and say "do you want a TV show?"
He pioneered it, really. Others, be they imitators, or legitimately real pickers, while they may or may not have worked hard, Mike spearheaded it, got the whole "buying and selling old/used stuff on a Reality TV show" thing rolling.
"The Antiques Roadshow" American Pickers is certainly not.
And that is a good thing.
We needed something different, something the masses could grasp, enjoy, get absorbed in.
As for Mike's success with it, well, frankly, if you like him or hate him, you can't begrudge the guy for having made his dream happen.
If you do begrudge him for that, well, that is simply misplaced jealousy, nothing more.
I do realize, as some readers likely do, the format in which the show went on to success with is actually not what Mike originally wanted it to be and had proposed.
However, that is exactly what can, and usually does happen when other minds (ie: production companies, producers, directors, and other media types) get involved in someone else's dream.......
The dream will morph, change, and become something not-quite-like what the initial creator envisioned.
However, that is a discussion best left for another post.
There are lots of people who begrudge Mike or Frank or even Danielle, but it is usually just jealousy masquerading as something else.
I am not jealous, as I am aware that becoming a "celebrity" can create as many issues as it solves.
Would I like to be raking in the cash like he is?
But jealous of his success?
I am glad to not have some of the issues I am sure he has to deal with now.
I am, however, annoyed with some issues the show(s) have created, and on the other end of things, I am overjoyed with other things the show has done as to the marketplace.
If you mistake "annoyed" for jealousy, well, that is not my problem.
However, I do have to say that my "annoyed" levels have gone up bit by bit over the last few years....
Oddly enough, maybe 3 years ago, I tripped across some other interesting information, which, frankly had me scratching my head a bit...
It was one of those things that make you go:
The page at this link describes it.
And, in case that link ends up "dead" for one reason or another, here is a page shot of it's contents. Being that it is in pretty small text, I have included the portion of importance enlarged, below it.
Here an enlarged portion containing the highlighted text:
* * * *
"Picker's Journal" is now Mike Wolfe's e-journal, as of 2011, huh?
Yes, that is right....say it with me now...
Well, they do say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
It would have been nice to receive some form of recognition for the "borrowing" of what some would consider my original work....
Maybe a guest blogger spot?
A 10 minute "we bought this cool thing from our Canadian contact, EH!" sort of cameo on a episode once a season?
Or a even a "shout out" to their "Canadian Connection"?
Or, perhaps just a simple a tip of the hat, a mention somewhere...
Perhaps, just perhaps it would have been worth tossing me a bone, or two?
Hell, just a simple, easily written cheque (a.k.a. "check") that had a figure on it with which I could have used to go on a picker vacation? A pick-ation ? Hmmmmm......
"Hey, just c-h-i-l-l , dude, its only a couple words!" you say ?
"Why are you so annoyed?" you ask ?
You know, frankly, and to be quite honest, I wasn't actually that annoyed....for a time...
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"
And they did drop the "A"....
And, I will get some sort of recognition...some time...eventually...
Never happened, not happening, not a whiff of anything happening, ever....not even an endorsement, a "shout out" to, nor a mention of the source of the concept & title.
Nary even a vague acknowledgement of any sort as to that.
Not even an occasional "shout out of respect to that-other-long-time-fellow-picker-dude-up-there-in-Canada, EH!"
Not even a crumb.
While the length of time the "zero recognition" remains teh status quo, (and which some could/would/have called "a snub", "a slight" as well as more colourful descriptors), I realize it is not only "just 2 words" that they "borrowed"....
It was the entire CONCEPT that is "A Picker's Journal" which was "borrowed"....lifted.
And, to clear-up any doubt; as well as pre-answers to some questions before they are even asked:
Thus far, as of this date, being Dec 23rd, 2015, there has been no form of any kind of acknowledgement from that web firm (or anyone else connected with American Pickers, for that matter) regarding their utilizing the title "Picker's Journal" and the general concept, in toto.
Being that the article mentioning "Picker's Journal" (in the context of it being used to describe Mike's e-journal), was published in 2011, and states fully that "their" concept was called/dubbed "Picker's Journal," they obviously had planned to use the title as "THE" title of the newsletter.
