Shipping Wars is a 2012 A&E reality TV series that follows the lives of 6 individual shippers. In each episode, the shippers log into uShip to bid on unusual cargo hauling jobs. After the auctions are over, the rest of the episode follows the two winners as they load and haul their shipments (along with snarky comments from the other shippers). Marc Springer (The Big Rig), Roy Garber (The Handyman), Jennifer Brennan (The Cowgirl), and Jarrett Joyce (The Rookie) have been featured throughout the show's run. Season 1 had Suzanne and Scott Bawcom (The Veterans), but they were replaced in Season 2 by Christopher Hanna and Robbie Welsh (The Hotshot Couple).Not to be confused with Ship-to-Ship Combat, A.K.A. Shipping Wars, which are about the other kind of shippers.
This series provides examples of:
Adorkable: Jarrett. As much as a newbie he is, it's hard to hate him for his sometimes dorkish behavior.
Auction: Inverted. The winner is (usually) the person with the lowest bid, though at times some of the shippers will bid the same price; in these cases, the bid from the one with the higher customer feedback rating takes priority. The shippers have to be careful not to bid so low that there is no profit to be made for the job.
In one episode, Marc actually bids UP on a job and wins it from Jen.
The client has the option to award the job to the lowest bidder, or to a higher bidder based on feedback ratings.
Awesome but Impractical: Marc's big rig is awesome, but it's also mass overkill for small loads unless he finds some other shipments to take on the same trip. His rig also becomes an issue when he has to go to places that have very little maneuvering room and/or low overhead clearance.
Boring Yet Practical: Everyone else on the show has trailers hitched to their trucks (A van in Jarrett's case), which is more practical for smaller loads (like animals). In Season 4, Jarrett replaces his van/trailer with a church bus and rips out most of the seats to create cargo space.
In one of the latest episodes where Marc wins a bid to transport Evel Knievel's transport truck, Marc mentions he wanted to bring his buddy along to make up for the "Carny BS" they experienced before (See Ted Baxter below).
Marc refuses to bid on a shipment that originates from a storage locker, noting the grief he had with a previous shipment. He even warns the winning bidders the perils of taking on a job from a storage locker.
Fanservice: Jen/Robbie for the guys (The shipper in the episode "Not with a Whimper but a Bang" spent most of the time hitting on Robbie to Chris's dismay). Jarrett for the ladies.
Averted with Jarrett, who takes a job to deliver a couple of monkeys. When he sneaks them into his hotel room, they proceed to trash the place and make so much noise that he gets kicked out. By the end of the run, he's out several hundred dollars in cleaning bills and hoping never to see another monkey again as long as he lives.
Oddly enough, the ever surly Roy truly is a Friend to All Living Things, so long as said living thing isn't a human. He even travels with a cat, named Muffy, who he has a tendency to treat like a little baby.
Hoist by His Own Petard: In one episode, Roy undercuts Jennifer on a bid, thinking that she was desperate to get the job. Jen decides not to bite, leaving him with a low-profit job he really didn't want. Cue an Precision F-Strike.
Somewhat subverted with Jarrett and Chris/Robbie. The two were battling to ship a large Crooked House. Chris, wanting to "punish" Jarrett, lowers a bid to cost Jarrett some profit. Jarrett's computer suddenly loses power, and he frantically tries to find a car charger. Chris gets an Oh Crap moment when Robbie tells him that Jarrett isn't bidding. Chris wins the bid, and is not pleased. Jarrett finally gets on his phone to get into uShip but sees that the auction is over and is bummed out that he didn't win (Though in hindsight, he confesses that he's glad he didn't win this job after seeing the many issues Chris and Robbie had.)
Chris and Robbie nearly get hit with this one after they refit their truck to run on used cooking oil. Having bet their client $400 that they can finish the run on time with this setup, they have trouble finding restaurants with full grease traps that they can pump out for fuel. One owner even orders them off the property during a late-night stop. After this, though, they start calling ahead to get permission to empty the traps, and they end up winning the bet.
Idiot Ball: Mostly Jarrett. Jennifer has her moments too, like paying a mechanic to look at her truck when all he did was shift to put it into gear.
Jerkass: From the shippers to the haulers to the receivers.
