Storage Wars: What’s Real and What Isn’t

2015-09-26 11.28.53We all know Storage Wars is produced to maximize entertainment value. The cast members are “characters”, edited for dramatic effect and probably at least partially scripted. Many viewers accuse the producers of planting items in the lockers so the cast can make big “discoveries”. The drama seems too over the top to be real sometimes – and do they really make enough money to drive Cadillacs?

Well, you might be surprised at how much the show resembles a real live storage auction – it’s more accurate than you think.

Of course, we haven’t witnessed a taping of the show so this is just our opinion…but here’s a short list of how we think Storage Wars represents a real auction…and where they’re making things up.

Here’s what we think Storage Wars has bang-on!

  1. The auctions – and the items inside. We don’t think they plant items in the lockers. Honestly, those bizarre discoveries that seem so improbable really do happen. We’ve really found a safe under a blanket at the back of a crappy locker. An authentic Burberry watch really did fall out of a trash bag. And we did get a locker for $1 that earned us thousands of dollars in collectibles, antiques, and sterling silver.
  2. The characters. Yes, they’re amplified and those interviews are at least partially scripted. But there’s a Barry Weiss (the guy who shows up, overpays, takes one treasure and tries to pawn off the rest of the stuff to another buyer). There’s a Darrell Sheets (the guy who cracks jokes, trash talks and then gambles on “mystery boxes”). And yes, we’re often referred to as Jarrod and Brandi.
  3. The auction atmosphere. It really is the same 10-12 people who buy almost all of the units in our region. Other people show up, and a few of them bid, but they almost never win units. It gets competitive and yes, people do bid each other up on purpose. All the time. You should hear the banter sometimes…

Here’s what we think Storage Wars is Fabricating

  1. Losses. If you bid smart, it’s hard to lose money on a locker. Ever notice how they never add up the value of all of the items, and walk away from units with boxes untouched? I could count on one hand the number of purchases we’ve lost money on, and we’re at over 300 lockers and counting. Their little value tallies are never even close to accurate
  2. The prices people pay. The cast members are paid to be on the show, so it’s understandable that they’re willing to pay more for units – they’re not really gambling with their own money, and high bids make for high drama, which the producers probably love. Sometimes prices do get out of hand at the auctions, but $3000 is the most we’ve ever seen someone pay. The most we’ve ever spent on a single unit is $1100.
  3. The animosity. Seriously, do you really think they get that mad – AND hold a grudge? Doubtful.

What do you think? Are the auctions on Storage Wars real or fabricated?

  • Celeste Munger

    I can’t believe some of the wacky items on the show. I think they must plant at least some of them. How do you find an expert to give you a valuation on some of the weird stuff?

    • JJ

      Google is often the only expert we need, but sometimes we look for a specialist – I just contacted John’s Jukes about our unusual Card Ball pub game, in fact. It’s rare that we have no idea what something is.