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Storage Wars follows five professional buyers in southern California as they scour repossessed storage units in search of hidden treasure. Part gamblers, part detectives, Barry Weiss (Left the show before Season 5 and now has his own program), Dave Hester (Fired as of Season 4), Darrell Sheets and the husband and wife team of Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante have found everything from coffins to vintage cars to valuable comic book collections, paying as little as a dollar for items that prove to be valued in the tens of thousands. Of course, other times, they end up with a locker full of worthless garbage. As of Season 5, Brandi and Jarrod, and the father-son team of Brandon and Darrell Sheets have been joined by three new buyers: Ivy Calvin and the husband-wife team of Rene and Casey Nezhoda. Dave Hester has returned to the show after settling his lawsuit with A&E.Now has five spinoffs: Storage Wars Texas, Storage Wars New York, Storage Wars Canada, Barry'd Treasure (starring Barry Weiss), and Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job (starring Jarrod Schulz and Brandi Passante).
Once we open the locker, you get five minutes to look at the tropes inside:
Actually That's My Assistant: On one episode, Mike Karlinger and Herb Brown won a unit that contained tiaras from a beauty pageant, so they took them to an appraiser who was an expert in pageant items. They greeted a tall blond woman who stated that she's the expert's coach and then she pointed down to a nine-year-old pageant contestant. Mike and Herb even had to kneel down just to speak to her face to face.
Ambition Is Evil: Dave, the show's resident antagonist, has gone from a consignment store to his own auction house. And even dropped hints that he wants to partner with Dan next.
Dan rebuts by saying to the effect, "That's never gonna happen". Their relationship has deteriorated even further following Hester's return to the show.
Auction: More specifically, storage auctions. The auctioning off of storage lockers whose owners have failed to make due on their rent, leaving the contents up for grabs to the highest bidder. The suspense comes from the fact that only a cursory examination of each locker is allowed before bidding begins.
The bidders can't enter the locker until they win it and they're not allowed to touch anything, even if it's within reach. This leads to a lot of speculation on what that partially-hidden item in the back might be.
The bidders are allowed to use whatever assistance they wish, just as long as they don't enter the locker or touch anything in it. If they violate the rule (as Barry did during "The Drone Wars"), they can be excluded from the current auction.
Ascended Extra: Dan Dotson, the auctioneer, got more camera time, particularly in post-auction interviews, as the first season went on. His wife and assistant, Laura, eventually got added to the opening credits (She was in them all along, but not named in the first several episodes). The show started following him even more following his suffering and recovering from a brain aneurism.
Jarrod's (ex-)employee Mark, Dave's associate Steve, Dave Hester Jr., and Brandon Sheets also qualify. The latter two are in so many Season 2 episodes, they qualify as Fake Guest Stars.
The funny thing is, both Brandon and Dave Jr. are in the opening credits and could easily be added like Laura was.
Season 3 also has Barry bring in Ken, a storage employee who was in an episode of Season 2, for a few episodes.
Ken has gone onto having his own praline business, and appeared with Barry on Barry'd Treasure.
Barry often goes to his friend Dennis, who owns "Off The Wall Antiques" for appraisals of his more unique finds. Barry has since referred the other buyers to him as well on occasion.
Cloudcuckoolander appraisers Lawrence and Sally Martin now star in the Travel Channel reality show Baggage Battles.
Berserk Button: Dave Hester can dish out stealth insults, but he does have a tolerance limit:
Brandon's hat that defaced Dave's business pushed the normally restrained Dave into an angry outburst.
Barry's psychic friends in "Midnight in the Gardena Good and Evil" also prompt Dave to go off.
Dave actually had an angry outburst at HIMSELF in one episode when he carelessly forgot a delicate trinket box was on his lap in the truck and it fell out and smashed on the ground. He spent the rest of the episode beating himself up over it.
Beware of the Nice Ones: Dan and Laura are usually very affable and good natured. However when Jeff Jarred stirred up trouble by accusing Dan of playing favorites behind his back, both Dan and Laura absolutely lost it on him.
Laura repeated this in "The Man In Black Is Back...In Black" when a returning Dave tried to solicit business during her auction then disrespected her by making misogynistic comments and insults. She went absolutely ballistic on him and had him forcefully ejected from the building.
Big Bad: Dave Hester or at least the other bidders view him as such, especially after his return to the show.
Big Damn Heroes: Darrell plays one for Jarrod where he points out the safe in the unit. Jarrod laments that the safe was empty when Darrell tells him that the safe itself was valuable and worth $3000.
Bonus Round: The charity locker sold in "All's Fair in Storage and Wars". In a total departure from the usual abandoned-locker-of-mystery auctions making up the rest of the show, the charity locker was filled with good-quality furniture, arranged so everything was clearly visible to the buyers, and placed on sale immediately after it was filled. (Jeff Jarred won it for $2,700, and won the episode with a $6,749 profit.)
Boring but Practical: Furniture, tools and other assorted household objects that are mundane but can and will bring in decent money and keep the shelves full. In one episode, Dave Hester made a $14,000 profit on a locker filled with books.
Bidder With Unlimited Funding: If Dave Hester wants it, he'll usually get it. Then Mark Balelo comes along and makes Dave look cheap. Contrast Jarrod and Brandi, who often have a limited budget.
Barry also has very deep pockets and isn't afraid to make really high bids if he thinks there's a cool collectible inside. He is actually the best-financed of the group; he just doesn't like spending a lot of money (usually). In one episode, he says that when he went over the books with his accountant, he "vomited all over his desk". He is also not pressured on making a profit as the other bidders, as he is more of a collector of the strange (whereas everyone else counts on locker auctions to make a living).
