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Here's Who Really Does The Picking On American Pickers

If the creators of "American Pickers" had it their way, viewers would feel as if everything about the show is authentic and impromptu. When it comes to finding and buying interesting items from collectors across the country, the show frames it as if everything is spontaneous. The show's star pickers, Frank and Mike either spot something that piques their interest on the road, or their storefront superstar, Danielle, calls them with a tip on a potential picking place. Regardless of the method, Frank and Mike's picking journey across America looks natural.

Of course, as with all reality shows, there's a little more orchestration behind the camera than the show's producers really want fans to know. Take a touch of reality away from the reality show, and it becomes much more entertaining. As such, you might not be surprised to learn that Frank and Mike aren't always the ones who do the picking on "American Pickers." On top of that, they might not even handle much of the negotiating.

The show's producers do a good bit of picking themselves

No matter the TV show, there's always a great deal of preparation that goes behind every episode prior to filming, and reality shows are no exception. Even if a person's behaviors and reactions are authentic and unscripted, someone has probably put a ton of effort into making sure the episode follows a certain guideline. In the case of "American Pickers," that means that many locations, collections, and items are decided long before Frank and Mike even get there. This is not a huge secret, either. Part of the process is scouting out areas and sending public calls to action to find unique collections and interesting locations. 

According to a Go San Angelo article about a local store featured on the show, there's a long process that sellers go through before anyone from "American Pickers" even goes to the chosen location to look around. In this case, the store in question was Ken's Toys. The owner, Ken Young, explained that he had "a three-week lead" before the production crew showed up. Before that, the producers have "a 'snoop.' They get somebody to go into a site and look around. The man who came in that day, he gave me his card (with the show's affiliation). Then I got a phone call and they said when they would be coming." Young and his family stated that Mike and everyone involved in the show were "knowledgeable" and kind, and they were really interested in the stories behind the items, which Young was happy to tell. 

There's nothing casual about the pickers process, and there's a lot of earnest effort put into finding interesting locations and objects to be featured on the show. But if you think that the producer's job stops at finding collections, however, you'd be wrong.

Sometimes producers are also the ones to decide on prices

In addition to scouting certain collections and items, the producers actually do a fair amount of the negotiations. Not to discredit the picking skills of Frank and Mike, who truly are the real deal. However, producers often negotiate prices beforehand, according to Living101. That said, Frank and Mike have been known to continue haggling after the seller and producers have agreed on a price. As it's their job, they always want to ensure that they can get the best profit margin for the sale, and it's an aspect of the business that makes the show feel more real. 

Although they might not appear on-screen, it makes perfect sense that the production team would be skilled at finding and negotiating sales. The responsibility can't be completely on Frank and Mike, and in reality, if the two men were the only ones doing any picking, "American Pickers" would move at a much slower pace than it does. Regardless, the entire process might be something to consider next time you see Mike or Frank "randomly" discover a great item in a collection they supposedly just stumbled upon.