Roy. The guy has practically no people skills, though it's sometimes justified when customers make rather unreasonable demands. Also, never "suggest" to him how to ship or secure items.
The episode "From Sphere To Infinity & Beyond", one shipping job was to deliver a Buzz Lightyear coin-operated ride to a boy who just lost his parents. All the shippers talk about doing the job at a reduced rate until Roy wins the bid by doing the job for free. In the Confession Cam, Roy talks about how he's doing this job for the kid. Turns out he may just be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold (thought that remains to be seen)
Roy's son Travis takes after him in this respect. When the two ride together on a delivery run, they get on each other's nerves so much that Travis asks to be dropped off along the way. He eventually has a change of heart and shows up at Roy's destination to help unload the cargo.
Marc's shipper in "One Crystal Short of a Geode." From asking him to break laws and regulations to giving him the riot act and withholding payment, it turns into a Small Name, Big Ego situation really quickly.
Karma Houdini: A non-villain example, the episode "Chicken Ship", Marc wins a bid to transport a custom-built hot-rod. The shipper asks him if he has a tarp, which Marc replied no and won't be covering it. One storm later, all the exposed metal on the hot-rod is rusted. To his credit, Marc did feel bad about it and was dreading the dropoff, but to his surprise, the receiver was actually fine with it (Prompting a Big "WHAT?!" from Jarrett).
Karmic Jackpot: Jen hopes for one when, unable to carry a large candy display, she carries bottled water to a relief center for free (Despite the fact she was already in the hole for the truck rental).
MacGyvering: They don't call Roy the Handyman for nothing. For as much as a Jerkass he is, he's very intelligent and has MacGyvered many solutions to potential shipping problems.
Noodle Incident: Suzanne reminds Scott about the "incident" in Mexico in "Baja or Bust."
Odd Couple: In one episode, Jenn and Roy partner up when a shipper changes plans on her and tells her she must transport 9 bulls as opposed to 3. She calls in Roy to help her out. It goes about as well as one might suspect.
Rage Quit: Several jobs have had the shippers rage quit or almost.
Chris does this when they get a job to ship a houseboat but when they arrived they see that the shipper had no equipment to move the boat to their trailer and that the boat weighed more than what Chris's trailer could handle.
Marc rage quits with the shipper of a carnival ride. See Small Name, Big Ego below for details.
Jen almost rage quits when the shipper of the 9 bulls treats her with disdain while he heaps praise after praise on Roy.
Roy shipping a submarine statue almost quits when he finds out the shipper lied about the weight of the statue. He eventually takes 2 lighter statues instead.
Right-Hand Cat: Muffy, Roy's pet cat that always goes with him on the job. Whether it's villainous or not depends on if you see Roy as a villain.
Shout-Out: After learning that both jobs involve getting stuff out of storage lockers, Marc sarcastically questions if he ended up on Storage Wars.
In "One Crystal Short of a Geode," Marc deals with a guy who sends out a job to haul Geodes across the country. Upon arriving to pickup the load, he encounters a situation where the shipper wants Marc to break numerous laws and regulations to ship his Geodes, which Marc refuses to do. After going through the hassle of dealing with the shipper and partially shipping the load (to be in compliance of weight limits), upon arriving at the destination, the shipper has called ahead and told the receiver not to pay Marc until he arrives and gives Marc the riot act. After an endless rant, the shipper eventually pays Marc and has the goods unloaded. Marc comments this is one of the worst loads he's ever done.
Marc again deals with an unrealistic shipper whom has a carnival ride going out. Unfortunately, the trailers are not road legal, and Marc attempts to try and ship them out as best as he can. The shipper sniffs at Marc saying that he isn't responsible for the mess, and ultimately, Marc just gives up on the load after a massive blow-up with the shipper.
Roy deals with a couple who bought a food truck in "Tavern on the Greenbacks." The couple seem to show no animosity to Roy and give him endless amounts of grief when delivering the truck at the final destination to the point where THEY force him to wait for a flat tow-bed to pickup their load from Roy's trailer. This compounds the fact that Roy's time waiting could be better spent making money with other loads.
Smug Snake: Roy by leaps and bounds. He seems to be the most snarked on of the other shippers. Chris too.
Unpredictable Results: Very rarely does a job go without a hitch. Most of the time it's a shipper's vehicle breaking down.