Brand X: Sometimes logos on the storage boxes seen within the units are blurred (though usually still recognizable as well-known hardware or office-supply chains), sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they will still blur out brand names or logos even when the buyers clearly say the brand name out loud.
Brick Joke: In Here's Looking At You, Kenny, Barry expressed buyer's remorse saying, "It's only money". Later on, he ended up finding a lot of American quarters, dollars and Swiss francs inside the locker.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Barry's admitted on at least one occasion that his antics are partly to get the others to underestimate him. And while he might have some truly bizarre ways of looking at the lockers, he has had some pretty substantial success.
The Bus Came Back: Dave Hester has returned to the show, having settled his lawsuit with A&E.
Barry's friends, Brad Whitford and Stewart Copeland, who appraise instruments for him.
Not to be outdone by Barry, Nabila enlists her friend Jeff Dunham to appraise a ventriloquist's dummy in "Auctioning for Dummies".
Barry's "Auction Angels" Candy and Sandy cheer him up by bringing in "Rowdy" Roddy Piper to appraise a kilt.
Averted in "The French Job". At first, it looks like the Harris twins are going to borrow a page from Barry's playbook by calling a relative of Tim Allen's to get Allen to autograph a saw they'd found in their locker, but Allen doesn't show up to the arranged meeting.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: They're buyers all wanting the same locker at any price they can afford and any bid they can win with, sometimes spoiling an earlier attempt by another buyer. Doesn't stop them from making deals with each other afterwards, though.
When it looks like Jarrod might win a battle against him and Mark in "San Burrito," Darrell tries to reassert himself by joining in against Jarrod. Mark outbids them both when HE reasserts himself.
Barry himself has done or is doing business with all the others.
He sold a locker to Brandi and Jarrod for $50 more than he paid for it (and they got the bird boxes inside worth $7,000). He also hired Jarrod to help him open a safe (which let Jarrod "make a profit" even though he didn't buy a locker) Barry found in a locker during a recent auction. He's sold tools to their thrift store when nobody else would buy them. In a season 3 episode, he purchased motorcycle parts and tools from them.
After Barry gave furs to Dave (who in turn sold them for $600 even though he didn't go to that auction), Dave Jr. suggested Barry consign the rest of what was in another locker Barry won to Dave's shop (it was in the area).
He currently has an open deal with Darrell, where Darrell has an "automated bridge table" Barry likes. If Barry has stuff in his locker Darrell wants, Darrell would trade the table for it.
Darrell even outbid Brandon, his own son, when it looked like Brandon would win that locker? Why? He felt Brandon didn't deserve that good a locker his first time out.
Cloudcuckoolander: Barry Weiss "The Collector". His Boston buddy and "good luck charm," Joe Bro, also qualifies.
This trait of Barry's works twice for him: bringing psychics drives off Dave in one auction, and Joe Bro helps Barry win TWO lockers.
In an effort to get a better view, Barry brought in another friend for one episode: a little person on stilts. This works, helping him win a locker and the small car inside.
In "Operation Hobo", where he dresses as a hobo, he outright says he does this stuff to get the others to underestimate him.
In "Wilkommen to the Dollhouse", he hires two German gentlemen to pose as lawyers looking for rare items. They run interference for him and distract the other buyers long enough for him to win a locker. Darrell's even fooled by them enough to think that he can partner with them for a business venture.
He once bid on a locker apparently before appraising it; he wanted to get the bidding started but jumped in at 100, which EVERYONE present thought was overpaying for it. Despite Dan and Laura trying to get him out of it, he ended up be sole bidder.
It's even lampshaded in one episode.
Dave: "There's no strategy against crazy."
Cluster F-Bomb: Dave is good for these. He lets loose with them during his Rage Quit in "Midnight in the Gardena Good and Evil", when he drops the porcelain snuff box (thus ruining its value), and when he sees Brandon's altered hat.
Barry uses pretty colorful verbiage pretty often as well.
Collector of the Strange: Barry's entire motivation. He's kept items that would net him a huge profit because he finds them too cool or too unusual to part with. In fact, he's left this show to set up with his very own show, Barry'd Treasure, in which he traipses around the country hunting down his beloved curios.
Comedic Sociopathy: What happens with a skeptical Darrell when it's proved that Mark's supposedly-worth $13,000 NES is only worth $10 (it doesn't power up). This validates Darrell's belief Mark is a phony.
Commercial Break Cliffhanger: specifically, an Ad Break Double Take; buyer (Barry 95 percent of the time) goes "What's in THIS box?", cut to commercials as soon as he begins to open it, show comes back on, "What's in THIS box?", then we find out.
Confession Cam: Sort of; the bidders are all interviewed separately after each auction.
Cool Car: Barry has a couple, including a custom '46 Cadillac and red 1940 Ford COE truck.
Cool Chair: When Barry won his still, he'd shown tenacity with the others—and they awarded him a nice big folding chair to sit in—and it was bigger than he was. He literally had to jump into it to sit in it.
Barry: I've never seen one this big before. Darrell: That's what she said.
When Barry challenges Dave over the value of a sofa, Barry wins the bet (guessing right that the sofa is a modern reproduction) to the tune of a cool $5,000.
Even had it been functional, Mark's NES console wouldn't have been worth anywhere near $13,000. As more knowledgeable folks pointed out, he was probably confused by an eBay auction where an NES console sold for that price because it was part of a lot including an incredibly rare game cart that was still in its original packaging.
