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The Sad Truth About Storage Wars Lockers

When Storage Wars started its run on A&E in 2010, the show was an unexpected hit, inspiring a whole slate of reality television series hoping to cash in on the suspense of busting open a locker for a possible payout.

Storage Wars' simple concept managed to tap into the same "hidden treasure" thrill that helped make Pawn Stars popular. Once a customer with a locker in a California storage facility has failed to pay rent for three months, the entire locker goes up for auction. On Storage Wars, the professional buyers who made up the show's cast had a chance to bid on the items in a locker as a set at auction. Storage Wars used a combination of colorful cast members, big payouts, and rare items to stay on the air for almost a decade — even if it did turn that some of what got filmed was totally fake.

However, behind the light banter and big cash payments, some fans have speculated that there are probably some pretty depressing stories behind some of the lockers that get busted open. Here is the sad truth about Storage Wars lockers that the show always avoids.

Lockers on Storage Wars go up for auction because something went wrong

The simple fact about any storage unit that has gone to auction — whether it is on Storage Wars, a competing show, or in real life — is that something has occurred that has made the owner unable to continue to pay rent on the locker. Viewers could even assume that more valuable storage unit items would only be neglected due to particularly traumatic events.

One fan of Storage Wars spoke of their own experiences buying storage lockers at auction and the sad story behind one of their best finds. The fan explained, "I got a small unit of nice clothes that didn't sell at auction. From the letters, I learned he was a middle-class kid who tried to impress a couple dudes who were not and was convicted of armed robbery. He was off to jail, and the aunt he wrote to decided the family would think he was in the military" (via Reddit).

Another fan on Reddit described their experience after they were unable to pay their storage locker fees. After scrambling to remove the items, the Redditor failed to get them all removed before the deadline and had their grandfather's tools sold at auction. So while Storage Wars may seem like a lighthearted treasure hunt and an amusing way to turn a profit, there are quite possibly some very sad stories behind the items up for auction.