I've read a few places online where people say that the TV show Storage Wars is staged and that the producers place items in the lockers. Does anyone know if that is true?

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    Some staging of course takes place, if only to get the best shots on video (lighting, removing items that show brand names not of your sponsors, etc. the normal stuff). That doesn't mean the entire show is staged (though it wouldn't surprise me). – jwenting Feb 3 '12 at 7:21
  • A friend of mine was once an extra on that show and saw that it was in fact staged. – Brandon Moore Feb 3 '12 at 8:55
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    @BrandomMoore: I'm afraid we have to dismiss such a story - an random person on the Internet claims a friend claimed it was staged? Not exactly a reliable source, I am afraid. – Oddthinking Feb 4 '12 at 8:26
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    I suspect that it is more dramatized than staged. They find things learn the info about then then "discover" them again for the camera and pretend they know all about them at the point of discovery. I would also suspect that they seed finds from non televised auctions. – Chad Jun 4 '12 at 20:10
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    @Chase If you have ever rent a storage unit, then you would have signed a release form giving up your rights to any items contained in that unit after X number of unpaid days. – zk. Jun 4 '12 at 20:54

While the producers claim that it is legitimate, I have my doubts.

Bloggers from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette quote the a publicist from A&E TV as saying:

There is no staging involved. The items uncovered in the storage units are the actual items featured on the show.

A similar show, Auction Hunters, which airs on Spike, has a disclaimer at the beginning of each show. They acknowledge that the people win many non-valuable storage units at auction, and that only the rarest finds are aired.

However, I am doubtful of the authenticity of both of these shows.

These shows take place at storage auctions. These occur when self-storage units have not been paid for by their tenants; they take the form of auctions held at storage facilities, in which potential buyers can look inside the unit without entering it to decide their bid.

In general, reality TV shows usually pixelate or blur faces of people caught on camera who have not agreed to appear on television. This is done to ensure their privacy; usually, TV networks today require the blurring of non-consenting faces filmed in private places to avoid being sued.

More discussion about this practice is available at Wikipedia and the Straight Dope forums.

A self-storage facility is a private place, but nobody's faces are blurred, which suggests to me that it is staged.

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    Eh, I really disagree with your logic about the pixellation. The way it works in my head is that the film company is partnered with a storage auction company; the storage auction company is hired by the (private and independent) self-storage facility to run the auction, probably at a relatively cheap rate. Because the storage auction company is running the auction, they can require whatever terms they want from people wishing to take part in the auctions - including consent to have their likeness broadcast on TV. Thus, almost all the people agree to those terms and are unpixellated. – Tacroy Feb 23 '12 at 21:52
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    I heard in an interview that the show COPS gets almost all the arrestees to sign an agreement to be shown on TV. People's lust for attention is such that many people will agree to show their most humiliating moments on TV for free. – Mark Rogers Jun 4 '12 at 20:18
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    This is complete speculation. You haven't even shown that laws of where the show is filmed (California, usually) show blurring faces of bystanders is required. Your "sources" for that are a [citation needed] Wikipedia page and a forum posting that is full of more nonsense. Even if that were the case, the company holding the auction could simply require appearing on TV as a condition of participating in the auction. – Sam I Am Jul 4 '12 at 14:12
  • I've actually seen a few episodes where there are a few people in the crowd whose faces are blurred. I'll re-watch some and post the actual episode for investigation at a later date. – ngramsky Nov 26 '12 at 3:43

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