Storage Auctions

Reno Reporters Fail to Find Treasure at Auctions, but Do Help a Grieving Woman

Offline Travis

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By: Tiana Bodine
AuctionsTX.com

Following the success of popular auction programs, a pair of Reno reporters set out to discover what all the fuss was about.  The journalists, working for the local Reno Gazette-Journal headed out to a local storage auction to do a light-hearted feature on whether or not storage auctions could translate to heavy profits.  Their results were underwhelming.  After being out-bid on several units by members of the 80-person crowd in attendance at the auction, they finally secured a unit for $300, only to find that the contents were worth less than $100. 

They donated most of the items to charity and were happy to walk away from the auction with a story for their paper.  After all, they were hardly expecting Storage Wars-esque levels of success  from a single auction, and the results of their efforts seemed to agree with what they had known all along: Auctions aren't very good get-rich-quick schemes.  They reported their findings, and that might have been the end of it if not for a few attention-getting items found in the unit. 

While the reporters were sorting through items to sell or donate, they found a number of personal effects including photographs and the cremains of a man named Patrick.  The journalists then worked to return the items to their rightful owner, reaching out through social media to contact her. 

As it turns out, the storage unit's owner was a woman, Tonna McNally, who had undergone a fate familiar to anyone in the auction industry.  Reeling for a divorce and eviction, she placed all of her valuables into storage while attempting to get back on her feet.  When a family medical emergency left her unable to make her bills, the storage unit went into foreclosure. 

McNally was overjoyed at being reunited with her family photos and the ashes of her former father-in-law, all of which she thought had been lost forever.  This made for a heartwarming end to the Reno Gazette-Journal's piece, and teaches a deep lesson about the storage auction business:  You're not just buying items, you're buying access to a person's past, and it's best to treat that access gently.

Offline alloro

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You're not just buying items, you're buying access to a person's past, and it's best to treat that access gently.

That's easy to say when you've only handled one unit. Now try investing all of the time for each unit when you buy a hundred of them and see if your attitude changes at all.

Offline Alias300

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I like the article as far as getting the word out that its not a sure fire money maker, like storage wars.
Wish they would have added the work and time factor, dump, truck.....


Tho in true journalistic fashion they reported no facts.  The fact that they were out to get a unit, HAD to get a unit for the story and therefore would bid on anything doesn't really give an accurate picture.

Also, no inventory of units contents?   We take their word its contents were worth only $100?

I could write an article about how auctions aren't worth it.   Go to auction, first unit that has only a garbage bag in it I shout out $1000 bid.   Then write how I lost money.

Just not a fan of how they turned it into a human interest story in the end.  No facts? No problem.  Tug at emotionl heart strings and people don't need facts.....

The journalists then worked to return the items to their rightful owner, reaching out through social media to contact her.  .

This should have been written:  "the journalist followed the law and auction regulation and returned personal item to previous owner".   But no, had to boost their ego, not report that fact, and make themselves look good.



<rant over>




This should have been written:  "the journalist followed the law and auction regulation and returned personal item to previous owner".   But no, had to boost their ego, not report that fact, and make themselves look good.

It's not law in every state that personals be returned to the owner. In NC, it's not the law. The buyer of the unit owns everything. I return the personals as a courtesy.. mostly because they're of no value to me.

Offline Travis

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I'm not aware of a law in any state that requires personal document, photos, etc. to be returned to the tenant. It's just a common courtesy.

Now foreclosure/eviction laws may be different.


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