BY CATHERINE GRIWKOWSKY ,EDMONTON SUN
FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012 08:35 AM MST | UPDATED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012 08:43 AM MST

sun-jan-2012

Glenn and Betty MacLeod stand outside of a storage locker auction with Crap2Cash owner Jon Stachyruk in Edmonton, Alberta, Jan. 12, 2012. The MacLeod’s say there is an increase in the number of people showing up to auctions. Meanwhile, U-Haul has banned the cast and crew of Storage Wars from their property. (CATHERINE GRIWKOWSKY/QMI AGENCY)

 

 

Storage locker auctions have exploded in popularity in Edmonton because of reality TV hits like A&E's Storage Wars.

For some, it's a money-making hobby. For some, it's a laugh. For others, it's exploitive.

Armed with flashlights and price points in mind, dozens of auction-goers peered into lockers with garbage bags, plastic chairs, boxes and leather couches on Thursday at a series of auctions across the city.

Glenn and Betty MacLeod have been heading to storage auctions for about a year.

However, in the past few months, attendance and prices have soared, the couple said.

Betty said without connections to people who can sell items such as tables and chairs, you can end up with a full house.

Her husband replied, "You're going to be on Hoarders."

And there's much more work to buying and selling units than television would have you believe, Betty said.

"If people are looking at buying units they gotta be aware that there's a lot of junk in them," she said.

'A LOT OF WORK'

"They're going to have to take it to the dump, or sort through it. It's a lot of work. People think I'm going to go there and I'm going to find something that's worth a million bucks, but that's not how it works."

Betty said television shows have people disillusioned about exactly what is in the units. She said — to her knowledge — there have been no massive finds in Edmonton.

Gary Grove is a first-timer at the auctions. He saw an ad in the paper and thought he would check it out.

"It's just fun, cheap entertainment," he said.

He was among many looking for treasure at the auction Thursday. One unit sold for $10 at a north-end storage facility. Another soared to $1,400.

Not everyone thinks of the experience as fun.

U-Haul is "appalled" by shows like Storage Wars, said company spokeswoman Joanne Fried.

"We think it's horrible that someone is thriving on someone else's losses and it's just really ugly to watch," she said.

"If you're a person who is losing your belongings and now you see it on TV being auctioned, it doesn't make you feel very good."

The company has denied the cast and crew of Storage Wars access to its storage unit properties.

@SunGriwkowskyC

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