‘Storage Wars’ was a reality television show that first appeared on screens back in December 2010, and grew to unexpected popularity that inspired several similar shows, as well as a collection of spin-offs. The show follows the lives of auctioneers and buyers in the world of storage hunting, an industry that capitalises on the misfortunes of sometimes unlucky souls.
When the lease of a storage locker or unit expires due to missed rent, the contents usually go to auction to cover the leaser’s debt, of course, with a fair amount of profit. The show is created on these basic concepts, but inevitably adds a few twists to increase the drama.
Among the rules applied, buyers only get to view the contents of the storage unit for a few minutes before the auction begins, and aren’t allowed to enter or conduct a full inspection. The show then documents the appraisals of the contents bought, and compares it to tally the buyer’s potential profits or, in some cases, their losses.
One of the most epic lockers in history is hitting your TV tonight! The only question is, who will win it? Tune in to #StorageWars at 9:30/8:30c.
Though not exactly tomb raiding, the show’s drama and excitement build upon the idea of treasure hunting, and the mystery of what a self-storage unit might contain. This intriguing documentation eventually drew global attention, and the producers sold the show to channels all over the world.
On average, ‘Storage Wars’ attracted 2.4 million views per episode, and soon branched off to document the industry in several other states, as well as a French version of the show. The original series is located in California, and filmed at a wide variety of storage facilities, often producing the strangest and oddest goods for the auction, sometimes of considerable value.
Unfortunately, ‘Storage Wars’ popularity drew a lot of attention, and soon became the subject of scrutiny that questioned the authenticity of the show’s reality. Creative manipulation and dramatisations sell reality TV, and ‘Storage Wars’ is no stranger to tweaking reality for the sake of pulling in viewers.
In an industry where the outcome is 90% unpredictable, the show somehow managed to succeed however, this might, be because of all the production alterations thrown in to boost viewer numbers, and the series certainly has several dark secrets the producers try to keep a lid on.
The first dark secret uncovered about ‘Storage Wars’ completely destroys the whole concept of the show, and proves that, like many other reality television programs, it is as fake as it comes.
The original concept of the show placed it in the game show genre, but due to a lack of authenticity, it no longer keeps the pretence of a game. This might come as a shock to many of the show’s fans, but unfortunately nearly everything in the show happens to be scripted.
According to an inside informant, who disclosed sensitive information to ‘Looper’, the auctions that determine the winners, or losers, of each episode, are planned ahead of filming.
The contestants are all aware of who is going to win, since the producers select the winner before the show, making the competition hardly as fair as they want viewers to believe. Thus, all the excitement and tension dramatised for the cameras is nothing more than hot air.
To make things even worse for the producers, certain members of the cast accused them of having favourites. They would often choose certain buyers over others, most likely to create even more tension between contestants. Sadly, this is not the only faked aspect of the show.
Salt and Spice
Since the sad revelation that a lot of ‘Survivors’ situations were dramatised and rehearsed, a lot of reality shows have come under fire and scrutiny for faking the truth, but producers have argued that it keeps viewers entertained.
RT If you want a follow pic.twitter.com/pRf6hxxLuT
— Storage Wars Family (@StorageWarsFam) November 3, 2016
In ‘Storage Wars’, aside from staging the auction, creative input has gone so far as to spice up the contents of some storage units. According to Dave Hester, a disgruntled past member of the show, who revealed the show’s secrets during a lawsuit, the producers would buy prized items from an antique shop, and add them to the storage units to be auctioned.
Dave identified the shop in question as ‘Off The Wall Antiques’, yet could not clarify how much money the shop received in compensation. There’s no telling what happened to the goods after the show, as the buyers could have sold the items, or the items may only have been rented, and then returned after filming.
To further manipulate the excitement and drama of the show, Dave also mentioned that the producers would pay for storage lockers on behalf of weaker contestants. This gave them an unfair advantage, since the veterans of the show gambled with their personal funds.