Dave bought what he thought was an old, 15th century Couch in a locker and thought it was worth thousands, while Barry noted that there was no way the couch was that old and said that it was much more recent. The two made a bet of $5000 and Dave brought it to an appraiser. Unfortunately for Dave, Barry was correct as the appraiser identified it as being from around 19th-20th century, as the carving on the wood show influences from all over the place.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Barry and an earth mover versus a lawn mower robot. The robot never stood a chance.
Dave Must Not Win: Why Darrell and Jarrod locker-block Dave, or Jarrod and Brandi try to "dump a locker on" Dave after jacking that locker's price up.
And of course, when Mark Balelo shows up, Enemy Mine is invoked and it becomes Mark Must Not Win.
Determinator: "Enemy of My Enemy" had Dave sick, but he came to the auction that day anyway. When he comes away with a $21,000 profit, he quips "I may never take another sick day again."
Darrell offers Jarrod a coin toss in the desert for $100 (Darrell wins), then a second rematch toss for $100 (Jarrod won this one).
He puts up a collection of Boy Scout memorabilia for a chance to win $300 from an appraiser (twice the value). Alas, Darrell doesn't win this one—and the goods go to the appraiser at no cost.
He makes a bet with Brandon over whether a set of three glass vases were worth more than $5, with the loser buying lunch. The appraiser they bring them to values them at $500 (small), $1200 (medium), and $1500 (large), so Brandon (who had doubted they'd be worth anything) has to pay.
"Scoot-A-Toot, Toot" has him make a coin toss with Dennis as to whether he would be paid $300 or $350 for an old exercise machine. Dennis, who had offered $300, calls heads and wins.
And again later with a set of 3 rare Magic The Gathering cards getting 700 instead of 600
Barry offers Jarrod double or nothing on a dancing balloon man and loses.
Played hilariously once when Darrel tried to use his cointoss deal with a potential buyer for a novelty stand-up phone; He told the man that if he won the cointoss, it would be 2500. If he lost, it would be 2000. The buyer wasted no time in pointing out that his haggling price hadn't even gone over 1500 yet!
Distaff Counterpart: Nabila Haniss is a lady buyer who's known Dave Hester for twenty years. Introduced in "Smoke 'Em If You Find 'Em," she's glad she and Dave didn't have to get into it with the last locker. She made her name buying a locker for $2,000 and then selling the contents for 2 million—which made sense to a point; it held goods belonging to Paris Hilton. Both see each other as a Worthy Opponent.
Don't Try This at Home: Playing the Drinking Game Brandi made from how often Laura says "folks" will probably kill your liver in a single episode, and will probably be the end of you and your friends if you play it during one of A & E's many marathons of the show.
In one behind-the-scenes episode, Dave comments that fans of the show have come to auctions and tried to compete with him, but most of the time they end up taking a loss because of their inexperience.
Double Entendre: Various ones throughout the series, the most notable being an exchange between Barry and Ken the storage center employee in "Hook, Line and Sucker" when Barry recruits him to help get a jammed locker door open.
"The Full Monty-Bello", for Brandi and Jarrod. Not only did they lose money, but they also lost a friend and employee, as Mark Rage Quit while going through the locker Jarrod bought.
In one episode, Barry had bought a unit that contained nothing but a safe for $650. Much fuss was made over what was inside and he got help to crack it open, only to find the safe was empty, and that he couldn't sell it afterward because he'd wrecked the front trying to open it himself.
Drinking Game: In one episode, Jarrod and Brandi reveal that thuey have a personal one, where they take a shot every time Laura says "folks". For the rest of the episode, every "folks" merits a little clip art beer mug in the corner of the screen.
Drives Like Crazy: In "Buy, Buy, Birdie", while driving to an auction, Darrell tells Brandon to metaphorically "take the wheel." He does so as he literally takes his hands off the wheel for a good five seconds. With the car still in motion. He only puts them back on after Brandon says he's not in the proper seat... and just keeps going with the metaphor as if nothing has happened.
Enemy Mine: In "Enemy of my Enemy," big spender Mark Balelo (called "Rico Suave" by Brandi) is a big guy with a big load of cash to outbid the "main five" on, which he does often. Barry has to do some acting to raise the interest in and price of a unit so Mark wins—with a $3,500 bid. Part of a Batman Gambit to get Mark to burn through what remaining cash he had faster.
Dave apparently knows Mark but won't talk about it on camera.
Even Jerkasses Have Standards: In an extra scene on the website, Dave turns in some samurai swords to the police to be destroyed, since the one category of items he won't deal in his store is weapons of any kind — these include guns, knives, and swords.
Family Business: Brandi and Jarrod, Darrell and Brandon, Dave and Dave Jr. Brandi has quite a bit to say about her and Jarrod's financial decisions, and Brandon and Dave Jr. aren't shy about bidding either:
Dave Jr. once even threw his entire life savings at a locker he had a good feeling on, dumping $5,550 on it, getting understandably worried when it looked like he might not make anywhere close to his money back. Fortunately, a couple of antique slot machines in the unit brought him roughly a $1600 profit.
Brandon recently bid on a locker up to a grand. The one who outbid him? Darrell, his own father. (Granted, things between father and son were not as good as once depicted, but there are no friends or family in auctions, it seems, just those who want to own what you bid on.)
In one episode where Dave came into a box of model trains, he took a moment to reminisce about his father, who was the inspiration for the name for Dave's store, Rags to Riches. Dave mentioned how they didn't have much but his father always made the best of things, and he had a love of model trains. It is probably one of the few Pet the Dog Heartwarming moments for Dave on the show.
Fanfare: When an item goes for several thousand dollars, a quick short one is heard.
