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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dan Dotson Interview -- Our 100th Blog!

Well, it's been nearly a year since we started this company, and about eight months since we started blogging.  It's hard to believe it, but this blog makes our 100th one, and we thought we'd do something special to celebrate.  So.. without any further delay.. It's here...  finally... our long anticipated interview with Dan Dotson of Storage Wars!    We were on the phone with Dan for over 40 minutes, so obviously we cannot air the entire interview here-- there's also bits and pieces of it that we cannot share with you all because there may or may not be some Storage Wars and industry secrets, but I can tell you that for everyone who comments -- one person will win the chance to listen to the entire phone conversation!


** Update:  We've added in transcription of some of the questions because Dan just talks TOO fast for most of us to keep up with!  You'll see SH for Storage Heroes (or Brian/Rebecca),   DD for Dan Dotson, and LW for Lance Watkins, of Storage Treasures.


If you don't know who Dan Dotson is, you probably are wrong and you just haven't placed the face with the name.  Dan has very quickly turned from successful auctioneer and doting husband and father to successful all of the above WITH a hit TV show, Storage Wars.   Dan and his wife Laura can be seen on every episode of Storage Wars on A&E.   Here are a few pictures of them in action:







Here's a clip of Dan doing his thing on Storage Wars.



Dan Dotson is a 3rd generation auctioneer, and was wildly successful even before Storage Wars, as one of the best auctioneers in America.  After Storage Wars premiered, we've really gotten to know a little more about Dan, but a lot more about his wife, Laura.  We asked Dan how he and Laura met:


Seeing as how one of his bidders was his wife, that brings us to our next question.  Does Dan give preferential treatment to bidders that he is friends with?


SH:  Aww, so it was like a 3 year auction courtship almost!   We were curious if you guys were dating and she was still a bidder, and if, what that's like-- if you have someone show up at one of your auctions, that you're a friend or relative of, and if that's okay, and if people think you're giving them preferential treatment, and, just how do you work that situation??

DD:  That is a great great question, and whenever I see that someone shows up at an auction that I think that someone else might think that I know and it's something sneaky, then normally I will try a little bit extra longer to get that extra bid and I try to make it very clear who's bidding so I try to put myself in a better position for that.  If you're my friend it's probably best that you don't come around and bid because I'm not going to give you a deal and I don't want anybody to take it wrong so I'll probably ask a little bit longer for a little more money before I sell it.

SH:  That's a great way to deal with it.



At this point in the conversation, Brian enters, and well...  here's an interesting conversation about pajama choices!


I guess it's easy to wear money on your pajamas when you are rich. We ask Dan about what changes he's made since becoming a superstar.  He also tells us the secrets behind his famous hair!


SH:  What happened... I mean, Lance showed us the YouTube video of when you guys were featured on the local news, and I know Storage Wars came kind of quickly after that, how did you guys change-- did you change your hair, what you wear, how you do things for TV, or did that all just kind of stay the same?
DD:  You know... umm.. things really haven't changed, I mean, I started getting better haircuts.
SH:  Laughter
DD:  You know, a lot of people they called me, and said I had a toupee, and you know they had said that on our little YouTube video before, so I desperately had to find somebody that would cut my hair right, you know, so it didn't look like a toupee, you know, and I was wearing like a bowling type shirt, and I got away from that pretty quick. I kind of went with the button up stuff, and Laura just did the same.  You know, we're basically the same people that we were before the show-- we're still business people, and we still have a big business that we are running every day, and fitting in the show, and you know, we remembered who our friends were before we started, and they're all still our friends, and you know, you'd be amazed how many new cousins and stuff that actually come out of the woodwork,  I have a lot of friends that I've had for 20-25 years, and some of them call, and I'm really happy to hear from them, and um, you know, because it's been a long time, and other ones call and all I think is you know, what the hell are you calling me for, and I thought you were an asshole 20 years ago, and now you're calling me?  We were friends, and if I remember right, I think you owe me money, or whatever.   I'm the kind of gentleman, I don't even say that, I just tell them thanks for calling, and you know, keep in touch, and hang up the phone and go on,  but you know, nothing changed at all, to be honest with you-- it's just a lot more hectic.




Along those lines, we ask him what it's like being famous:


Rebecca: What's it like for you guys being total celebrities .. not overnight, but I mean what's it like to be recognized in public and have you had to change any of the ways you're doing things because of that?  Are you unable to grocery shop and stuff?
DD:  Yeah, I was just saying that my flashing days are over, I really have to pay attention to what I'm doing.
It's very surreal,  you know Laura and I love people and we love to network and the more clients and networking we make the more money and we love people, right, so this is kind of a natural thing for us ,  it is kind of weird though, every day, 20 or 30 times a day  I'm going down the freeway or I'm in the McDonalds or the Starbucks or wherever I'm at and people do recognize us and they want lots of photos and we usually have swag and you know SWAG stands for Storage Wars Autographed Goodies, and
(Rebecca:  NICE!)
DD:  So we give that out to folks and we like it-- we like the attention, and I'm sure that at some point it might get old but it certainly hasn't yet!




Everyone knows that Dave Hester does YUUUUUP! -- We were kind of wondering what types of calls other people may make when trying to bid on a unit.