However, since everything seems to be fake, the veterans likely never lost a dime.
How Fake Is Too Fake?
At the beginning of ‘Storage Wars’, the contestants and auctioneers were predominantly male, but the producers eventually realised this did not appeal to all the viewers. To improve their ratings, they eventually engaged female participants in the hope that more men would take an interest in the show.
However, a show is most definitely fake when rumours begin to surface about a scandal that the female cast members underwent plastic surgery, especially because of the possibility of maintaining viewers interest.
According to ‘Looper’, ‘Storage Wars’ came under scrutiny for paying female members to undergo augmentation surgery.
This too became one of the secrets that Dave spoke about in his lawsuit, claiming that the show’s producers forced Brandi to assume a more appealing appearance to keep male viewers glued to the screen and that they paid for all the procedures.
It certainly seemed unfair, since the show never really cared about how all the male contestants and auctioneers appeared on camera.
Aside from creatively manipulating reality, the show also attempts to keep things fresh by introducing new faces on a regular basis, but this often means that familiar faces would have to say goodbye.
Once a face left the show, they would likely never return, and to date, no one ever let go from the show has made a comeback. This often led to legal disputes between disgruntled cast members and the producers, such as in the case of Dave Hester, who sued the show for wrongful termination.
Dave believed that the producers fired him because he questioned their ethics. According to Dave, it could likely be illegal to stage auctions and plant goods in storage units, and Dave never approved of their questionable behaviour.
However, some may consider that Dave was bitter because the producers hardly ever favoured him in their selections. The resolution of Dave’s case remains unclear, but one thing about ‘Storage Wars’ became apparent, especially because Dave was not the only unhappy contestant to leave the show.
Another person, who chose to remain anonymous, spoke out about the poor treatment that the producers subjected them to, saying that the producers simply don’t care about others or their quality of life.
Brandi’s Failed Lawsuit
‘Storage Wars’ is no stranger to off-screen legal disputes unrelated to the show, and the variety of legal cases the cast members were involved in range from felonies to identity theft.
One such case involved Brandi Passante, who sued an adult film producer, Hunter Moore, for imitating her appearance.
Brandi was quite surprised when she discovered an adult film starring a woman that looks almost exactly like her. Understandably, she was extremely offended by this atrocious act, since it’s not exactly the kind of image that she wants people to conceive about her. After all, Brandi is a married woman and has a family.
To no surprise, Brandi attempted to gain some form of compensation from the situation, since it was already too late to get the film out of circulation, but unfortunately her case didn’t hold up in court the way she would have wanted. Initially, Brandi sued Moore for an estimated two and a half million dollars, but in the end, she received a measly $750 in compensation.
The producers of ‘Storage Wars’, on the other, might have seen it as an opportunity to capitalise on the case, especially considering that they paid for Brandi’s plastic surgery, and no doubt increased interest in the show.
Yuuup! That’s a Lawsuit
Of all the legal battles initiated by the show, or members of the cast, perhaps the most ridiculous was between auctioneer Dave Hester and the rapper Trey Songz. One might wonder what could make two completely unrelated stars clash in a court of law, and while the answer might be simple, perhaps even a little childish, it was nonetheless a serious matter.
Fans of ‘Storage Wars’ would know that a highlight of many episodes is that moment when Dave bellows his catchword ‘Yuuup!’ for whatever purpose he deems it worthy. As such, fans of Trey Songz would know that he too uses the same word, either in songs, interviews or on his merchandise, making a copyright clash between the two almost inevitable.
It might seem silly that two grown men would fight over the possession of a word, but unfortunately copyright claims can become a thorn in the side best avoided, especially in the entertainment business.
Are you Team Brandi & Jarrod? SHARE if you're watching the #StorageWars marathon on A&E!
It’s unclear who sued who, or what the results were, but quite possibly they may have resolved the issue on a technicality. Both entertainers pronounce the word the same, but the spelling, as it appears on merchandise, is different.