Fifth Buyers: Three at various points, but no more than one at a time:
Mark Balelo, introduced in "Enemy of My Enemy". He filled in for an absent Dave in "San Burrito," and appeared at the Season 3.5 Finale "Nobody's Vault But Mine".
Nabila Haniss, appearing in 3 episodes straight.
Jeff Jarred (not to be confused with Jeff Jarrett) also fills in for Dave (and later Darrell) during season 3.
In the interregnum between Seasons 3 and 4, there were a few more teams, including one pair of appraisers that Barry visited earlier in the Season, attending the auctions, no more than 2 at a time. Thinly-Veiled Audition, much?
The possible replacements for Dave in this case: Ivy Calvin (self-proclaimed "King of Palmdale"), Mike Karlinger and Herb Brown (the other "tank top twins" Dave ran into at an auction), and "The Kings of Swag" Matt and Mark Harris (the aforementioned twin appraisers).
Thrift store owners Rene Nezhoda and Casey Lloyd join the group of guest buyers midway through season 4, having appeared in six episodes so far.
As of season 5, the cast list has settled out again, with Ivy, Rene and Casey appearing in every episode.
Flanderization: Before getting fired and suing the show Dave was arrogant, fiercely competitive and rude to the competition but was never presented as a particularly bad guy. He was merely the closest the show had to a villain as he had the most successful business of the buyers. However, his return in "The Man In Black Is Bad... In Black!" recast him as a full-on Card-Carrying Villain. He shows up at the auction wearing a shirt advertising his auctioneering business, immediately causing strife with Laura (Dan is absent). He continues to antagonize her and insults for daring to be a female auctioneer. At the end of the episode he knocks a stranger's drink out of his hands and pushes the camera out of his face.
Fur and Loathing / Honor Before Reason: One episode has Barry over bidding on a unit, thinking there would be valuables in an antique trunk. The trunk was empty but he found a bag of fur coats that could still net him a profit... except that Barry refuses to profit off of fur and simply donates them to Dave.
Gadget Watches: Jarrod and Brandi find one of these among some spy equipment, that doubled as a camera and could be connected to computers via USB cable.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lampshaded in one episode where Barry finds a wooden head sculpturenote that turns out to be worth $6000, but he keeps it. In one particular stinger, he visits Dave's store and they talk about it, with Barry making several "getting head" puns. When Dave laughs, Barry nudges him and says they have to pretend they don't get the joke or else the censors will bleep it out.
Lampshaded again when Barry tries the "Sum Yung Gun sauce" line on Jarrod.
A funny exchange between Brandi and Brandon about Dave's obnoxiously large truck. Brandi suggests that Dave already showed his ass, and Brandon agrees and says that now they're going to stick it in. Jarrod's face is priceless.
Brandi laughs uncontrollably when Jarrod points out a "carpeted box" inside a locker.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Toyed with in "A Civil Accordion," when Dave gets bleeped speaking in Spanish, while the subtitles show he said the locker in question was full of "a lot of crap." "Crap" hardly seems worth censoring, until you realize that when translated to Spanish it becomes its much more vulgar, bleep-worthy S-word counterpart.
Dave in a vault-based auction in "I'm the Mogul Now." Darrell tries to do a Batman Gambit where he bids on (and WINS) the ONE vault he hopes is the essential one Dave needs to complete the set of vaults he's already gotten. His goal? To use it to get lots of money out of Dave, as he hopes by not having all of the parts he needs, Dave will have to buy Darrell's stuff at any price or be faced to eat the costs at a major loss. (Darrell has the motherboard that runs Dave's stuff. Or as Darrell put it, "the smart switch to Dave's dumb locker.")
But the deal falls through — Darrell profits just over $6,000 with his "strategery" (the board is worth $7,500) but Dave profits just over $7,000 (by having the stuff as "scrap aluminum") to "win" the show's auction.
"Winner Winner Chicken Dinner" had another locker-running attempt by Jarrod and Brandi, with Darrell once again playing spoiler by winning one of the lockers and preventing them from a clean sweep. Showing he's got parts of a bedframe in his locker (which Brandi and Jarrod have the rest of), Darrell intends on making the couple pay dearly for running the price up on him. Brandi cuts the drama and agrees to $1,100 for the parts Darrell has.
Unfortunately for Darrell, it backfired for him since with the complete set of lockers, Jarrod and Brandi made a huge profit. The hearing test machine Darrell removed from the locker didn't make as much.
The Heavy: Thom Beers, the producer, said in one of the hour-long Vegas specials, that Dave was this role mostly.
"Hell Yes" Moment: Darrell and Brandon buy a locker full of artwork, which turns out to be by Chicano artist Frank Gutierrez, and haven't yet broken even when they have it checked out. The estimated worth? $300,000 - leading the pair to the biggest single-locker profit in Storage Wars history.
Jarrod and Brandi get one early in the show's run, when Jarrod spends nearly their entire day's budget on one locker. Hidden deep in the back are several boxes full of vintage toys, which turn out to have an estimated total worth of $14,000.
Darrell and Brandon buy a locker that proves to have an even bigger toy/comic collection, taking up 40 feet of table space and having an estimated worth of $40,000.
Can happen if a locker's price is bid very high by one buyer, BUT inside said locker is a trove of valuable stuff that made it still a very profitable decision for the winner. Jarrod got this done to him when he bid Dave to $4,000 on a "jeweler's unit" after he'd dumped a $9,000 locker on him the episode before Dave found watercolors and cash inside it as well and he netted a profit between both shows, with the jeweler's unit's proceeds canceling out the previous loss. and Dave had it done to him recently in "The Drone Wars" when he got Darrell to pay over $7,000 for a tool/craftsman's unit besides tools, there was also high-value building materials in quantities large enough to net a $18,000 profit.