Now, as far as Mike's personal involvement, I have no idea if he even realizes that the firm has commandeered the title of "Picker's Journal" for use in the project.
Realistically, I would be surprised that he is not at least aware of it, at least in passing, but anything is possible when there are hundreds of hands involved in projects, especially where media of all types is concerned.
Mike did post a quick couple sentences of thanks, as part of a thread on his Facebook wall, quite some time ago.
But it was not connected to that "borrowed" bit of my work.
That "thanks" post was specifically directed to myself and one other dealer; as we were both on the History Channel chat boards way-back-when, and later were regularly posting on an American Pickers official Facebook group.
That dealer, myself as well as some others, fielded appraisal related questions, and we all basically were volunteer soldiers on the front line, the "picker defence squad, so to speak. We were dealing with insults, negative commentary/ranters, trolls, and other "not-so-nice" verbal attacks lobbed at Mike, Frank, Danielle, and our field of work, while on History Channel's chat/message boards, as well as fielding some questions (etc) in the related Facebook group for a bit, shortly after History Channel closed the boards and took them down, and creating their promotional page on Facebook.
He basically gave us a kudos for having "been there since the beginning."
I do respect that sentiment, appreciate it....
But, just how much should I "appreciate" that one-time, couple line "thanks guys" sentiment?
How long should that "hold" me for....and what does it "cover?"
Realistically, not a whole hell of much of anything. I appreciated it at the moment, but, really, when I think (briefly) about the event, it was a minimal sort of effort, I have to admit.
No, we didn't even get a "thank-you" sort of package of American Pickers "swag"...not a a stitch of any of History Channel, Antique Archaeology, Or other logo'd merchandise, autographed photos, or any other promotional "swag".....
Not even a used, chipped & cracked History Channel coffee mug fished out of the dumpster....
Not that I actually really have any desire to own any of their promotional junk/stuff, nor T-shirts, hats, or other merchandise at this point....though, come to think of it, a box of gloves I really could use.....being that I destroy gloves constantly...well, actually, usually I destroy right handed ones 5 times as often as left handed ones....
Anyone out there want a pile of authentic-real-life-genuine-Canuck-prairie-picker-used left-handed gloves?
Just cover postage costs and they can be YOURS!
See, even I offer my supporters g r e a t swag!
OK, OK, yes, yes, I admit it.....
I just don't want to throw 'em all out....
You know, having thought more about it now, many of us spent a fair bit of time just defending Mike and Frank (and later Danielle, on occasion), as well as the occupation of "picking" (and the antiques biz in general) from the onslaught of trash talk spat out by the ignorant, the unaware, the uneducated, the mis-informed and assorted troublemaker/troll-types.
It goes with the territory, I guess. Put aside whatever the ethical issues you wish to debate, how some shows seem to portray us, assumptions that are made, problems you believe the shows have caused, what you think of any of the individuals on the shows, and all the rest, because.......
The fact is, many of us were a combination of overjoyed & relieved that there was finally a mainstream sort of show was telling the world that we didn't just buy old junk for fun, that it can be and is a real business, and what we do does require skill, time, energy, knowledge, hard work, profits, etc, etc, etc.
( And that the show wasn't just an American take on BBC's "Lovejoy" )
Many a picker will tell you that showing "picking" as being truly an occupation, "legitimized" them in the eyes of some/all of their family members, non-dusty-junk-loving friends and the TV watching public in general.
I know I now rarely have to explain what I do to people when I knock on their farmhouse door to inquire about stuff I spotted from the road. I do, however, occasionally have to distance myself from "those TV pickers" depending on the people's reactions to my inquiry.
Overall, though, the experiences have been more positive now than negative, which is a good thing.
In my experienced opinion, overall the shows have been good for the antiques business as a whole.
Yes, there are still a few issues happening, people adapting, etc...but that is what life tends to be like when it comes to anything changing, growing, adapting...we are just driving down the highway of pickers' lives....
We'll pull into this gas station here so you can "use the facilities"...
And I want to try and buy that sign I spotted leaning up against the back of the building...the one I spotted as we rounded the curve....
After all our assorted "business" is done, we will get back on the road, and you can tune the radio to Part Three.....