Storage Wars has been a heavy hitter as far as reality shows go for the A&E Network. The show's ratings since it first premiered on December 1, 2010, continue to thrive thanks to the show's faithful fanbase who enjoy watching the cast of irregular characters with their loud, unique personalities fight or "go to war" with each other over unpaid storage lockers on a regular basis.
Even though it may seem that these storage locker hunting hopefuls each play with their own set of regulations, there are always rules to everything and A&E's Storage Wars is no exception. Generally speaking, storage locker auctions work with the prospective buyers being allowed five minutes to inspect what is visible of the contents from the entryway with their eyes only, not being allowed to enter the locker or physically move or in any way touch the contents. Even though they are reality stars and many people believe that the show is heavily scripted, they still must follow the general storage locker auction rules. But those are not the only guidelines that this rowdy crowd must follow. We have found fifteen commandments set forth by producers that the cast members must heed or else... pay the price!
15 Locker Finds Are Staged And The Cast Has To Go Along With It, Like It Or Not
Let's face facts. Part of the reason that you love watching this show is not just the amazing treasures that these storage locker bidders win but the hope that you (yes, you!) could find something equally amazing yourself and the sweet, sweet big bundle of cash that you would get in return... you know, when you finally decide to fulfill your dream of being a storage locker auction attendee just like your favorite cast member. Well, we hate to burst your bubble but the truth is that while it is possible to find a snazzy treasure or two, most of everything (if not everything) is planted. If not by the actual cast members then the planting is done by the producers who are all too happy to do so because what's the fun in seeing people bid on a bunch of old clothes and boxes of kitchen appliances, time after time? A series of leaked emails and receipts prove that the cast may have been at one point responsible for planting items in the lockers – especially during the earlier seasons of the show. Hester has been vocal about not appreciating the producers planting items but if you watch the show, you know it happens.
14 Don't Talk About Tragedies
Storage Wars bills itself as a "reality show" and while some may take issue with that description, there is certainly enough reality that surrounds the cast members off of the show. In 2014, auctioneer Dan Dotson was given just a sliver of a chance for the survival of a dangerous double brain aneurysm. Miraculously, Dotson managed to survive the risky surgery and was back in his own home within one week. Following his new lease on life, Dotson vowed to quit his forty-year smoking habit. Some fans believe that the show didn't d0 a good enough job of focusing on Dotson's health scare or his recovery as they should have.
Just a year earlier, something even more tragic happened when storage hunter Mark Balelo passed away from an alleged suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. It's believed that Balelo committed suicide as he had been arrested for methamphetamine possession a few days earlier. Similarly to Dotson's story, some people wished that the show would have done a better job of addressing Balelo's untimely passing.
13 Legally Licensed Catchphrases Only, Please!
Dave Hester is known as one of the more "problem-child" types on the show. It seems there is usually some storm cloud of trouble brewing up wherever Hester goes. But this strange story might take the cake, even for him. It involves R&B singer, Trey Songz, and a catchphrase. Now, reality stars trying to land their own catchphrases is nothing new. The opportunity for a sweet gravy train of extra income based on the sales of t-shirts and other items with the catchphrase emblazoned on them is too juicy to resist. So Hester tried his hand with "Yuuup" which, let's be real for a moment, is neither very original nor does it look great on a hat, t-shirt, etc. But Trey Songz would probably disagree seeing as how he was tangled in a legal dispute with Hester over the use of the catchphrase being used to sell merchandise. The singer claimed that he was the original owner of the catchphrase and wanted to sell his own merchandise. In the end, it was all for nothing as the two eventually dropped their respective lawsuits in 2012.
12 Always Pander To The Male Audience, Even If Surgery Is Required
Maybe one of the most disturbing aspects we have learned about the seedier side of this show comes from items alleged from Dave Hester's lawsuit. In the suit, Hester claimed that the producers, Original Productions, paid for Brandi Passente to undergo breast enhancement surgery. Before someone defends the actions of the producers in helping Passente to achieve a personal goal or dream of hers, wait until you learn this tidbit. Apparently, the reasoning (and justification in the cost) was that the surgery was needed in order to boost the show's sex appeal and gain more ratings. Many fans have been ashamed of the show after learning this particular detail because it is sad that in this day and age, plastic surgery enhancements are needed for a reality star. Passente and the producers may think it's a good look on her but it's definitely not a good look for the show.
