Since Tom and I have what I call "baby tv cable", we're behind the times and rather clueless about what's out there on all those zillions of channels we can't see. (Which ok, is probably not a bad thing in most cases.)
But last week, through our subscription to Netflix, we discovered Hoarders.
Wow. That program scared us. We beheld bits of deja vu regarding our back porch, our bedroom closet, and our barn. That show was good for us. I even began clearing our back porch a tad (emphases on 'a tad') and we both promised each other we would never, ever become so out of control with our junk, er, collections.
But then today, after Tom left for physical therapy, I discovered the show, American Pickers.
Uh-oh. That just may be our downfall. American Pickers is the complete opposite of Hoarders. The two stars become absolutely giddy when they find the yards and barns of hoarders and then offer money for the hoarders' rusty/decaying old objects (which they then re-sell. That's their livelihood.)
For fun I googled American Pickers just to see what people said about it, and as usual, I was sorry I did. My oh my, some people surely do enjoy losing their minds and their manners while on message boards. They accused the two American Pickers guys (and the whole History Channel) of everything evil under the sun.
And ok... When the guys bought a saddle from an 88-year-old veteran for $75 (his own stated price) and discovered later that they could probably sell it for between $1,500 and $5,000**, I did feel bad for the older gentleman.
People on the message boards felt the two A.P. guys should have been beaten and/or shot/tortured/blown-up.
Yet I had to ask myself, what if these guys had made that deal with my own grandfather? How would I feel? And you know? I would feel guilty. Guilty because *I* hadn't said earlier, "Hey Grandpa! That spiffy dirty old saddle that is (decaying/falling apart) in your garage is worth around $3,000 to a collector who would oil it up and cherish it. Would you like me to try selling it on Ebay? Or would you rather keep it?"
Put another way, I'd cite the relatives of the elderly sellers for being thoughtless or unkind rather then the Pickers. Family should look-out for family rather than leaving it to a couple scraggy strangers who drive up in a white van. Or to a sweet little couple like Tom and me who are still searching for that one deal of a lifetime.
So there's that.
And there will always (I hope) be this, too: We live in a free country where a man can choose a price to sell what he owns. Or he can choose not to sell it. He can buy a thing and sell it for a profit, even a large profit, if he can find a buyer. Or he can keep the item for 50 years, treat it well or poorly, then sell it to a couple of guys who just show up in his yard one day willing to buy it for a price, he, himself, names. And the two guys can pay that price or barter a lower one and pay that if the seller agrees.
It's called freedom. Free enterprise. It's called living in America. And it's also called let both the buyer and the seller beware.
But it is not called stealing. At least, I'm not calling it that.
You may disagree and that's ok. At least we still have that freedom, too.
** Ok, to be fair to the Pickers, they did not know the value of the saddle when they bought it. Only afterward did they go to a professional saddle guy for an estimate and they seemed genuinely shocked. On two other episodes they kept giving the women more money than they were originally asking and Tom and I found that quite honorable.
Some people on the message boards also said the two American Picker guys were disrespectful toward the sellers, but in the one and a half episodes I've watched, I've not noticed that. Frankly, I saw the opposite, but maybe I missed something. What I've seen is that the guys do get a bit giddy at the deals they make and when they're speaking to the camera perhaps they phrase things imperfectly. But I can understand that. I so know that giddy, heady feeling which has made me say plenty of things I've regretted later.
P.S. So Tom arrived home and together we watched three episodes of American Pickers. He loved it. Says it's his new favorite show. Uh-oh.