SH: What about Barry, I mean Barry obviously has some crazy antics -- are people now trying to do things at your auctions like bring midgets on stilts , you know, like, what's the zaniest thing besides what Barry's done that you've seen?
DD:  Yeah, I, you know, when Barry started coming around we had to break out the rule books and we have all kinds of new rules and some of them I can't even share with you because I'm not sure the show has even been out yet, but for instance, I mean, midgets on stilts is a liability for our insurance!  He's earned those stilts and that's really not something that normally we would do.  I haven't seen too many people do too much crazy crap besides Barry, we've been getting a lot of guys with unique calls- a lot of people are coming off with their own monikers like maybe it's "Right here!"  or "Bid here!" so a lot of people are coming up with their own monikers instead of Dave's YUUUUP! which you know, it's kind of cool. It's very cool.
Rebecca:  That's awesome, and we're huge Saints fans in New Orleans, and I don't know if you know, but our little thing here is WHO DAT!  So maybe we might have to start doing that at auction-- I'm sure Brian would be more than happy to throw out a couple of "Who Dats!"  so, that's actually a pretty good idea
DD:  What's that? WHO DAT??  Say it again??
Rebecca:  Who Dat!  Who D-A-T-- and the reason is, because at games we say "WHO DAT say dey gonna beat dem Saints?"  and the answer of course, is "No one!"
DD:  Alright, we'll have to do that!  WHO DAT!
LW:  Isn't that pretty much everybody that beats the Saints?
Rebecca: OHHH... did you see what we did to the Colts last night?  62-7, and the 7 was because we felt sorry for them!
DD:  Funny, funny.







Speaking of Dave,  here's what Dan said when we asked how he REALLY feels about Dave Hester:


SH: So the #1 thing that people are asking, and I have to tell you, it wasn't me, but people really don't think that you like Dave Hester. What do you really think about him?

Dan Dotson:  Uh, I think that every time Dave yells YUUUP I make money.  I've known Dave for 25 years, and he's an asshole and he's always been one, but I like him, as a person I like him when he's not around auction he's a good guy.  When I do business with him at auction he's very solid, he's really honorable. If he says, if we do a deal, and he owes me 32 dollars and 26 cents, he'll make sure that I have every penny and that everything is there... so I admire Dave and have a lot of admiration for Dave.  I like people to like me and Dave doesn't give a damn whether they like him or not.  And uh, it takes a lot of balls to be like that, that's what I think, it takes a lot of courage for a guy like Dave to just say, you know, I don't care if they don't like me, this is the way I'm going to do it, and when I was  in my early 20s and 30s selling stuff to Dave, he was really hard on a young auctioneer, he'd tell people not to bid, and say, "hey, I think you're going to have to sell this to this place and I don't think you're going to be able to sell it there so you're going to have to do something else with it" and try to discourage them from sort of bidding and stuff, and it was just a lot of, I learned a lot as an auctioneer from a guy like Dave because he brought everything to the table and he had auctioneers learning to defend yourself against that and to defend your sellers so you can make as much money as you can and you know, over the years, I've probably been upset with Dave a couple of times a long time ago, but now he treats me like a million bucks, he doesn't disrespect me, and it's a two way street- I don't disrespect Dave either.  I like Dave, I like everybody on the show, actually, I like Darrell and his son Brandon, I think they're great people, I like Barry, I think he's a nut, I haven't known Barry as long as I've known  everybody else, but Barry's just one hell of a guy, whether he's on camera or he's not on camera, and Jarrod and Brandy, they're a young couple, they're kind of making stuff work and you know, I liked them out of the gate,  I thought Jarrod was a pretty cool cat, and wasn't afraid to work, and you know we sort of helped those folks meet up with the executive co-producers and the folks that cast the show.

Speaking of help, we couldn't resist the opportunity to pick Dan's brain and ask him for advice for all of you that read this blog.  Here's what he had to say:



Rebecca: StorageTreasures is helping us too because we kinda started, you know, it's a key moment down here for New Orleans, because a lot of people in Hurricane Katrina lost all of their things, and stored them maybe a year or two later, so it's kind of just at the period of time where people are stopping to pay and this industry is really picking up here, and it's the perfect time for us, and y'all have been such a big help to us.  What kind of advice would you give to the people that read our blog?  Some are buyers (like us) some are actually tenants, some are people that are just looking to get rid of some of their things, some just like reading about it.  What kind of advice would you give to people like us who do what we do here?
DD:  I tell you what, I think the best advice that anyone can do is to remember to be diversified.  You can diversify the way you buy, you diversify the way you sell, so when you're buying, you're not only buying and selling storage units, you're going to moving and estate sales, you're going to Craigslist, to eBay, you find anything that's shaking within your area and you're going to double or triple your money on it or you're not going to play with it, but if something sells you want to know about it -- same way when you go to sell, you know,  you might go to sell on eBay, you might wholesale out, you might have a store where certain things are great in your store and other things should be on eBay.  Maybe you have vintage watches, maybe there's a great market on eBay for vintage watches, maybe that would sell a lot better there than on the top shelf of the store,  there's certain items that are heavy, they are one of a kind things where you know very narrow amount of people might need it, that might be a good craigslist item, they can stay local, come pick it up, and then they can come pick it up at your place. I would just say that networking with people is very good, it's the best thing that anyone can do, and find out who likes to buy and sell this, who likes to buy and sell that, and get a big group of stuff and say you have a bunch of 4 holed main  engines in there, you don't want to just go scrap them to the scrap guy, no, you want to sell them to the guys that understand these engines and the race components for the 4 bolt main or whatever so I just think that everybody needs to absolutely research what they have, figure out the best way to squeeze money out of it, and don't fall in love with any of it.  If you buy something for a dollar and you can sell it for 2 or 3, great.  If you buy something for a dollar and you only get 90 cents for it, sell the damn thing, keep that 90 cents and re-invest it, and that's what I would say - it's a total roll-over of money, every time you spend a dollar, make your 2 or 3 back.  If you lose a little bit, don't look back, just go, you know, don't, if there's a lot of people in self-storage that day, go look at something else, go find something else, learn who to trust go to an estate sale, when someone's done with an estate sale they've always got stuff there.  A lot of times they'll just give that to someone as long as they clean out the house, or they'll sell it to someone for a little price as long as they clean out the house, so with all these things going on right now, the foreclosure market is just rampant over the nation and I guarantee you that there are companies like Field Asset Service and all the different ones  that are national companies that are hiring people to go and get stuff out of storage and throw it away or put it in storage and sell it depending on what the laws are in that state, so I would say, that you know, I would be working with brokers and stuff that would go and clean out some foreclosures. Looking at every little angle where there might be something for sale and that's where people need to be. I think if the whole nation got off their ass and did that we would be out of trouble. 
Rebecca:  Yeah, we were just talking about that a little while ago before you called.



