Storage Whores


You can find the profit in human misery if you look for it.

We watched a few episodes of a so-called reality show about people who turn over storage units for a living, like it’s a career or something. It’s like the modern version of treasure hunting. Except it’s not.

One time a friend told me how she had lost a bunch of her possessions. It was mostly junk like furniture and knickknacks that wouldn’t fit at her house but it also included irreplaceable family heirlooms and stuff like family photos.

She stopped paying for the thing and – poof – her stuff was gone. “Why didn’t you tell me,” I cried. “I’d have paid your account so at least you could get the important shit.”

It was too late. The shit was gone. As in forever gone. There had been an auction. They sure didn’t waste any time.

Oh well. Easy come and super easy go.

I decided right then and there that I had to get me one of those shiny storage unit things. But I also had to remain true to myself and my core values. I was going to do this the Tom B. Taker way.
I have a dream. Call it an item on my bucket list, if you will. It’s based on the concept that one person’s pile of shit is another person’s treasure.

Treasure hunting used to be a bit more respectable. Perhaps it was hidden booty from a pirate who forgot where he buried it. Or maybe it was a shipload of gold doubloons on the ocean shore in the maritime boundaries of some loser nation that got spirited away in the middle of the night based on the classic maritime law, finders keepers.

Foreclosing a storage unit, bolt-cutting the lock and yelling “dibs” on the personal personal possessions contained therein doesn’t have quite the same sense of adventure. Even if the golden idol itself was in there Indiana Jones wouldn’t be bothered. It’s too mundane.

My simple plan:

  1. Rent myself one of those storage units by prepaying with cash and using fake information.
  2. Assemble the finest collection of stuff that appears to be valuable but isn’t. This will no doubt involve a few tantalizingly placed tarps. Some cruelly mislabeled boxes that are, of course, completely empty. A large wooden crate stamped, “Handle with care. Original unknown paintings by Van Gogh, Monet and DaVinci.” Perhaps just a hint of a tire that appears to be from an original Indian. Maybe a “for sale” sign with an ordinary penny sitting on it (but in the far corner) that reads, “U.S. penny, Lincoln wheat series, 1909. Price (firm): $42,000.”
  3. Throw some dust around to make it all look ancient. Fake some patina.
  4. Close door and secure with my little padlock.
  5. Never pay rent.
  6. Wait.

Then, on auction day, show up and watch the unit fetch a record-breaking price in a fierce bidding war. If the unit is properly designed and assembled this should be fairly easy to accomplish. Especially if lots of “expert” and “knowledgable” bidders are present. I’ll be there with my movie camera pretending to be documentary filmmakers so the moment can be shared with YouTube.

Sure, it will takes tons of pain, effort and great expense on my part, but the look on the dude’s face when he finally steps inside and assesses his “investment” is going to be priceless. It would be, dare I say it, a moment I will always treasure.

Perhaps I can take the show on the road to major cities all across this great nation and write a book about my experiences. What do you do for a living, people will ask. “I’m a fake storage unit designer.” Oooh.

It’s good to have a plan, right? I like to dream big.

14 responses

  1. I want to be there to watch when the bidding starts!! 😀


    1. Let the buyer beware! 🙂


      1. Caveat emptor becomes cavity empty!! Haha


      2. LOL! Busting out with the writing skills again! Show off!


      3. Haha….I couldn’t resist!! 😉


  2. When the episode airs on TV, they’ll make us all wait through a commercial before showing that the box contains nothing but a turd and a smile.


    1. The big reveal. You’ve already spoiled the payoff. Still worth watching, though! 🙂


  3. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    Loved this post. “Fake the patina.” Good one! I’ve watched “Storage Wars.” These people have a lot of money to throw around on mystery crap. One suggestion: When you do your phony storage unit, throw in some glow-in-the dark skeletons. That’ll send the storage unit scavengers running – the stuff is Radioactive – RUN!


    1. Heh! “Patina” is the new vocabulary I’m busting out this week. I’m told I have a nice patina.

      I thought the show was cool but it did have a vulture culture aspect to it, especially in light of the bonehead actions of my friend.

      Glow in the dark skeletons are definitely a winner idea. That should really drive the bidding up! 🙂


    1. You are very wise to recognize a ground floor opportunity.


  4. Let me know when you’re up and running … I’ll be a sponsor! 😉

    Seriously though — I *hate* these so-called “history-reality” shows. Auction Kings. Storage Wars. Pawn Stars. American Pickers. Hell, let’s throw Swamp People into the mix while I’m at it. Hate ’em all! Hubby, on the other hand, *loves* this crap. Thank goodness for headphones.


    1. Swamp People is really good. You should give it a second chance.

      No one has come calling for Tom Picks His Butt. I guess some reality is just to real for TV.


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