A few Questions about American Pickers.

I’ll admit, this show is one of my guilty pleasures. I know there are a few threads about this, but I haven’t seen the answers to my questions. These guys are all over the country in that one little van. Seems to me that they would need a few trucks to haul all the stuff that they buy. It would be foolish to drive from Iowa to Tennessee and to who knows where just to go through one site, pick, fill up the van, then go home. Not all going to fit in there, pal. Gas pumps, signs, bicycles, pinball machines, etc. There just has to be more to it than that. Then the film crew. No way they are all in that little van. I was also wondering if anyone here has actually seen them in their town, or has seen the van on the road. Or could it be like “Drive-ins, Diners and Dives” where I believe Guy has his car trucked in, then hops in it to appear that he has just driven up the said eatery. Anyone know?

I’m skeptical that they actually leave with everything they buy, especially the larger stuff, like car bodies.

Do we ever see them actually sell anything? I’ve only watched a few episodes.

I’ve only seen the ‘sold for $x’ blurb at the end of the show.

I agree that the show must be mostly done for TV. You can’t make a living doing what they do.

I stop in Le Claire, Iowa - where they are based - about once a month and I’ve been in to their shop. I’ve seen several items from the show on display in their store, but most of the items in their shop say “Not For Sale” on them so I don’t know exactly what their “business model” is. I do know that every time I’m there, the place is PACKED with elderly tourists hoping for a glimpse of the stars. I’ve met Danielle and she was super-sweet and seemed quite relieved to be able to talk to someone under the age of 65.

We were just through there this past weekend and the entire town was crazy-busy. Turns out there was an “American Pickers Festival” happening. Say what you want about the show, it has fans… and a hell of a lot of them.

Also, I’m sure they must haul that van on the back of a truck from place to place, which is the same thing they do w/ that red convertbile on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

I like the show and do watch from time to time, mainly though just to see all the cool stuff that’s out there (I can’t antique as much as I used to) and perhaps learn a bit of trivia since they do have some fairly knowledgable sources they can draw from.

I do wonder if I’m the only one that finds the taller guy a little annoying at times. Maybe I’m just not that pushy and thus feel that can be a little off-putting. Lots of times he leaves me ‘pulling’ for the seller as they bargain.

They both seem like borderline sleazes.

Tall guy is a douche bag. I’d like to put him through a wall. The shorter, bearded guy looks a bit skeevy to me, but he doesn’t bug me as much.

As for the show itself, i don’t believe it is real (i.e. they buy and sell stuff like a normal antique business). I think it’s a made for TV show that is painted as reality TV but is really not.

As others have mentioned, it’s not realistic to think that they drive the van all over the country, find these hoarders, and the hoarders are willing to sell. If you’ve ever known a hoarder in real life, they don’t want to sell ANYTHING, and usually won’t. Especially if someone shows interest in what they have. All of a sudden their years of hoarding have paid off, and they’ll keep their crap.

The fact that someone has been to their “shop” in Iowa and some items are listed as “Not for Sale” reinforces my theory that the shop is a prop existing only for the sake of the show.

The other thing that I find strange is that when they offer someone money, they are clearly low-balling them. I understand that from a business pov they can’t pay retail, but as a person with all of this stuff they’ve saved over the years, why wouldn’t they keep it and try to sell one or two of the items at FMV? At the very least, they could have an auction house come out and appraise the stuff.

Nope… I’m not buying the show as credible.

Just as I don’t find the show “Storage Wars” credible either. I guess this could be a different thread, but think about it… you have two guys who go all over the place to attend storage areas up for auction. There is a TV crew with them. And they ALWAYS find/win something AMAZING.

This is bullshit for one simple reason:

The owners of the storage facility would have the first opportunity to look in each and every unit on the premises before it went up for auction. If anything good was in it, they would have either put a shill in the crowd to buy it, or more likely, buy it without putting it up for auction.

I used to rent a storage facility and the owner required a key or the combo to your lock for security reasons. Even if that’s not true any more, taking a set of bolt cutters out to take the lock off and search the unit before putting a new lock back on would cost less than 5 bucks and take less than 5 minutes. Although I’m sure it can happen, I don’t believe anyone is walking away with a treasure trove of old coins, jewelry, or anything else that could be researched.