Happened in "Land of the Loss," when running a second locker-blocking against Dave ended up costing Darrell and Jarrod as they made no profit.
In "More like WRONG Beach," Darrell attempts to dump a crap locker on well-known jerk Mark Balelo, laughing in the interview segment as his "trap" is set... right up until he realizes that Mark isn't bidding.
Hope Spot / Tempting Fate: Darrell comments in one episode on how good a day it's going to be since resident a-hole Dave is nowhere to be seen... and then Mark Balelo, the only person in the show's history to be an even bigger prick than Dave, shows up.
Hypocritical Humor: In "Auction Sesame", Darrell complained that Jarrod dressed like he was going to prison and Brandi dressed like she was going to eighth grade prom and that they should dress more seriously. Then, Brandon, his son pointed out that they were wearing matching tank tops.
Brandon: Look at us. What are we, the tanktop twins or what?
Indy Ploy: When Stewart Copeland of The Police doesn't give that favorable an appraisal of Barry's drum set, Barry realizes that a drum set autographed by Stewart Copeland might just be worth several times that. It just about triples the value, giving Barry enough profit to win the episode.
Interim Villain: Early in season three, Dave is kept off the show by other business interests. Filling his role as antagonist is Jeff Jarred, whose hook is that he believes that auctioneer Dan shows favoritism towards the more established buyers.
It's Personal: Mark Balelo has been on the receiving end of this twice.
Barry uses this in his Batman Gambit against Mark to justify staying in and raising the price. Dave and Darrell, who are in on it, pretend to try to drag him away. He ends up sticking Mark with the locker at $3,500.
Darrell indirectly uses this when he vows to bust Mark's rear after getting outbid by him. "I'm gonna figure out what this guy's about."
Dave even bids against his own brother, as Dave Jr. points out—Dave admits he taught his siblings everything he knew, and they use it against him.
Jarrod has now made it a mission to get Dave to overpay on lockers—the money he overspent thanks to Dave could have been better used for his family, he reasons, and figures it to be about $75,000.
Brandi even gets in on the act. In one episode she and Jarrod argued back and forth over how much money he was spending, but the moment Dave started bidding on it, Brandi started telling Jarrod to bid more and more. She even noted that the one thing she hates more than Jarrod spending too much is losing to Dave.
Jarrod's even noted that his and Brandi's system "has a Hester clause". When Dave's involved, all caps go off. This later extends to Rene and Casey, as well.
Dave Hester. He purposefully bids on lockers he has no interest in just to drive the price up on the others and gloats about doing it, saying he has to throw his wallet around sometimes to put them in their places, and generally talks about the other bidders in condescending tones and acts like he's better than them. The other bidders knows he acts like this and frequently comment that just having Dave around discourages them from bidding because they'll know he'll bid them up.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Following his return in Season 5, Dave is even worse. He arrives wearing a T-shirt advertising his own auction services, and when Laura (who is alone because husband Dan is hospitalized with a brain tumor in real life) warns him not to solicit business from her, Dave starts insulting her, telling her to shut up and making misogynistic comments. Laura refuses to have him present and has security escort him out.
Jeff Jarred antagonized Dan within the first five minutes of his first appearance, and continues to do so.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dave plays this up too in episode 15, giving the contents of a locker he felt was too low-end for his store to Goodwill and extolling how he learned business methods that saved his shop from the people who worked there. Complete with a Noodle Incident as to why he was working with them, implied to be the result of a run-in with the law.
When Jarrod asks for a sincere appraisal of a cabinet, Dave not only gives it, but points out an item that Jarrod overlooked and suggested he get it appraised as well—and it ends up making Jarrod and Brandi a nice profit.
In episode 6, "Senior Citizen Showdown," Darrell gets Jarrod to buy a locker—with little of value in it. There's a safe—with nothing in it. Darrell gives Jarrod a quick safe appraisal lesson and it's revealed the safe itself is worth about two-three thousand, and that profit is able to help smooth things over with Brandi.
There's also an episode where Dave Jr. bids almost his entire life savings on a locker that looks like it might be a loss. Dave stayed encouraging and didn't rub it in Dave Jr's face, and it turned out okay.
In "Young With The Gun", Jarrod squares off with a newbie bidder, named Bill Archer, over a locker. After losing the locker to him, Jarrod is gracious enough to both congratulate Bill on the win and help him go through part of the locker he'd won, giving Bill tips on how he should go about looking through the unit and on determining its value. Though we don't see how much he made, it is implied Bill made a profit and he's thankful Jarrod was there to help. In his own post-auction interview, Jarrod says he was the newbie once too, so he was glad he could pass on his knowledge.
Karmic Jackpot: In "Not Your Average Bear," Barry kicks the episode off with a generous offering of free donuts and coffee to everyone attending the auction. By episode's end, his generosity is rewarded when the locker he bought winds up being worth eight hundred times the amount he paid for it! (Sure, it was a $2000 locker that hey paid two dollars and fifty cents for, but still, that's a heck of an investment for the money.)
He managed to do it again when he bought a crappy looking locker and found an antique Mexican mask worth two to three hundred dollars (and sold it to his appraiser for $150). What he paid? One dollar.
Kick the Dog: Darrell does not care for the new auctioneers Johan and Earl Graham, and expresses this by chiding Earl's clothing when he introduces himself.