SH: What do you feel, we didn't expect to have run-ins with former tenants, but we've had quite a few in the last couple of months.  Do you, have you had a crazy instance of a tenant showing up at auction and what's the craziest example of that and what resolved it  or how did the situation resolve itself?
DD: Okay, that's uh, a totally loaded question, because it's happened many times, and I've had everything from the 25 year old gang banger that I thought was going to shoot me to the 75 year old woman that has lost her mind doing snow angels on her stuff and I've seen everything that you can imagine in terms of people coming.  I think what you need to remember when you're doing dealings with these people who have lost it, you should never give them a home address or a home phone or anyway that they can trace you, you should always call from a blocked number or a pay phone or someway that they can't get back ahold of you.  You should  always arrange to take the stuff back to the facility, you know, the personal items, and not have to deal with these people.  If in the event that someone says, I'll pay you triple your money, great, you just need to make sure that you don't bring them to your house and they might end up on your doorstep at 1:00 in the morning with an attitude, you don't need them to know who you are or to drag you into any kind of legal problems. If you are going to deal with somebody and try to sell them their stuff back which is perfectly acceptable but not necessary, you know personal items and photographs and passports, you should give that stuff back, but stuff that has value, that you can sell anywhere, there's not a problem with selling stuff back to the former tenant.  You just want to do it right. You want to have that stuff in your truck, you want to meet them in a public place, if you've told them a certain amount of money that they need to have to get the stuff back you want to meet them and have them show you the money before it comes off the truck, they pay you the money.  You've got it, pay me, help me get the stuff off the truck, and have a good day, and that's the way that it should be. 
Rebecca:  Brian's nodding, he's a lot like you, so y'all would get along famously.




If anyone is wondering what Dan would sound like as a Walmart greeter...  you heard it here first, folks!




It was late for them in California and even later for us here, so it was definitely time to go, but we made sure to tell Dan to visit us if he ever comes down to New Orleans!




We hope you enjoyed the interview!  100 blogs down, 100 more hopefully to go. Thanks so much for sticking with us so far!    In the meantime, check out the endorsement Dan made for us to bring more traffic to our site!


Our thanks to Dan Dotson, of American Auctioneers,  for being so kind as to interview with us, and Storage Treasures who made this all possible.  Storage Treasures is probably the single most important resource for someone new to this business, so you definitely want to make sure you sign up on their website -- they provide great auction tips and compile them in a way that makes them easy to find and easy to network with other people in this business, whether it is the stay-at-home Mom who lists her items on eBay or the picker from Texas who has his own store, or people like us.  There are forums for advice, figuring out what your item is worth, connecting with other auction goers in your area, and even forums where you can ask Dan Dotson, Dave Hester, The Redneck Picker, and other celebrities in our industry whatever questions you would like!    Storage Treasures is also one of the only sites that provides information on auctioneers, facilities, and dates and times of auctions for free-- giving you a dashboard where you can bookmark and pin your favorite locations for future reference.  Additionally, there are a ton of contests -- most recently an iPad was given away, and there are all kinds of goodies from Storage Wars!   There's a contest going on now, in fact, on Twitter, one lucky reader who retweets ST's latest tweet will win their own signed Elvis newspaper (found in a unit by Dave Hester and featured on an episode of Storage Wars)-- so get right on that!  Throughout the interview, you'll hear the voice of Dan Dotson, and also the voice of Lance Watkins of Storage Treasures.  We're glad that we're friends with both of these gentlemen and expect nothing but even greater things from both of them in the future!  (Even if they AREN'T Saints fans!)

Until next time,

Storage Heroes

PS - We've received lots of feedback on this blog that Dan just talks TOO FAST for most of you to keep up with!  We'll be adding transcript to certain questions soon, so make sure to check back to this blog... ADDED!

PPS -  If you're a new reader to this blog, welcome!  You can see a pretty good conglomeration of our tips and posts here:  Best of Storage Heroes Compilation

Friday, February 3, 2012

Letters from a Storage Locker #11: Prison Letters 101

  Hi there!  Rebecca here... although Brian discussed this blog with me earlier today!  I have lots of pictures and things to share-- but first, I wanted to drop by to share some of the prison letters we found in the unit this morning.

For those of you who read the blog often, you know how often we find letters--  there is at least one letter or greeting card in virtually every unit we buy.  You also know how many of those are letters from prison.  I guess it makes sense if you think about it-- most people now use e-mail and texting so much that postal mail is all but extinct.  The only people who use it are the ones who are forced to, and the last time I checked you can't have blackberries or iPhones in prison.  Since there is also a high correlation between people who are incarcerated and tenants of our abandoned/repossessed storage units, you can imagine how many of these letters we find.