11 Play To The TV Personas!
If you are the kind who adores the personalities of the cast members of this show, you may want to skip this in order to preserve your current adoration. Because the truth is that the "personal interviews" you see throughout the show are not personal at all. The truth is that the show's creator (and narrator) has confessed that Storage Wars is approximately fifty percent scripted. We are not quite sure exactly how he arrived at the number or if there some algorithm of scripted words versus natural words going on here but if we had to guess, we would say that percentage might be on the low side. The fact is that the Storage Wars personas that you feel that you can relate to or just admire for whatever reason, are mostly completely fake and you are really vibing with the creative mind of show creator Thom Beers instead. Sorry for the dose of actual reality.
10 Only Fake-Fighting Allowed!
Verbal spats and altercations between cast members are nothing new but as it turns out, as much as tension drives up the ratings, the producers (and likely, their legal team) don't appreciate actual fights breaking out between cast members... or at least, that's what they want us to believe. The story goes that in 2015 while filming a scene, Dave Hester pointed out an error that Dan Dotson had made or that Hester believed Dotson had made. Words were had and things got heated as they usually do until it escalated to Hester allegedly throwing a punch to Dotson's face. Then Dotson's wife, Laura reportedly also got involved trying to break up the fight and protect her husband. We're told that the producers had to shut down production right away. Shame... just imagine those sweet ratings that could have been!
9 Barry Weiss Helped His Famous Godson, Jesse James Create Racist Controversy
If you are a true fan of Storage Wars then chances are good that you already know that the show's legendary and beloved cast member, Barry Weiss has a famous godson in fellow reality show star, Jesse James. If you thought that you couldn't be disappointed in the West Coast Choppers founder anymore than when he cheated on his former wife, America's forever sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, then prepare yourself for this doozy of a downer. It turns out that Weiss found what seems to be an authentic SS hat from the tragic days of Adolf Hitler's reign of terror on Europe from 1933 to 1945. It makes perfect sense that if anyone were to find a piece of history like this, it would be Weiss who deals in rare and unusual finds for a living. But what is even more unusual (and sad) is that Weiss "gifted" the hat to his godson who then decided to use it to take a very inappropriate photo while using the tips of two fingers to mimic Hitler's moustache and making a Nazi salute with the other hand. As if we all couldn't hate this guy anymore...
8 Deal With Downgrades Or You're Out!
Much like his co-star, Dave Hester, cast member Darrell Sheets has also had his fair share of issues with filming the show. As we all know, business and pleasure or business and family don't usually mix well. But it's also a well-known fact that reality stars usually like to make their spots on the show a family affair if they can. This was the case with Sheets and his son, Brandon. Both father and son got into a disagreement with the production team and while the father ended up settling his end of the dispute, the younger Mr. Sheets ending up leaving the show altogether and soon after his departure, he vented via Twitter, stating that he had been dropped from the popular show thanks to money issues on the show's part, that he had previously been degraded for his role on the show and made a mention of the producers' personalities in an unflattering manner.
7 Keep Your Non-Storage-Locker-Hunting Past Under Wraps (As Much As Possible)
As far as we know, no child dreams of making their living as the winning bidder of people's old stuff but then again, you never know. It stands to reason that all of the cast members have pasts that do not include storage lockers and Barry Weiss is no exception. We found out that before he got his prime spot on the show, he spent over thirty years in the wholesale produce industry. He did, however, collect rare and interesting antiques on the side for years. Many fans of the show will attest that the producers have a way of making it seem as though the cast members have been in the storage locker biz since they were knee-high to a grasshopper even if some of the cast members are actually pretty green to the game.