In one episode, as they looked over one locker that had several containers in it, Barry remarked that he'd once found an actual human kidney in a locker he'd purchased.
Literal example: In "Auction Sesame", Barry bought a locker with an actual kitchen sink in it.
In a highlight episode, Darrell revealed that he'd once uncovered a plastic-wrapped human corpse in a storage locker he'd bought. The previous owner had murdered his wife and hid her body in the unit.
Recently, he refuted that claim on his Twitter.
In a highlight episode, Laura tells a story about a friend of hers who had wanted to start bidding on storage lockers. The friend bought a locker, discovered a human corpse in it, and stopped buying lockers after that.
Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Averted. Darrell comes off as this sometimes, but he is quite knowledgable when it comes to buying storage lockers.
....but this trope is Inverted if the viewer has a good idea of what the item really sells for when the buyers throw out their self-assessed appraisals.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Dave missed getting three Santa Ana lockers in "Land of the Loss" after Darrell and Jarrod try to keep Dave from winning one. The irony? Those who bought the lockers lost money, while Dave showed common sense by not buying any of them.
"Sometimes when you walk away with money in your pocket, you've made the best buy of the day," Dave closes his segment with, and the episode proved he was no idiot.
Though to be fair, Darrell lost a double-or-nothing toss and gave Boy Scout collectibles to his appraiser at no charge, Barry flat-out gave a $1,000 organ to HIS appraisers (who were musical nightclub performers, and he felt they'd appreciate it more than any other buyer could), and Jarrod only missed the "break even" mark by $50, which was the least of the losses (he hinted he was saved from Brandi's anger by that the loss could have been a lot worse—she wasn't pleased he spent so much).
Since all the lockers were "money-losers," the narrator lets the first mention go to who lost the most, then go in descending losses until he mentioned Dave was "this week's winner" who led the field by not spending a dime.
If only Barry had sold that organ...
Losing Horns: Type B, when someone is expecting a big haul on an item and it's worth considerably less.
Malaproper: Darrell. Even though the editors don't seem to ever notice, he's good for the occasional gem such as "[Brandon] better ship up or shape out", or "Dave Hester keeping his word is like a bird turd falling on your birthday cake", or "It's like shooting sitting ducks in a barrel," or "Brandon and I are kapoop."
Manipulative Editing: Most obviously in "Stairway to Hemet". The story is that Barry brought Dave a hat with "YUUUP!" on the front, so that he would shut up and point to the hat instead when bidding. However, Dave didn't shut up, even coming to stand next to Barry with his arm around him during one auction. Later, Barry grumbled about wanting his money back on the hat. However, at the beginning of the episode, the hat Dave is wearing already has "Yuuup!" on it (albeit on the back), and we see a glimpse of his truck (which at least in later episodes also has "YUUUP!" all over it). His employees then show up to the locker he won on the very same episode with "YUUUP!" in the exact same font and a trademark symbol on their T-shirts. Dave's "YUUUP!" hat also has a trademark symbol on it in subsequent episodes, and the symbol appears to be there but Sharpied out on the hat Barry supposedly gave him.
It's uncanny the number of times someone (usually Barry) will win an early locker, break away from the auction crowd to preview the contents, then abruptly decide to stop doing so, just in time to make an appearance in the next featured auction.
Dave Hester unsuccessfully sued A&E, claiming they are planting finds in lockers and helping 'their' buyers into getting said lockers. One wonders what the real falling out is, since one of the examples cited is one of his lockers. (The one with the Elvis papers)
Dave ended up fired from the show. It's unclear if his lawsuit triggered his sacking, or if some other issue with the show caused him to get fired, and then sue the network. As noted, he and A&E settled their differences, and he is back on the show.
Mock Guffin / Grail in the Garbage: Can be played separately OR together depending on the locker, such as if what drew a buyer to a locker turned out to be trash, but something ELSE previously unseen in the locker turned out to be valuable instead.
Played literally with both together in that order when Jarrod bought a locker because of a jewelry box he saw in it—only to find it had junk in the box instead. However, further examination of the locker showed there WAS jewelry in another box in the locker that was worth quite a bit.
He's also learned from experience that only 1 in 10 safes have anything of value to a storage buyer.
In "Not Your Average Bear," the last locker of the day was a pitiful display, with only some broken junk and a cheap looking chest of drawers. Barry threw out a pity bid of $2.50 and won. When he was looking through the drawers he discovered glass bottles... which turned out to be antique fly traps worth $2000. That's an 80,000% profit.
Barry did it again in "Dial C For Chupacabra", throwing out a pity bid of a dollar on a junky-looking locker. He discovered a Mexican nature mask, worth $300, which he sold for $150.
Motor Mouth: Dan and Laura, the husband and wife auctioneers that speak very fast.
Oh, Crap: Darrell buys a locker mostly because he sighted a box which was supposed to contain a Casio keyboard that he thought would fetch a good price. There was nothing in the box at all.
He proceeds to sell the locker to Dave for his deposit, and Dave makes a profit from scuba gear found in it.
In another episode, after returning to a locker he was initially thrilled to get, Darrell gets another, more thorough look at it, and realizes he might have a problem:
Dave buys a locker, finds an antique snuffbox inside, then drops it while getting into his truck to take it for appraisal. When he sees how badly it's been damaged, he doesn't even bother to make the trip.
Everyone (well, except the newcomers) when its revealed that Dave has returned.
Once an Episode: Dan's explanation of the auction rules. On the rare occasion Dan isn't there, Laura provides it.
Laura's reminder to the winning bidders at the end of the auction: "Don't forget to pay the lady!" When Laura takes over an auction, it becomes "Don't forget to pay the Dan!"
