My wife likes to watch TV for at least a half an hour each morning. To me this is not normal, but this morning I reluctantly joined her. This was mostly due to my body not understanding that sleep is preferable to watching TV.
We will have a talk about this tomorrow morning. My body and I talk often.
She was watching a show called Cash in the attic. One of the things I have to admire about some of these “reality” shows is how the writers work so hard to create drama from absolutely inane subject matter. The show revolves around how people who have excessive possessions, and need some cash, can score big by selling them at auction. (The possessions not the people, maybe next season)
The more I watched the show the more I found myself thinking about how this is a good parable for the current economic condition in America.
She show went like this:
After a lot of chit-chat the family starts picking out furniture, knick knacks, and odds and ends that they can to sell. The idea is once they “earn” enough money they can afford to remodel their bathroom.
This is a common problem here in America; too much stuff not enough bathroom.
While standing in the garage the host asks what the father wants to sell at auction.
Father “Well, we could sell this bird cadge that I bought online a few years back…”
Host “looks interesting, how much did you pay for it?”
Father “Oh I think I paid $100”
Host “Well, by its condition and interesting allure I would estimate you should get at auction maybe $20.”
Host and Family “Haha ha ha ho”
Then a commercial break for a lawyer who calls himself the “Strong arm”. He promises to get you lots of money if you get hurt for any reason.
Back to more appraisals
This goes on and on for twenty minutes. Each item that this bozo bought he paid way more that it was worth. “It seemed to be a good deal at the time”. I was watching this and thought to myself; ‘Now I know why you can’t afford to remodel your bathroom’.
They were shooting for $1900 to remodel their bathroom. The father paid more that $4000 for the crap he was selling.
The auction day finally arrived and the writer/producer designed suspense was getting to be unbearable. Would the family sell enough for their target of $1900.00 so they can remodel the bathroom? Would anyone buy their crap? Will mom divorce the impulsive idiot who spent $1,000.00 on a grain and feed display? Will the daughter get closest to her guess on the value of the lamp? The hyped up suspense was becoming silly.
The auction was coming to a close and they managed to exceed their target of $1900.00! Yes, now they had just over $2,000.00 to make their bathroom a real showcase! There was Hugs and kisses, lots of jumping up and down, then a close up of the little child who guessed that a lamp would sell for $100.00 (Dad didn’t buy the lamp) Then after a commercial break (advertising for a company that guarantees credit to anyone who applies) they go back and show their beautiful newly remolded bathroom.
Here is my re-cap of the whole adventure….
- Husband buys crap he doesn’t need, for way more than its worth.
- Husband stores crap in garage and doesn’t do anything with it for years.
- He and his family get to be on television in front of a nation wide audience.
- The family gets about 50¢ on the dollar for Dads purchases at auction.
- They celebrate, because they can now afford a new bathroom.
- People at the auction get to go home with stuff that is probably worth less than they paid for it.
- The home and garden network celebrates because the show doesn’t require much of an investment and gets good ratings.
Or you could look at it in another way. The father invests $4,000.00 over several years to show a $2,000.00 loss. But that’s ok because they got on TV.
On the up side at least they didn’t keep all the crap in the garage and take out a loan to pay for the remodel. Loan = Bailout?
I may be getting closer to finally understanding our present economic situation.
Selling stuff you don’t use, even at a loss, is preferable to using credit.
I just hope that the father in this episode learns to stop buying crap for more than its worth… Metaphorically speaking that is.