Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What's In Store


In the unreal spectrum of what passes for reality TV is a little genre that follows the exploits of people who buy storage lockers. Storage Wars is probably the leader of the pack. I watch an episode or two now and again because some of the characters and some of their recovered loot perks my interest. If you stop judging the quality of this entertainment and the people who seem to make it their avocation, you can learn a thing or two about the treasures they bid or gamble on. They're risk takers, dreamers, who discover a real find now and then.
Antiques Roadshow it's not. They've glammed it all up to make "powerful TV." In other words it's an exaggerated mess that's orchestrated for an audience that's mostly materialistic or in a coma. Still I watch from time to time. But after you get past the locker with nothing but dirty mattresses, or the one with a valuable coin collection in a dresser drawer, something else is sneaking into your brain. After the ending feature where that snuff box recovered from an otherwise messy assemblage of Tupperware, outdated and musty clothes, and painted pine furniture, gets appraised at $3000. Something is raising it's unwanted head.
This stuff stored away, this stuff up for sale because someone didn't pay the rent on the locker, this stuff which contains personal effects, family photos, collections, accumulations, packed up lives...this stuff belongs to somebody. Somebody else.
The entire premise of this show is that all's fair in storage facilities and those who can't pay the rent. There is just one logical question that nobody seems to ask, much less answer. Why don't those in arrears use the contents of the locker, or even just something they can easily sell, and pay that overdue rent. Nope. They just abandon these pieces of furniture, these doll collections, these antiques? Couldn't pay the $100. due this month so I just walked away from the entire locker worth 5K?
How about a hard hitting documentary on the people who lost it all. Who are these folks who would rather walk away from an intriguing pile of life's detritus than to let some unctuous bargain hunter buy it for half it's worth and resell it for double or triple that?
I'm interested in the other war going on in their lives.

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