(Slightly obscene for the rest of the blog, as a warning)--  Because we've read, to date, HUNDREDS of prison letters, we can tell you that oddly enough, most of them are exactly the same.   There are really only a few issues on a prisoner's mind  (to date we've only had 2 females incarcerated out of about 28 writers total, so forgive us when all of our instances are male):
1)  Family -- How his family is doing (are babies okay, how is Dad, is anyone angry with him, etc).
2) Timeline -- When his time is up and how he's either completely guilty and sorry or completely innocent
3)  Extra-curricular activities --  How he's either found God (and some corresponding bible verses) or an update on weight-lifting, reading, and/or competitive prison football, soccer, softball, or baseball leagues

The next two topics sound terrible, but we promise we are not making them up.  And they occur OFTEN.
4)   Sex-- when they are going to have it, how soon it's going to be, how they need to book a babysitter, what parts of the female are going to be sore or hurting afterwards, exactly what they're going to do-- play by play.  They also (most of them) go on to give the woman exact specifications for how she should be shaved and/or douched.  It must be a popular topic in prison.
5)  Money -- They then go on to request a money order, usually for some tiny amount like $20 or $25, and then give a plea about how hard it is without money and how they really need it.  Most (not all) then give some sort of statement like "if you really loved me, you'd send me a measly little $20"      -- at this point we usually start mocking the letter out loud with "if you really loved HER you shouldn't have landed yourself in jail and left her to care for the kids alone"  -- but we guess that's none of our business.  We've also never been in jail, so I guess we don't know how hard it is.

These particular letters that we're about to post are VERY RARE, for two reasons.    (Sorry, we're in a listing/numbering mood,  I guess--- at least we're not doing our usual  1, 2, C  or A, B, 3 thing!)

1)  This guy asks for money and how is family is and all of those types of things, but it's the first time I think I've ever read one from a guy who seems like a genuinely nice person.  I won't tell you what his charges were until the blog with the rest of the contents of the unit, and I realize not to judge people by appearances alone-- but I was pleasantly impressed by the sincerity.  Brian, of course, reminded me not to be such a softie!

2)  This is the first example I think we have ever had where we have not only the man from jail's response, but also his girlfriend's reply.  Very rarely do we ever get more than one side of the letters (because unlike e-mail, letters don't come with the entire conversation attached for easy reference)-- and if we do happen to get a letter or more from each party they aren't exactly consecutive.  These were written just days apart.

PS - Names have been changed.  We will refer to wife as "Priscilla"  and husband as "Reggie"

Okay, that's enough of us... without further delay, here are the letters:

****


To:  Priscilla "Wifey"  & Lil Reggie "Jr"
From:  Reggie "Husband"  "Father"
Time: 10:15 pm
Date:  7-15-2008
Reason:  Be Honest!  Love Me 4eva!    I love you more than you'll ever know!
Request:
Song:  Maxwell "Fortunate"
Artist: "Maxwell"


Hello Honey Bun!
                 First and foremost I love you!  And no matter how you respond to this dont ever forget that... I heard the news my baby boy walking (yea!!) I was depressed but when I walk thru that door he gonna take his 1st steps towards daddy... I'm here until the 11th of august I aint trippin im Strong Enough!  I know you cutting my baby hair that I aint to happy about but I can't do nothing but except that part too!  Im missing all the goodness of my 1st born :(  I cant even lie after the way this has turned out I dont know who I am anymore or with way ima go when I get out... Im a poor excuse for a daddy to my son its turning out thie way my relationship is with my father... Why me! :( My son deserves better and I feel pain upon the thought of him!  He has never been away from me this long and im scared of his first expression upon seeing me!  Really the way I be feeling I wanna get released and just vanish from the whole world (why?) beause everything I always dreamed of from you for me has already came to a crash.. I left my son with no fatherly influence!  I left you to be taken into another man's arms I tell you if I would have ever had this even in a dream I would have never built a life cause I wouldn't wish this on no woman and her child!  Im sorry :( !  I'm glad he has you though cause just as you always told me im unfit and yall don't need me!  Enough of that on the bright side though!  I will be home before your birthday!  Anything and I mean anything you wanna do you can do!  :)  Priscilla I want us to have an open and honest relationship meaning ! if you wanna go on dont hold back.. If you already moved on warn me... If you having sex while im down tell me!  I know you a growing woman and you young and you aint obligated to wait for me because I fucked up not you!! I wont be mad nor will I ever bring it up to you I just dont want any surprises not saying it wont hurt because either way it will I just will be able to respect you more if you be open!  Dont get down and think I dont trust you just remember we been together for some time and I know what you capable of... if we still good after this our date is gonna be the 22nd thats the day I wanna marry you!  I don't know what you said about my daughter either so let that be known in your response letter!! :)  Again to you and Lil Reggie I'm sorry y'all didn't deserve this but neither did I our finances were just starting to boom the job was platinum I aint lying :( ... I cant make up the time lost but I could pick up where I left off and even better! Black!  I aint lying I don't even know myself anymore sometimes I just sit on the toilet and cry about the life I lead!  I don't do much wrong but smoke weed but I still cant figure out how I always end up in this pit... Being totally honest i'm so embarrassed that my mind sometimes tells me to just go straight out of town when I get out don't even bother with yours nor lil reggie life more than I already have!  It's yo call tho!!   If you feel I could never be what yall need the type of man y'all need then don't even try to put up with my shit anymore you deserve what you deserve nothing more nothing less I feel like i'm only pulling you down with me!  Im crying as I write this because you reading this and I never wanted to confess this to you but I gotta get it out!  I don't even know what i'm worth to myself :(  Im not myself anymore this has really messed me up!  Im sorry yall!  I love yall!!! Take it easy. 


Signed:  A father & Husband.


