A new season of Storage Wars is just around the corner, and viewers are already excited to see what treasures the team will find this season. After the COVID-19 pandemic brought almost everything to a complete standstill in 2020, the show returns for its first season post-lockdown.
While things might look a little different with the cast members wearing masks at the auctions, returning cast members like Brandi Passante are bringing their same game this season.
Brandi talked with Distractify about just how real the show is and whether or not it's scripted ahead of its 13th season.
Is 'Storage Wars' scripted?
There's long been debate over the authenticity of the show, and some question if the hauls are as genuine as they claim to be. Storage Wars even faced a lawsuit from former cast member Dave Hester in 2012, claiming he's been wrongfully terminated and alleging that the show sometimes planted items in the storage units to make the program more interesting. While the courts eventually sided with A&E, the stigma has continued to follow the show throughout its subsequent seasons.
But when asked about the show's authenticity, Brandi was insistent that their hauls are 100 percent real.
"They're public auctions. It would be collusion, which is against the law, to tamper with any of the storage units prior to [the auction]," she said, "because anyone can come to these auctions."
She admitted that sometimes the show doesn't include the storage units that had less-than-favorable hauls "because it's not as interesting," but she denied that items are planted in the units.
"You're going to get good ones and bad ones, and I don't think the show really highlights the bad ones as much ... but it definitely happens," Brandi said. "From the very beginning, I think when people saw the show, they just assumed that this was some kind of get-rich-quick, modern-day treasure hunt and in every unit, you're going to find something great — but that's just not how it goes. You just have to try your best to make a guesstimate as to what's going to be in there."
What are Brandi's tips for bidding on storage units?
Like Brandi said, bidding on abandoned storage units will always be hit or miss, but she also said there are certain indicators of a unit that will suggest whether or not there's anything valuable to be found in it before you begin bidding.
While you can't go through a unit before an auction, most of the time potential buyers can peer in to get a glimpse at some of the contents of the unit. From here, Brandi said there are some basic questions to ask before deciding to bid.
"Is it a clean unit? Are there boxes that are purchased or boxes that are taken from the back of the grocery store, or are they packed in trash bags?" she asked. "Is it thrown in there, or is it clean? And you can see a few items outwardly that look decent?"
Sometimes the appearance of the unit alone will be a good indicator if the unit is worth an investment.
"If it's messy, if it's just tossed in there, you can tell they obviously didn't care about their things anyway, so why would there be something of value?" she said.
You can watch Brandi in action this season when Season 13 premieres on A&E at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesdays.