I watched Storage Wars one night this week. I have watched it more times than I care to admit. It holds the interest of all three members of my family. I'm not proud that we watch it but, hey, we do.
I find the cast of characters mildly interesting. The material uncovered can be unusual and mysterious. However real the show is, I don't know. It's a reality show - that is not a guarantee that it reflects real life. That's ok, there is some entertainment value.
What I find less acceptable or, at least, something to think about is why the original owners of the storage units have defaulted on rent and left behind their belongings. The units, or most of them, do not appear to be treasure troves of collectible items that people needed to store offsite. Rather, they are filled with the everyday items of people's lives. There are coffee tables, microwave ovens, mattresses and, sadly, toys. Where are the people who leave all these things behind? What circumstances led them to pack up their belongings and place them in a storage unit and then, at some point, leave that behind?
The economy in the United States has suffered in recent years. I watched a heartbreaking story on 60 Minutes about the children of families forced by economic struggles to live in hotels or with friends. It's tough for kids. When a family is in a situation like that, I guess keeping up payments on a storage locker isn't a high priority. Keeping the family together, looking for jobs and somehow surviving, are more important.
Maybe the items in the storage lockers don't matter too much and it's ok for buyers to swoop in and bid on what they want. It's sad to see a family's belongings rammed into a small space and then abandoned but the family matters more. Some families are learning, as they face crushing financial difficulties, that life is about a lot more than material belongings. I hope that things get better for the people in these situations and that, in whatever form home takes, they can soon be home again. And that, at some point, they will have a coffee table on which to place their favourite beverage or their treasured toy.