If you could when u write back send me like a $20.00 money order!  only if you could!  Don't bust yo ass for it...


P.S. I only meant and still mean good for us as a family!!!




*****
(Here's the second letter... you should know that all the i's are dotted in hearts!)


7/17/08 
To: My 1 and only lifetime Partner 
4rm: Your #1 Fan + Rad Chikk
Place: on Da porch
Time: 4:03P.M.
Mood:  Mellow
Song:  Brown Eyes, I carve, Dont 4get about us, Always Be My Baby
Artists:  Destiny child, Marc Dorsey, Mariah Carey, Mariah Carey
Reason thinking --->  You think I forgot about you :(


Whats Good Love,


What the buisness is?  Well before I get started let me update you on the buisness first :)  Well I know moms told you that Lil Reggie is walking with his duck feet ass. LOL.  Bae I cant wait til you see him.  Im sorry you missed his walking 1st. But dont worry ite have plenty more 1st 2 go.  I been fine.  I been way better since I know those drug charges were refused. I know you have been to. I miss you.  I sent you a letter b4 this but from the sounds of you being mad at me :( I guess it didnt reach you.  I hope this 1 does.  Well Reggie I hate to say it but Pebbles had a party June 26th and it was nice but at about 1:30am May 27th Frankie passed away.  I didnt make the funeral but I heard some ppl put on a show.  You know how that go.  Not only that, Pam has cancer and has only about 3 to 6 months to live, so not to be funny but she'll be seeing Frankie again pretty soon.  I know huh, Dats cold.  Well Reggie I hope since I havent been Hearing from you, you havent been writing to no one else, cause if you have I wont like that.  Remember when I told you, we all we got.  Forever and a day, and I would never forget about you?  Well I meant that shit, I'm yours forever Lil Reggie think he cold since he got 8 teeth and walking LOL.  Boy I must say he stunts like his DA DA. LOL.  But He aint gone never get no wifey if he keep eating paper, like right now. Im about to start school In August, I'm going to take up "RN" but I have to become a medical assistant 1st.  Tell me how does that sound.  August is whats up right now.  August I start school August 9 Mom N Law Bday August 22 My Bday But Most important August 10 My baby a free man again But this time for the rest of your life.  Snook keep talking bout you.  Not bad but he always saying something you been said and make us laugh.  So thats how I know that this shit eating him up in the inside.  But just like he threw it this time, next time somebody else gotta catch it, and I know just who that somebody gonna be.  But I been doing pretty good just mad at the fact that you mad with me.  Dont be sweetie I never meant to make you mad.  I got another tattoo on my back.  You know where I got you name. But on the other should I got a Big B with a crown on it. Dats me :)  Picture I got it done in the kitchen.  Bernaje keep telling ppl shut up :) with his bad ass.  Pebbles thought she saw you and Big Red said you gone get drunk when you come home.  Everybody miss you.  To bad they barely gonna see you when you get out Isac called me he said you told him to tell me you love me and he said you was driving him and he was happy when he got out cause you talked about me 24, 7 Sun-Sat non stop.  LOL... you love me that much? I talked to Chris he called me Mrs. Reggie (last name) I was blushed out, he really really think we married, but he said he gone keep in touch with me and you cause you not built for jail you the family type guy.  He told me something I already know.  Well I'm bout to shag cause I don't have anything else to say.  But sit tight cause Momma Lisa and Baby Moms is at your rescue.  I love you o so very much.  O yeah I showed Lil Reggie a picture of you on my computer and that Lil boy got up walked to the computer and didn't move til I clicked to another picture.  My boy know who him Daddy is, with his Daddy Lemon head ass. See you soon Babe I gotta go.  NO wait did you get my pics from the first letter?  Okay now I gotta go. PS all my letters be sloppy because I be having alot of shit to say.  But who cares.  I hope you understand this.


Yours truly,
Mrs. Priscilla (his last name)


When you touchdown I want you to love me in a special way... is that okay with you?  O yeah i hope my letter squashed our beef... baby... but im serious I dont want to beef with you.  Smooches...





Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blue 42!



We bought this unit back around the first week of January-- one of the days where we bought 3 units in one day.   There was the Company Unit, the Penny Saved Unit, and this unit--  a football coach's unit.  With the Super Bowl coming quickly, we figured this was an appropriate time to finally get to this particular blog!

When the doors rolled open, the unit was in slight disarray but not as bad as we've seen at this particular facility in the past.  Immediately visible was a trunk, some bins, and a lot of sports equipment and memorabilia.  Helmets, jerseys, and footballs were all immediately visible along with what looked like it might be camping equipment.  We found out later it was actually tailgating equipment, but I guess it serves either purpose!  I can't remember what we paid for the unit, but I'm pretty sure it was $100-something.   Here's the initial picture:


After we paid up and such, we immediately headed back to see what we had.  Storage Heroes reader & fellow auction buyer Chris just happened to be hanging around, so thanks to him we have a few more pictures of this part than we normally would have!   Here are the first two bins that I pulled out of the locker:

The bins contained a TON of coaching materials.  And when I say a ton, I mean, chock-full.  There were playbooks, depth charts, paperwork for drafting players and evaluating players, and all sorts of other goodies.  Apparently our tenant had coached at both the high-school and college level and had accumulated paperwork from all 7 schools that had previously employed him.  Normally, someone may just throw this away, but we find value in everything, and fortunately, both Chris & another of our friends are football coaches, so they got most of this material to put to good use!

The next box that we pulled out contained more football equipment-- pom poms, pieces of uniform and equipment, and a megaphone, which much to my chagrin, Brian took an instant liking to.  Like he NEEDS to be any louder!


