Weather and Resources
American Picker Fiasco
Ask him if he wants to buy a clock, i"m keepin the lamp.
Sell it to Flavor Flav.
When one of my neighbors starting thinking about selling his Indian motorcycle, he contacted one of his favorite TV shows, American Pickers. In this History channel show, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz seemingly travel the country, stumbling upon piles of junk and pulling out treasure to sell at their Iowa ship, Antique Archaeology. Although the show does feature a lot of really cool historical items, sadly, it is scripted.
My neighbor doesn't want his real name used, so I'm going to call him John. After contacting American Pickers through their website, John was surprised to find the show was interested in his Indian motorcycle. However, it wasn't Mike and Frank who showed up at his door. Instead, producers and people who work for History came to look over his motorcycle and other antiques. They told him exactly how things would work if he was selected to go on the show.
First, John had to agree on a price for the Indian motorcycle beforehand. On American Pickers, Mike and Frank are shown haggling with owners over the selling price. Sometimes they get the item. Sometimes they walk away empty handed. This is all scripted. The producers told John exactly how much they would give him for the motorcycle. It was a ridiculously low ball number. Not only would John have to take that offer before Mike and Frank showed up, but he was told exactly what prices he would "offer" once in front of a camera.
Second, John was informed his antiques weren't good enough by themselves. Other items would be added to his collection, "salting" the pick so Mike and Frank were ensured to find many interesting pieces to talk about. John would be expected to pretend that these pieces were his. Once again, John was told to "offer" a specific amount of money for the salted items, and he would "accept" a preset price.
Third, Mike and Frank wouldn't actually drive their van from Iowa. It would be brought in on a flatbed truck, and shots of the pickers driving up would be taken. This totally destroys the illusion of the "free style" picks featured on the show. John would be given an exact date and time for the taping to occur.
At the end of the meeting, John told the American Pickers crew, "thanks, but no thanks." He couldn't accept such a low offer for the Indian motorcycle that's been his baby for so many years. The show told John they were only interested in the motorcycle. If he refused to agree on the set price, he wouldn't be on the show. He was left with a contact number in case he changed his mind about the price in the future.
It's only fair to say the show isn't completely fake. Mike and Frank really do own a store in LeClaire, Iowa called Antique Archaeology. The public is free to visit it and see or purchase items "picked" on the show. However, the way Mike and Frank get those items isn't as portrayed on the show.
So next time you watch American Pickers, appreciate the history behind the items, but not the luck behind the "big ticket" find. Whatever items Mike and Frank pick, or fail to pick, are all part of a script. The prices were all arranged months before by producers. It just goes to show that there isn't a lot of reality behind "reality" TV.
Mike Wolfe, the owner of Antique Archaeology, married his long-time girlfriend, Jodi Faeth, in September 2012. The previous year, both Mike and Jodi participated in an interview with the New York Times. Described as a laid-back accountant, Jodi said she has always accepted Mike’s love of picking… In fact, her only gripe is when Mike turns around and sells her favorite pieces.
“I’m happy to say things have changed and pieces are staying around longer,” Jodi said, adding the success of American Pickers has helped.
Even before marrying, Mike and Jodi were a family: They welcomed their first daughter, Charlie, in January 2012.
In addition to picking, Mike recently became passionate about Operation Smile, a charity that benefits those unable to afford facial deformity surgery. The cause is near and dear to his own heart, as Charlie was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, which was repaired at Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital.
Frank, on the other hand, guards his personal relationships a little bit more closely. He’s officially a bachelor, but has reportedly been in a long relationship with a mystery woman who has intermittently been referenced on the show. However, Frank seems to embrace the single lifestyle, which he has said allows him to be a better picker.
“I was in the position to be able to do it,” Frank told the Quad-City Times of his decision to quit working as a fire inspector to pursue picking full-time. “A lot of people in this world are smarter, have more money, know more about stuff, but they haven’t chosen the direction or come to that crossroads in their life.”
Even though he’s fond of women, the Bearded Charmer’s most devoted relationship is with Arby, his beloved cat.
“Hanging out with Arby today. My favorite pick… 12 yrs ago I picked him out of about 45 cats"
Now we know,thanks for sharing.
Albany, GA Carrabelle, FL
Thanks for the story Holmes Beach. Interesting to know.
I read the story about the other show where they bid on the storage lockers. It said they plant those items in the lockers for them to find.
At least we got to the bottom of this. You should have heard the misinformation Mr. **** Pant's neighbor was handing out.
When I was younger, I could remember anything...
whether it had happened or not.