As discovered, the producers of ‘Storage Wars’ have a few secrets they wanted to keep quiet about the show, but it seems that they were not the only ones. Several of the cast members hide dirty pasts, or embarrassing histories they would not want fans to know about.
Unfortunately for them, living in the limelight can attract the wrong kind of attention, as people will try to uncover dirty laundry and spill the beans for all the world to see. Brandon Sheets, the son of original cast member Darrell Sheets, and a later feature on the show, never finished high school.
While not as scandalous as other stars’ records, it would be embarrassing to have information like that floating around. Of course, Brandon left school and immediately went into the family business of storage hunting. Among the more scandalous stars, Brandi and Jarrod Schulz would stand out.
Sometime before the show, Police arrested Brandi on charges of driving under the influence, and while she got away lightly, Jarrod was not as lucky. Long before the show, Jarrod spent 16 months in the slammer for a variety of drug-related crimes. Fortunately, Jarrod has since turned his life around, and now spreads a positive message to the world, often using his fame to influence others.
It may have come to light that the producers would often spice-up storage units with fake items of interest for the sake of entertainment, but this does not exclude the possibility of finding random, odd, or downright strange goods in the units.
In fact, the show may have intrigued viewers with some of the items discovered by the bidders. At the top of the strangest list, Brandi once bought more than she bargained for when she discovered canine remains in one of the storage units. Although it sounds scary, the situation was not that creepy.
The remains she found were the preserved ashes of someone’s adored pet, but instead of throwing it away, Brandi returned the sentimental memory to its rightful owner. However, the true pinnacle of strange discoveries comes in the form of a live moose.
Members jokingly said that if a live moose was ever found in a unit, it would mean the end of the show. Ironically, they made this discovery during the final season, but it may just have been a producer prop, yet still good for a laugh.
While the show may be host to a few people with questionable histories, it also boasts some who possess incredible talent.
One of the regular auctioneers featured on the show, Emily Wears, is regarded as a natural prodigy in the world of auctioning.
Emily first appeared on the show at the start of the tenth season. By then she had already become a veteran auctioneer, and the owner of an auctioning company that operates from Solon, Iowa. Emily began her training at a young age, and by the time she turned seventeen had graduated from auction school.
She also became the first female winner of auctioning contests in Colorado and Wyoming, and achieved second and first place standings at the Junior Auctioneer Championships.
The weekend's here! Kick it off with a #StorageWars marathon starting now!
Not to mention, many fans of ‘Storage Wars’ would consider Emily as one of the more attractive stars, who competed in the fifteenth season of ‘American Idol’.
Although she may not have won the singing competition, her talented voice and silver-quick tongue won her considerable fame with ‘Storage Wars’ loyal followers and fans.
Hester’s Rolling In Dough
Dave Hester is one of the show’s better-known sources of drama and conflict, at least until he was removed from the set for one season. Dave once got into a dispute with one of the bidders, which resulted in an all-out fight which landed him in hospital.
However, partial blame for the fight falls on the producers, who pushed Dave to his limits until the poor man finally snapped. One feud, though, which the producers never scripted, was between Dave and Darrell, but in all honesty, the producers may have fueled the conflict. Their dispute was mostly about money.
Dave learned that Darrell made more money per episode, and of course Dave wouldn’t have it. After all, Dave drew in more viewers with his iconic ‘Yuuup!’ being dropped regularly in the show. Considering that he appeared in eleven of twelve seasons, Dave’s bickering about the small margins seems rather childish. Nonetheless, as a star of the show, it would only be right of Dave to expect fair treatment. However, despite these disputes, Dave made an estimated $800,000 per season.
Despite the disappointments uncovered here about ‘Storage Wars’, we hope you will continue to enjoy watching whatever re-runs you may be catching up on, even though it might be with a new perspective.
Looking back at the show, no doubt some fond memories would be worth reminiscing over, despite the new considerations and insights you may have uncovered with us.