More coaching materials including books & playbooks.  I'm sure these coaches and schools would be totally dismayed to learn that these playbooks were floating around!  On the bright side, at least they are a few years old so the players/plays are probably not completely up to date anymore.  Our friends will still be able to have a nice educational resource, however.

We finally had the area around the trunk cleared out, so it was time to finally get that bad boy opened.  The auctioneer and facility management had warned us that the tenant had called and indicated that there was a large amount of personal pictures and paperwork that they wanted back, and that it was so much that instead of bringing it down to the office (our usual procedure), we should just leave it inside the unit when we're done.   They also warned us that a great deal of it might be enclosed inside a trunk-- so we weren't expecting much of monetary value from this -- but we were eager to get it open anyway, out of curiosity's sake.

As expected, it was entirely full of personal documents.  What wasn't expected was the AMOUNT of personal items.  Jerseys, t-shirts, yearbooks (at least 12, pictured here),  photo albums, and more--- why couldn't something so organized and sentimental be kept elsewhere?

Another picture of the contents of the trunk:

Back to the unit --- there was a lot more to get out, but for now we just had to take what we could and leave the rest for the next day.  Here's a photo of contents we were able to uncover but not yet go through:


More contents we'd have to go through the following day:

Before we left, we also found quite a few autographed posters.  One of the 2006 Indianapolis Colts,  one or two from the college teams this tenant coached for, and one really cool old poster of every single player of a team that New Orleans used to have in the early 1990s but doesn't anymore, the New Orleans Night.  Our current Arena Football team is the New Orleans Voodoo and our NFL team is of course the Saints, but before the Voodoo we apparently had this team the Night.   A poster of every player of a team that doesn't exist any longer is pretty cool, in our opinion.  If I can track down pictures of these items I'll post them here.

The next day, I was all alone for the first little bit of the dig... here's a video I took of how the unit looked:
    video

Brian came by later and we were able to get all of the items out (minus personal documents)... and get it into the van.  While we were there we got a phone call from a TV producer looking to feature us in a show (don't get too excited, it happens ALL THE TIME these days)-- and while I talked to him, Brian did a fantastic job of sorting personal versus sale items and loaded the van.   We just basically did a drive by, packed and left.    Before we left though we did manage to have a tiny bit of fun:


In this video, you'll see me stepping on glass (my 2nd injury of that unit--  I had stuck my hand through a screw in the wall accidentally the day before),  and forgetting later on and putting a helmet on my head that broken glass was inside-- showering it all over myself, while Brian, of course, laughed hysterically.

You'll also see my beloved Southern Belle t-shirt, given to us by our friends at 300 Balloons.

The next day, Saturday, we were having a garage sale at our warehouse location.  The weather was terrible so business was relatively slow--  there were still customers but both of us weren't needed.  Brian entertained the customers and sold to them while I diligently looked through what he had packed up the day before.


A bunch of Helmets, caps, uniforms, and football equipment (from a local high school).  It's VERY similar to the New England Patriots logo so maybe we'll be able to get rid of some of it this week before the Superbowl! ;)

A bunch of footballs, some deflated:


This particular ball is very cool--we knew it was a game ball but didn't know why/how until we researched it further for the entire story...

Apparently, this was a football game that occurred on September 23rd, 1989 (duh) between Cincinnati and Miami.  Cincinnati obviously won.   Okay, now here comes what you can't tell just by looking at it.  For starters, Miami does not refer to the U (University of Miami), but Miami University located in Oxford, Ohio.    These two schools have a big rivalry,  a rivalry so huge that they have their own bowl game each year that has occurred each year since 1888.    In this game, the Cincinnati Bearcats play the Miami Redhawks in what is now called the Victory Bell.  (Follow the link for a history and scores).   In this particular year of the bowl game, Cincinnati won-- but what's even more peculiar about that particular season, is that it is their ONLY WIN of the entire 1989 season.    Pretty cool, right?  We're currently talking to some experts and should have this ball up for sale on Craigslist / eBay / Bonanza soon.  Let us know if you know a diehard Cincinnati football fan that would be interested!

Moving on...

Brian's megaphone (groan)

Some gym bags, always useful... plus, another bin!

A sample of the thousands of football plays we came across:

More football plays:

A drawing of an elf, drawn by the tenant's child:


More football books:

More football books and coaching books  (also some inspirational books, always useful):

More folders full of football plays:

A really cool official NFL Saints Football tin... THIS will DEFINITELY go to good use!

A typical story of tenant paperwork-- lots of cash now loans, past-due bills, evidence of prior defaults at other storage units, and lots of bad check notifications. Among the notifications were TWO---  one for a bad check for $35.00, written to Domino's Pizza,  and another a year later, for $175.00 for... you guessed it... Domino's Pizza.  I can ONLY assume that these were to feed the team!  (I hope)....   the tenant sure had terrible luck when it came to writing checks for pizza!


There were also some confidential documents that should have NEVER left the school system.  We find this a lot and always try to return them to the school system, but it's a shame that this happens in the first place.  If someone defaults on their own storage unit, that's one thing-- but I can't believe people default knowing that other people's confidential information can get out to strangers!    Normally we do return all documents to the facility for the tenant, but because these were in the Saints tin we missed them--- because it's not the property of the tenant; however, we will return it straight to its owner, the school system.  Pictured below, is a confidential student evaluation, and also some other poor student's ACT score report-- I hope they got a copy of them!

As mentioned, we also had a lot of other things, but they were nothing spectacular or exceptionally noteworthy so we didn't take pictures.  Plus, we were trying to get 2-3 units out that day!  

