Sunday, January 15, 2012

Storage Wars

Hello All,

So I like that show, Storage Wars. Big whoop, wanna fight about it? No, I'm sure you don't. I'm sure you don't want to fight me over my enjoyment of Storage Wars. But I've fought for sillier reasons ... like my career.

Anyhoo, I have a fondness in my heart for that show. I caught it randomly one night, as one does, and found out that it was a marathon, and watched 3 or 4. What a gas. Who would have figured that a bunch of people bidding on storage lockers would be a lot of fun. But of course, it's a well-honed reality entertainment: you've got bad guys (Dave), goofballs (everyone else) and Barry Weiss, who looks like famed producer Robert Evans and is probably one of the best reality TV characters I've ever seen.

If you don't know what the show's about, it's simple: all over the US there are these storage lockers where people store their worldly goods. Now, from time to time, for one reason or another, people go truant on their storage locker rental payment and their shit gets auctioned off. When that happens a whole bunch of sticky-fingered buzzards descend to pick over these lockers at auction. Some of them run antique or junk shops and others are just speculators or doing it for the rip of it. They're looking for ... well, anything of value. And it's amazing what they find. It's sort of like Antiques Roadshow, in that they take some of the weirder things they've found in these lockers to appraisers and see if they've got anything of value.

I dig the show but one part of it really chaps my hide. It's a contest, sort of: you take the $ spent bidding on the locker, the value of whatever's in the locker, and the bidder/character who makes the biggest profit "wins" that episode. Which leads to some truly ridiculous over-evaluations of what they find.

You understand that some of these lockers just have a bunch of crap in them. You've got a guy running from the law and he shoves all his stuff into the car and leaves the rest in the locker; now one of these bidders bids $1000 on that locker under the impression a shoebox he noticed (and, he assumes, none of the other bidders did---he's so SHREWD!) is full of Confederate 100 dollar bills. Of course, in many instances it's full of, say, mousetraps ... or shredded newspaper ... or old shoes. Shocker.

But now, because some of these guys have colossal egos---who'd have figured guys who pick through the flotsam and detritus of destroyed and forgotten lives would have those?---they have to rationalize their purchases by wilfully, idiotically, and farcically overvaluing whatever's in there.

The worst of these is the show's enemy, Dave---a drunk. He's other things, but basically a drunk. Anyway, Dave happens to own some kind of re-sale operation and so he picks through these crappy lockers he's bought and goes:

DAVE: Well, here we have an ancient refrigerator full of rat droppings ... we'll clean it up and I'll get $900 for it at my shop.

No, Dave. No you won't. People can buy a NEW fridge for $900. Or LESS. Nobody's buying your old-ass, sat-in-a-locker-40 years, rattly, rat-shit-filled old green fridge for $900. NOOOOO-BODY!

Or he'll have found some ancient lace curtains ...

DAVE: Now you see, these are probably foreign-made. I can tell because they've come out of this trunk here, which has some port-of-call stickers on it. I think these are fine Italian lace ... I can get $1000 each for these ...

Well, Dave, despite your Sherlock Holmes-ain deducement skills, nobody's going to want your yellowed, ancient, musty-smelling ragged-ass curtains you found in some old stinky steamer trunk. Who is going to your cheap-ass shop, anyway, with pockets full of money for buying fine Italian lace? You don't get customers like that, Dave, do you?

Dave could likely find a weird, Howard-Hughes-esque locker full of human waste and be all like:

DAVE: Well, these jars of urine are very old. I can't vouch for the quality of the urine or the quality of the individual who produced this urine, but the jars alone are very nice. I could polish these up and get ... $500 for each jar of piss. And these garbage bags full of old dried-up human turds ... well, I mean, I KNEW there was something special in this locker, but I never expected anything this fantastic. You can go your whole career and never get a treasure trove like this. When I un-knotted those bags and inhaled that aroma I was thinking one thing: JACKPOT! I mean, yes, it's human fecal matter, and yes, most of these shits are all dried up and chalky or crumbling to dust, but if you find the right buyer you'll find they are very, VERY valuable. I'd say I have ... how many? 1,2,3,4,5 ... 5 1/2 bags of turds. You got to figure I can get 50 bucks a pound, or the right fecal freak will take it all off my hands for a cool ten grand.

Fuck off, Dave Hester, you drunken goofball ...

... but I will buy one of those jars of urine. That's a goddamn STEAL!

GOOD TUNE

All best, Craig.

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