One Steve Limit: As expected when dealing with Real Life, averted. In the early seasons, Jarrod had an assistant named Mark and sometimes came up against a big-time bidder named Mark (Balelo). Another bidder named Mark had a minor role in an episode of Season 3.
The Parody: Courtesy of MAD Magazine: "Storage Boor$"; it makes timely mention of "Grave Fester" and his accusations of salting the lockers (one locker that on first look seemed like it had trash then shown to have valuables was explained as just dusting off the trash).
Pirate Booty: "Make it Rain, Girl" had Jarrod win a locker that had not one, but TWO safes in an auction. They were filled very well with coins, including some half-reals from the Spanish Fleet. The coins are appraised between $3500 and $4000.
The Points Mean Nothing: As the buyers go through the contents of their lockers, an on-screen graphic keeps track of how much they estimate the content to be worth against how much they paid for the locker, the ending of each episode recapping how much profit everyone made, or how much they lost. But the price estimates are often so vague that trying to actually keep track of them to determine potential profit is just guesswork, and do not take into account this is just the price the buyers are hoping to get reselling the item, not what they'll actually be likely to get.
Product Placement: In real life Jarrod is also a Co-Owner of Outlaw Apparel (the clothing he wears on the show) and the Outlaw Apparel shirts, as well as the skeleton-patterned gloves Barry wears, are on the A&E website.
Pungeon Master: Barry, especially when one locker had him toss out line after line after he found various items that kept causing him to pun. He even ended up cracking Jarrod up with the old "Sum Yung Gun sauce" line.
The show's creator, Thom Beers, refers to Barry's many humorous puns as "Weisscracks".
Put on a Bus: Dave for a couple of seasons due to his lawsuit against A&E. The beginning credits of the show made zero mention of him and the numerous individuals cycled through his slot in succeeding episodes.
Barry departed the show after season 4 to host Barry'd Treasure.
In one episode Barry brings along a couple of psychics to "scan" the lockers; Dave gets extremely mad at them making a mockery of his profession (as he sees it) and storms off without winning a single unit.
In the season 3 episode "The Full Monty-Bello," Mark, Jarrod's best-known employee, has a colossal one, storming off from the locker and, apparently, his job.
Rare Guns: One episode had Barry turn up a set of rare flare guns in a unit he bought.
Averted in one episode where Nabila thought she had found an antique flintlock pistol in an otherwise worthless locker, but it turned out to be a 1960's reproduction and not worth anything.
Real Life Writes the Plot: In 2012, Dave sued A&E, accusing them of rigging the auctions. This inevitably led to him being written out and replaced as "The Mogul".
The likely candidate to replace Dave was Mark Balelo, but he committed suicide after a DUI arrest.
Auctioneer Don suffering a fortunately non-fatal brain-aneurism.
Real Men Wear Pink: Barry once bet on and won a locker just to get his hands on a pink scooter for his personal collection.
Record Needle Scratch: When Jarrod gets told that the last one who used the phonograph he wanted appraised put it in backwards, we hear the scratch—and Barry apologizing in the next segment, "Sorry, Jarrod...that was me."
Barry gets another of these by saying that Laura's "real proud of her double D's." He immediately clarifies, "You know, her husband. Dan Dotson."
Red Eyes, Take Warning: One stinger has Dave pictured with "red eyes." Barry is at a shelter talking about what it was used for—biowarfare, nukes, zombies, gorillas...and the appraiser kicks in, "Dave Hester."
Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Barry comes across as this at times, since he's doing all this for fun and not to make a living. Occasionally played up when he elects to keep a rare item from a locker, a luxury most other buyers can't afford.
At least one episode has Jarrod stewing as Barry throws away and destroys "non-collectibles" that could easily be sold to Jarrod and Brandi for their second-hand store.
Jarrod: He's throwing out $20 bills.
In "San Burrito", Barry wins two lockers thanks to his friend also bidding. He offers one locker for $300 to Jarrod, who accepts. (Jarrod and Brandi find two "bird boxes" in the locker that are whistling and working—and are worth about $7,000.) And his other locker Barry trades the contents to a Hispanic woman for a complete Mexican dinner with burritos—"one of the best burritos I've ever had," he claimed. Since these lockers were both untouched AND unopened since the auction as an extra scene on the website showed, Barry had to offer based on what everyone saw, and he didn't have time to process the two lockers he won.
He didn't do the same for a set of fur coats though and gave them to Dave instead. And Dave didn't even go to that auction in the first place.
In "Unclaimed Baggage," Dave Jr. offers Barry the chance to consign the items from his locker at Dave's shop with Barry and the store splitting the proceeds.
Rim Shot: When Barry ask the couple who sing at the nightclub "How old is it?" the husband says "Watch your language." Barry is quick to point out he wasn't talking about the wife but the organ he needed appraised.
The Rival: Darrell and Dave have always had a bit of this going on and it's gotten worse with Dave's return to the show.
Mark Balelo and everyone else, but especially Dave, it seems.
About 90% of Darrel's and Rene's interactions with eachother consist of name calling and a mutual dislike.
All right, folks. We're going to remove the lock and open the door. We’ll give you five minutes to look around. You can’t go inside. You can’t open any boxes. Whoever has the most cash can certainly own it. ARE YOU READY?!?
Scary Black Man: Ivy is really more of a Gentle Giant, but isn't above using his imposing size and rather menacing countenance to try to psych out other buyers, particularly Darrell. In one episode he told Darrell that the scar on his face was incurred doing MMA (Ivy actually got it as the result of a fishing accident - he lives on the shore and is an ardent fisher).
