Sunday, January 9, 2011

Watched Any Good Home Improvement TV Lately?

Something I noticed the other day was that although the cable channels like DIY and HGTV still air shows like Property Ladder and Flip This House, they aren't making any new episodes. Basically because there is no more money to be made in short term housing investment, as a rule.

Instead, what they showing as the new Get Rich Quick scheme shows? Have you seen the one with the two guys and a truck who roam the country grubbing around in old barns and dingy basements looking for semi-buried treasure?

What about the one (or two or three) about the guys who buy abandoned storage sheds and seem to make a fortune digging through cardboard boxes?

Or how about the one where folks bring their old junk to the pawn shop to try and make a few bucks?

Do you see the pattern here?

Instead of investing in junk houses to make a quick buck, now you invest in REAL junk to make a quick buck.

I don't doubt folks can do it, I just doubt any Joe off the street can walk into a barn full of junk, identify the diamond in the rough, buy it cheap enough to make a few bucks, and then find the buyer the current owner couldn't.

Take the guys on American Pickers. PLEASE! I love the show, hate the guys. I don't know whether it is their accents, their attitudes or the way they interact with each other, but I tend to watch AP in spite of the guys, not because of them. That being said, I completely respect the knowledge they have acquired over years of doing this kind of work. And not just in one or two areas of expertise, but several. They are passionate about the items, but dispassionate enough to assess both realistic value to a final consumer and to themselves in a purchase price.

And that is where I have my problem with these kind of shows. How many of us can separate ourselves from the things we are passionate about enough to be realistic about their real value?

As Shakespeare said it: 'Therein lies the rub'. I can see folks who will think they do what these ignorant guys on TV do, and spend a lot of time losing a fortune. Just because they are completely enamored with early 21st Century rustic pottery doesn't mean its worth a cart load to every body (or anybody) else.

Just like these same folks saw a show once on flipping a house that suddenly made them experts in the real estate market- just before the crash.

The problem is these shows don't show the years of bad decisions and self education that goes into making money off of junk. The learning, often the hard way, about what it costs to restore or rehab, or even properly clean an item. They tend to short change the hard work that goes into getting rich quick and easy.

I guess that is the problem I have with these types of shows in general. They minimize the work, and only show the glory. Which I can kind of understand.

Hard work doesn't make for good TV, does it?

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