Other finds included:
* a large grill
* a portable grill for tail-gating
* a cooler
*a portable fridge that you can plug into a car's AC adapter 
* 2 air mattresses
* a portable radio
*a portable TV
* a patio table
* several pop up chairs (we call them "Mardi Gras chairs" in New Orleans as they are very useful for festivals and parades.  We will DEFINITELY be using them in a couple of weeks!)

that, combined with the football memorabilia, the megaphone, and all of the information we were able to share with our coach friends equals....  are you ready?


TOUCHDOWN!

Until next time,

Storage Heroes

PS - If anyone can tell us WHAT movie our title for this blog is from, and WHAT it refers to in the movie, you will win a $5 gift card to Sports Authority.    First person with the correct answer in the comments wins!

Gold-Digger

Greetings!  Rebecca here.

Last week we bought five units, you probably know that by now--  here is the story of Unit #5.  

When I bought this one, I was well aware of several things:
1)  It was disheveled looking and full of lots of crap
2) It was on a 2nd floor at a facility that does not have a people elevator, only a freight elevator
3) It was at a facility that is not climate controlled
4) Most of what was there was paperwork
5)  The tenant (judging by the cut lots and other facility boxes) had defaulted before.

I knew that this would discourage most of our competition from buying the unit.  I was okay with that, because I also knew these things:
1)  I could see TONS of high-end bags and boxes.  Aldo, Banana Republic, Zales, J. Crew.  They were obviously all empty, but I knew the person had the money at some point, so I was optimistic about that. They may have "mis-spent" their money on designer items as opposed to being financially responsible (paying for storage unit, for example). 
2)  I could definitely see quite a few textbooks and we've had some luck selling those before at a local College Bookstore, so I knew if I could keep the bidding low, we'd at least not lose money.
3)  I know that units that look THAT ransacked have a high probability of having some kind of forgotten treasure (a tiny piece of gold, perhaps)...  
4)  I knew the freight elevator was RIGHT next door and that it was pretty easy to operate.
5) I had my "gold radar" go off... don't ever ignore your instincts. 

So, with all of that said, Brian was supportive and I took the unit up to $75 and we were soon the proud owners of it.
It was a tiny little thing, about 3 X 7 or so...  and was an odd size.  It should have been pretty easy to clean out (10-15 minutes tops) but we decided to do the digging on site because aside from all of the junk and paperwork that was tossed randomly all over the floor, the stuff that was actually in boxes was in boxes that were falling apart.  So...  we wanted to re-sort, tape up boxes, and discard trash right away.
We started getting this one on Friday night and finished it a few days later.

Here's what the unit looked like when the doors rolled open:






Pretty much every box was disheveled and disorganized.  Most people would just look quickly and throw most of it away, but we get ahead in this business by being thorough.  I started by going through piece by piece. Here's the first box I opened:

We found a pamphlet... for something.  I have no idea.  Brian looks pretty excited by it, though!


If Brian remembers what this is, I'll have him post here.  Here's as blown up as I can get the picture... kind of blurry.  Sorry!

Box #2 contained nothing but socks & underwear:

Every SINGLE piece of underwear was designer.  Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, etc.  We see this a lot.  It's amazing how people can spend $35 on a pair of underwear but they can't pay a $79 a month storage locker bill.     This was my favorite pair of drawers:


I've seen some decorative hand-towels in my day, but never one to commemorate a Hurricane!

We found out quickly throughout the process that our lady was a nurse at a local hospital.  In between her textbooks and TONS of paperwork (bills, letters, etc) - were random assorted needles, drug samples, syringes, gauze, etc.  Here is one such example:

Some of the syringes even still had some type of liquid in them!    See the air bubble in this one?

The only reason I took a picture of this is because I found about 12 business cards for various businesses...  Hair Salons, Accountants, Morticians, etc. Finding the business cards wasn't the strange part-- the part that was odd is that EVERY SINGLE CARD featured a man and a woman dressed in formal attire... almost like a prom picture.  Here is one such picture.  (I wish I would have saved the others but I didn't realize the pattern until about the 4th card).  In this one, the gal is in a prom dress, and the guy is in a little bit more casual attire, but you get the point.  And what on earth does an umbrella have to do with a hair salon?   If this company wants to let us know, we'd appreciate it.  Either way-- hopefully this mention in our blog will bring you some business, buddy!
                                         

Next box:


TONS of scrubs.  Always a good thing!

There were also a ton of dog toys, which I'm sure Lola will appreciate at some point!

 An ENTIRE bag of clothing donated to the little dog, which, to my dog's chagrin, is about the same size!

A lot of the clothing was brand new with tags.  And of course, you guessed it,  designer.

It dawned on me after a few pictures that a lot of the clothing was actually created for babies (because I don't think Ralph Lauren makes clothing for dogs)---  the tenant was buying the baby clothing and adapting it for the puppy.  Still... I don't get how you can pay $25 for a shirt for a baby to be used for a dog, and not be able to pay storage on a storage locker.  But I digress.

Another doggie shirt:

More doggie clothes and accessories- brand new with tags, never used:

I was putting the doggie clothing away when one caught my eye.  Black & Gold, with lots of sparkle, I immediately thought it was New Orleans Saints related and that made me love it even more.  No dice, to Brian's disappointment, but it IS cool because it's my Storage Heroes nickname--  "Gold Digger" -- and boy did I earn that nickname on THIS unit!

I present to you, exhibit A:    This bag looked like a bag of trash.  Brian was going to throw it away.  I looked briefly through it and almost concurred, until I realized that there were negatives and photos-- realizing that the tenant actually had all sorts of items in there, I looked through it more thoroughly. It's a good thing I did, because I found our first golden item!

