Is Storage Wars Fake, Staged or For Real?

You’d be surpised how often people ask whether or not Storage Wars is fake or for real – is it staged? Do people stuff the units beforehand to allow the pickers to find all the best loot?

Just who are these auction unit buying weirdos we see each episode and is this whole thing legit or not? Yes and No – yes the storage auctions themselves are real and not staged, and NO, you will not have the same experience as these auction hunters when you go out to start buying delinquent lockers near you.

The secret behind Storage Wars is volume. An insane level of volume. The amount of storage auctions the crew is filming at any given point is staggering and most casual or amateur storage auction hunters just won’t be able to keep up the same pace due to job and family related time contraints.

Dan Dotson and his wife on the set of storage wars filming

Meanwhile, we’ve seen plenty of claims on youtube and storage auction blogs that its possible to prove storage wars is all a sham if you just carefully watch the editing.

I think the truth behind Storage Wars is that there’s a little bit of everything going on. Yes, the show is highly stylized and designed to get folks excited about these sales.

No, you’re not going to find a vintage coca-cola machine in the next locker you buy that’s worth 40K on eBay. Yes, the show is going out of its way to provide exciting storage buying entertainment by filling the episodes with vibrant and interesting characters like Jarrod Schulz, Brandi Passante and Dave the Mogul.

Storage War's Brandi Passante

Yes, Storage Wars is intentionally overselling the possible, but rare, sweet loot that can be found in public storage auctions.

So, perhaps the best answer to the question of whether or not Storage Wars is staged is “Yes and No”. Yes, there is some indirect deception going on here in the name of good entertainment.

But let’s face it. If Storage Wars showed you the true real-life frequency with which you find great scores in storage lockers up for sale, we probably wouldn’t want to tune in as much. At the end of the day, it makes for great TV, which is why it’s so successful.

In the meantime, would be auction buyers are cautioned to carry more realistic expectations into their own local storage buying efforts. You definitely can make money doing this, and you definitely could find some of the sweet loot they come across, but you’re not going to find something to scream about in each and every unit.

Now, there are plenty of people on Yahoo Answers that are convinced storage wars totally fake – that every united is pre-loaded with goodies and all the action is scripted. There are also reports that visitors to storage wars filming sites have seen unit tampering go down and that attendees have been coached by the crew to do certain things to up the show value such as arguing over a unit.

On the flipside of the coin, having heard from some of the managers that oversee properties featured on the show, it’s not that simple of an open and shut case. The fact of the matter is that truly delinquent and legally repossessed storage lockers cannot be tampered with in most states unless the facility, its managers and their parent company all want to open themselves up for a big nasty lawsuit.

Of course, it’s not impossible to conceive of crafty film crews borrowing an open locker at a facility to prep up with the latest goods from Costco, but it’s just not as simple to mess around with legitimate storage units as everyone assumes. If Storage Wars were to be a total fabrication, they would be prepping and then later opening entirely free and clear storage lockers borrowed from facilities just for that purpose.