I hate this show. Oh, and it’s amazing that these guys not only know everything about everything, but if they don’t, they know someone who is an expert in the subject they are researching AND they always buy the stuff from these guys.

I call Bullshit.

I’ve rented several storage units over the years, and I’ve never given the facility folks a key. If it’s an emergency, they can cut the lock off.

I’ve rented many, many storage units down through the years and I’ve never given the owners or managers key copies. Wouldn’t rent from a place that required it.

They have said numerous times they are not a buy/sell antique store; most of their customers are interior designers and set designers.

Yes, sometimes even while on the road to make room for other stuff.

FWIW, the shop’s logo has been in use longer than the show has been on the air.

I hope the store isn’t just a front, but it does seem they shouldn’t be making a living otherwise. Unless they have some clients who will pay big money for rare collectible items to decorate with.

I like them both. Tall guy does seem to pressure the buyers a bit but he has to get the ball rolling. The buyers are usually packrats that wouldn’t sell anything on their own. Tall guy knows his stuff too.

I think the objects are better off being appreciated and seen than rotting away in some storage building or field. I pull for the sellers sometimes too, but mainly because I’d like to see them liquidate a little of their huge inventory of stuff.

Yes, this was my answer as well. I always used a combo lock, and never gave the right combo. I figured if they needed to get in there, they could hack off the lock, but I didn’t like the idea of them having access to my stuff whenever they wanted.

Still, it was their requirement. From the postings, this isn’t in practice at all any more (and this was back in 93 if I recall correctly). I’m guessing most people didn’t like this policy and balked and/or gave fake numbers out, like I did. At my facility, they had a problem with people abandoning their garages/spaces/whatever after they had filled them with old tires and/or used oil and other environmentally unfriendly stuff. Perhaps it was a local facility requirement.

In any event, if I owned a rental facility, a 3 dollar lock is easily replaced with a new one, and I’m chopping the old lock off and looking around before I put anything up for auction. That’s part of the perk for them stiffing me for 6 months worth of rent, as far as I see it. (It may not be legal, but who, other than the owner would know what was in storage to begin with? They are paying a bill before letting $15K worth of silver and gold coins go for $600;

I dunno how it works in the real world but I was always under the impression that legally it was a big no-no to check out the contents of storage unit . I got the impression you had to just put it up for auction. Obviously any possible laws on this probably vary widely from state to state.

I think that kind of chicanery would eventually be sussed out by the corp of experienced bidders and they would just stop attending auctions at those facilities where none of the lockers contained the same ratio of treasures found elsewhere. Winning bids would become too low to make it worth the auction company’s effort and the facility owners would be stuck trying to liquidate the junk themselves. In the long run, plundering the lockers first would yield less than auctioning them off untouched.

Well first, they are followed by a TV crew, so no, they don’t just drive around in that van.

There must be at least a half dozen other persons in addition the the two in the van.

First off, they have 4 cameras mounted inside the van Mike and Frank drive. There is NO personal crew inside the van when they record the 2 of them talking while driving. Secondly, they do get aerial shots of the van driving on open road with Frank and Mike not inside. These are generic shots filmed on random highyways, not actual roads there driving on when going to a picking destinantion. Thirdly, YES they do spoof things up a little for TV, but NO this company “Antique Archiology” has been around for years before the show… There is a camera crew of 3 people, that follow in a seperate vehicle, but yes they do drive the van. If something the buy is too big, they have it shipped to there destination. The people are pre-screened before they arrive to the “picking destination” just like the show PAWN STARS… The people are pre evaluated and have to sign waivers before being on television. An assistant has the papers in hand when they arrive to the picking destination, they must sign the waiver or they will not shoot at the location… Millions of people watch this show and these are only TWO people picking goods. They are busy people running a business and show. So I’m sure they don’t have time to buy and sell prior to the show blowing up on TV. Mike Wolfe is the producer of the show as well and creator. The net worth of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz is listed at $3,000,000.00 each.

Auctions are a net win for the storage unit owners. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on hauling and dumping just to get a unit ready to rent out, they can get it all taken care of in a morning, and the haulers will even pay for the privledge of it. Unit owners don’t have the expertise or means to maximize profits selling stuff themselves. They just want the unit empty as quickly as possible so they can use it to make money according to their business model.

The owner who snoops around is quickly going to find nobody at their auctions, and will have the expense and pain-in-the-butt duty to clean out abandon units themselves.