6 Criminal Backgrounds Are A-Okay!
To start things off, let's get something straight. We're talking storage lockers here. While we're not exactly knocking the business, we are aware that you wouldn't quite need the squeaky clean and pristine background of say, a Sunday school teacher in order to bid on the contents of unpaid storage lockers. That being said, it's probably still not a good thing for the show to host people with criminal records on their behalf but then again, it's not like that hasn't been done before on reality shows. Enter Jarrod Schulz who spent some of his days in prison. It turns out that back in 1997, Schulz was arrested for narcotics transportation, a DUI, and possession of a controlled substance. The fact that Schulz has mentioned his criminal past a time or two on the show lets us know that apparently, felony records are a-okay when it comes to Storage Wars standards.
5 No Talk Of Rated-X Lawsuit Drama
What does Storage Wars cast member Brandi Passante have to do with the controversial website, Is Anyone Up? and its owner, Hunter Moore? Glad you asked that fine question. In 2013, Passante won damages from the distributor of naughty imagery. But don't get too excited for Passante. The judge slammed his gavel and declared that she should get 750 dollars, which was far less than what she had been hoping for: 2.5 million. Wow! The suit was over Passante's claims that fake clips of her were being posted. Obviously, the judge saw some merit to her allegations to award her the winning party but on the other hand, it doesn't seem as though he or she had a lot of sympathy for Passante, does it? As far as we could find, there was no mention of this on the show so if that's the case, it doesn't seem as though the producers have a lot of sympathy for her situation either.
4 Murderous Family Members Are Not Acceptable In The Script
Maybe you already that Kevin Pew, who stars in the Miami version of Storage Wars, has a son named Hashim who shot his mother's goddaughter, Janel Hamilton, a London native who was just nineteen years old and staying with his family until heading off to college. Hashim was just twenty-three when the crime was committed. Pew's family, including Hamilton, had gathered in the family room for none other than a viewing party to see Kevin Pew appear in the Miami show. When Hamilton got up from the sofa to get a blanket, Hashim shot her twice before stating, "She's as *bleep* dead as a dawg." Pew fought for the gun and then held his son down until the authorities could come to take him away where he was eventually charged with murder. Strangely enough, there was no motive to speak of.
3 Money Over Compassion
Are the producers and cast members of the show without compassion? Well, maybe the whole idea is pretty compassion-less to start with. We understand the meaning behind the saying, "It's not personal, it's business" but all the same, the concept of unpaid storage locker auctions is that people who are presumably down on their luck have their personal belongings bid on by someone else. Lots of different scenarios could have happened for someone to lose their storage locker and all of their items along with it. They could have somehow forgotten about it, passed away, gotten sick or fallen on hard times which is most likely. Imagine settling down to watch your favorite show, Storage Wars and find that not only are people buying your things but insulting them (and you by connection) and throwing them around as they usually do. It's a cruel world out there.
2 Unstable Paychecks
It was 2015, the start of the show's tenth season, and Darrell Sheets was shocked. He had just been told (allegedly) by the producers that they wanted to slice his paycheck in half. Worse yet, he would only be appearing in just four tiny episodes out of a total of twenty-six for the season. Ouch. That had to hurt. Of course, it is expected that Sheets should only show up in a few episodes in return for such little pay but on the other hand, that also meant that Sheets was going to be missing out on the opportunities that are afforded to the stars of flavor-of-the-month reality shows like this one. Either way, this cast had better save their money for a rainy day because it seems that they never know when or if they are going to get the ax.
1 Play By The Producer's Rules At All Times
When you are a reality star, the truth is that no matter how big of a star you are, it's a producer's world and you're just living in it. Take the case of Dave Hester, for example. Hester was a big player not just in the storage auction war world but on the show. Yet, he was fired and he claims that the reason for his pink slip problems on the fact that he questioned the authenticity of the show and refused to back down when he had suspicions that the producers were planting rare items to be found in the lockers. The show continues to claim that whatever the storage hunters find in their lockers are "one hundred percent genuine" but Hester has said that the producers, on more than one occasion, have pointed cast members to certain areas, urging them to check certain spots where they "just so happen" to find a nifty prize. Although he was let go after he filed the lawsuit, he was brought back in 2014. We wonder if he learned a valuable lesson - it's the producer's way or the highway!