Ahh... now that's what I call dedication!  You gotta do what you gotta do!

Here's what I found:


A pair of 14k gold earrings with 1/4 carat diamonds, that originally retailed for $599.99.  Not too shabby!


I also found this advertisement for iMonk.  I have no idea what it is, but I had to show Brian and take a photo.   Maybe Brian can help extend the iMonk community even further!


Further proof that cell phone boxes in units NEVER, EVER have working cell phones inside them:

See?  Believe us now?
 On the bright side, we did get yet another cell phone charger.  Make this charger #9 that fits our phones.  We have chargers EVERYWHERE!  Not a bad problem to have at all-- especially when you mobile upload 1000 pictures a day!

Another bag, full of designer bags...  there was a designer bedspread from Nautica (the package was empty)

And bags from Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein.  At least they were all in amazing shape.


Inside one of the bags I found quite a few Zales boxes, and got really excited, until I realized they were empty:
 This one was a really nice case and would make a great jewelry travel case.

Another empty Zales box:


After 3 or 4 more of these, I finally found one that WASN'T empty:

Some more 14k gold earrings.  We've definitely now paid for our locker and then some, just in gold.


More medical supplies:

Ahh, the standard Crown Royal bag.  I cannot even begin to express to you how many of these we have found.  It's one of the most common Storage locker items behind condoms and fake hair.   We have found to date over 25 Crown Royal bags.  And it's always interesting what people put in them--- typically it's costume jewelry or pennies.  Sometimes even makeup.  I found the other day while reading a book by Nina Garcia (Project Runway Judge and Marie Claire Magazine editor)-- thanks EF--- that she actually recommends that women carry these to put their makeup in while they travel.  Nina-- I think they got the message because they are EVERYWHERE!  Let's see what's in this one...  Any guesses?

Costume jewelry, makeup, AND condoms!  Everything you need for a night out on the town!  Thanks, Crown Royal!

Another random box:
 More paperwork.  At least the bottom was filled with a ton of little girls brand new hair accessories.  Since our tenant did not have a child, I assume that this again was for the dog.  I'm glad I thought they were cute and looked closer, because I did find yet another piece of 14k gold inside this one.

Another seeming bag of garbage:

It contained a bag full of receipts and paperwork (we often see a LOT of the same paperwork-- it's lots of Cash Advance contracts, past-due bills, and traces of the person moving, being sued, writing bad checks, etc.   There are also at least 5 certified letters from OTHER Storage facilities in other states telling her they are going to auction off her things-- you would figure a person would learn at some point!)  Generally these people who pack so haphazardly and have these kinds of papers all over are pretty much the same when it comes to their levels of financial irresponsibility.   What's ironic, is that the people who usually have THIS kind of paperwork, are the same people who have nothing but name brand, expensive, designer stores receipts & boxes & bags inside their lockers.    It gives a whole new meaning to "living beyond your means"---   that Calvin Klein boxers set or Nautica bedspread may have just cost you a couple hundred dollars of jewelry.   It also COULD have lost you your pictures and keepsakes, if we weren't responsible people and returned them like we were supposed to.

It all looks like trash but again, I go through it thoroughly-- they call me "Gold Digger" for a reason...  I sniff out gold and I'm not afraid of digging!

So far nothing but crap...

And a crumpled up old gift bag with tissue paper still inside, that I decide to open up anyway.
 And btw, I shouldn't be admitting this, but I will tell you that I was so tired that it took me about 2 minutes to figure out what S - now meant.  The snowflake is what finally helped me figure it out :)


Good thing I opened it!  A really nice piece of jewelry was inside:
 It's not gold but it does appear to be sterling. And it will do-- it's a nice piece and really beautiful.  Plus it comes with matching earrings.


See the other thing in the picture above?  Nestled in the bottom of the bag, under all the paperwork, was a jewelry box.  Finally!  We'd gotten a couple of pieces of really nice gold and had at least quadrupled our money (not counting the free toys for my dog)... but a little lagniappe (extra, for those of you not from New Orleans)  never hurts anyone!    Upon opening it, I screamed several times for Brian, but it took him 20 minutes to respond.  Turns out he was having a fight with a tenant across the parking lot who was locked out of his storage unit (for failure to pay) and was taking it out on Brian by asserting that he move the vehicle, because we were "blocking his way"  even though a) we were parked at least 5 feet across the roadway from him, and b) he couldn't get into his unit anyway, besides the fact that he was not ready to get anything out of there anyway, but I digress.  Brian eventually came up and looked at our newfound booty:


Some costume jewelry but another couple of solid pieces of 10K and a bunch of sterling and gold plated sterling silver.  All in all, not a bad dig at all!


Recap:
Total Spent:  $75
Which yielded:
*  Gold, silver, and gold-plated silver, totaling probably around $425
*  Medical supplies that we may or may not be able to sell or donate to someone who can use them
*  A few stethoscopes that we will be selling
* Tons of scrubs
* Textbooks
* A brand new wardrobe and toy chest for Lola
* an iMonk advertisement
* and hours of fun!

Not too shabby!

Until next time,

Storage Heroes

Storage Heroes Tip #31:  If a unit is haphazardly packed, it can be good or bad, depending on what you're looking for.  If you want furniture or nice large pieces that you can resell- back away!  You won't find anything good here.  But if you're a true "treasure hunter"-- this is kind of a good sign.  It means that the tenant might not have been able to get in and take out their jewelry, memorabilia, etc-- because they might not have been able to find it in a hurry!  Plus, it may discourage other bidders so you may get a cheaper deal!   Bottom line, haphazardly packed = bad for furniture / electronics / household items,  good for possible jewelry and/or cash.


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