MrConsumer admits it — he is a fan of Storage Wars, the A&E cable series. In the show, the contents of abandoned storage lockers are auctioned off each week to the highest bidder. There are four recurring and quirky cast members, who, along with members of the public, bid blindly on these storage lockers in the hopes of finding some treasure amongst the junk. The cast members almost always win a storage locker in each auction, and many times they find an antique or other unexpected treasure worth thousands of dollars.
Now, one of the four regulars, Dave Hester (famous for placing bids by exclaiming “yuuup”), alleges in a lawsuit that the show is rigged. He claims, among other things, that the producers “salt” lockers with high-value items to heighten excitement when a successful cast member “finds” it, and that they assist the less well-financed cast member bidders who would not otherwise have enough money to pay for the storage lockers on which they are bidding.
Hester spoke out about these problems to A&E executives, suggesting that these practices were in essence rigging a game show, which is against federal law. Hester says he was then fired after the producers had already exercised an option to renew his $25,000 per episode contract. He filed a lawsuit against them last week.
*MOUSE PRINT: Excerpt from lawsuit:
As a regular viewer, MrConsumer always wondered about several things in this “reality” show:
1. With dozens of bidders present at most auctions, how is it that the cast members almost always seem to be the winners?
2. Why would cast members bid often thousands of dollars for abandoned junk, that on its face, is worth no more than a few hundred dollars?
3. If such valuable items were stored in these lockers, why wouldn’t the true owner have paid the minimal storage bill or removed the valuable items before failing to make monthly payments?
4. With cast members seemingly only bidding against each other as the prices rose beyond what an average citizen would bid for a pile of used household goods, were the producers subsidizing those above fair market value bids?
Now we may know the answer.
As we have asserted before, some of the worst mouse print is the mouse print that is missing. There is no disclaimer in the television program credits stating that the producers of the show offer financial assistance to some bidders and that some items are “found” for dramatic effect.
A&E has had no comment on the lawsuit yet, but earlier this year said in a statment, “there is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.”