Schmuck Bait: When one of the show regulars lets one of the others get under his skin, which can often result in paying much more for a unit than they intended. Usually, Dave is the instigator.
After an argument that gets heated and possibly physical with Dave, Jarrod does this back to him. It becomes Jarrod's mission to get Dave back for costing Jarrod all the money that his family could have used.
In "More Like WRONG Beach", Barry falls prey to this when a storage center employee tells him that there's a motorcycle unit up for auction that day. He wins the unit in question, only to discover that there's no motorcycle, and he loses money.
Selective Memory: Barry declares his $1 parlay into a $150 payoff an all-time storage auction record, seemingly forgetting his rather famous turning of $2.50 into $2000 just the season before.
Serious Business: Big time. The title of the show is Storage Wars for a reason. Buyers refer to certain neighborhoods as their turf and arguments have almost come to blows. Dave takes it the most seriously (he once left an auction because he felt Barry's antics made a mockery of his profession, for example) but all regulars take it seriously to some extent, which makes sense considering its their livelihood. Barry is the exception, as he is already quite wealthy and bids purely for fun.
Barry is attempting to take it seriously, as his accountant has tried to curtail his spending.
Smug Snake: Dave again, especially when he's giving his recaps of the day's actions. The other bidders are not shy in expressing their dislike of the man.
Rene also. He frequently points out the other bidders as "Rookies" despite having a fair few losses himself. Darell non secretly takes great pleasure in outbidding him or seeing him get humiliated.
Mark (the first bidder) shows signs of this, being overconfident and with a purse loaded with cash. He wants to be taken seriously as a player, and he is—the other buyers treat him no less seriously than Dave (who is a Saint when sarcastically compared to Mark).
Spin-Off: Five of 'em and counting, as listed above.
Spoonerism: Barry once referred to Darrell and Jarrod as "Jarrell" and "Darrod".
Spotlight-Stealing Squad - Barry turned into this during his final run on the show. It was almost as if Barry was the only person on the show period.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After Dave and Barry left. Rene and Ivy have some similar traits to the two respectively but they are both more like variations than exact copies. Rene has the condescending attitude but more espescially towards Darrel except he clearly doesn't have the funds Dave had and is part of a husband-wife team. Ivy is just as if not even more eccentric than Barry but bids like the other buyers and is there for more or less profit in contrast to Barry seemingly just being there for fun.
Title Drop: "Hook, Line and Sucker" refers to how Dave got Barry to bid $320 on a locker full of mattresses. Barry gets the last laugh, though—he finds inside the locker artwork of Hollywood Park racetrack from June 1938. Black and white pictures, including rendering of frescoes then that were lost in the 1949 Hollywood Park fire. The value of the pictures is $5,000.
One locker they clashed over is won by a $9,000 bid by Dave—and there are a hundred lighting systems from China in it, which gives Dave a profit of $21,000.
The second Mark-versus-Dave clash is over a locker with rehab equipment; this one goes for Dave's one uncontested bid of $1,400, and he makes $3,035 in profit from it.
Mark has had this done to him, as well. Barry's Batman Gambit ran him up $3,500. Averted when Darrell tries it later on, as Mark drops it on him and costs him over $700.
Jarrod has sometimes done this to Dave.
If with Darrell, Jarrod's trying to keep Dave from getting a locker.
If by himself, Jarrod is trying to force Dave to overpay.
In "Almost the Greatest Show on Earth" Jarrod played a dangerous game of "Auction Chicken" as the bids went higher and higher: eventually Dave won with $9,000 (and lost money on the locker), but the big risk might be that Jarrod, who didn't have the deep pockets Dave did, might be stuck with that locker instead (Jarrod gambled that Dave's ego wouldn't let The Mogul get outbid by The Young Gun).
A piece of art or other desirable collectible is in a locker, even if not sold.
Barry does this the most often. "Unclaimed Baggage" had him find a wooden sculpture of a head, while an artist turned a 50's TV Barry found into another piece of art in "Fu Dog Day Afternoon." note Both pieces were valued at $6,000 each—but Barry kept them both, as they were "too cool" to part with.
Darrell had the antique automated bridge table Barry wanted, and they arranged for a swap in the future if Barry came across stuff Darrell wanted in return.
Another goal is reached.
Barry wanted to win the first locker in an auction.
Darrell and Jarrod wanted to "locker-block" Dave at all costs. So far it happened twice. The first time, they profited. The second time? They got the goal but didn't make money.
Jarrod got Dave to overspend on a locker AND lose money in the process. If Dave spent a lot BUT still made a profit of any size, it didn't go quite like Jarrod hoped.
Worthless Yellow Rocks: Both inverted and invoked on numerous occasions. Different bidders always notice different aspects of a given locker, and keeping quiet about a valuable item that no one else recognizes is common, and then there's the times when bidders buy a locker hoping this will happen.
Literally averted in "Gambler's Last Resort." Dave wins a rock collection for $275 that's a lot of colors and definitely not worthless: the gemologist he takes them to appraises the lot at $5,000.
In "Third Eye of the Tiger," Jarrod and Brandi get a hold of some New-Age crystals that give them a profit.
It's sometimes painful to watch the series when you know about obscure but rare items like working vacuum tubes or electronics that could be worth hundreds or thousands...that proceeds to get tossed out because the buyer knows little to nothing about their worth.
Zonk: A locker's contents can sometimes be this, especially if a bidder spent a lot of money on it. Can just as easily be averted if there turns out to be something valuable buried underneath all the worthless items.