Ever wondered what happens to your lost, unclaimed airport luggage? What about those DVDs you ordered, or your mom's care package that never arrived? Your lost items could be featured on a new series called “Lost and Sold," debuting on Slice this coming Monday.
The latest in reality auction television follows six bargain-seeking enthusiasts at the 403 Auction -- Canada's largest undelivered freight auction in the country -- as they try to outbid each other each week on lost-in-transit treasures.
So what, exactly, is involved in a transit auction? How is "Lost and Sold" different? Let us walk you through the bargain basics.
You (Sort of) Know What You're Getting, But It's A Gamble
Unlike "Storage Wars," these bidders know what they're buying. These are in-demand items that people have ordered and want -- such as the latest electronics and household items -- rather than old junk and musty furniture that's been forgotten in storage lockers and boxes.
An interesting twist: Luggage is an especially lucrative item at the auctions and is sold completely sealed. It’s up to the buyer to guess if the contents inside are worth the price, which makes for a risky and exciting way to do business.
"It is very addictive," said Jenn, who co-owns the auction with husband Jamie. "You have to know what you're buying, and you have to be willing to take the risk."
An obvious trick of the trade is to look for high-end bags, like Louis Vuitton luggage, which is likely to have valuable items inside. Carry-ons are also secret treasure troves, since most folks keep their valuables close by while travelling.
You Can Find, Buy And Sell Just About Anything
Short of drugs and weapons (which Jamie admits are found and confiscated quite often) everything at the auction is fair game -- from luggage, clothing, electronics and antiques.
Even wayward sex toys are pawned off for profit, and more often than you'd think; apparently, ordering weird fetish objects online is preferable than suffering the humiliation of an in-store purchase, which gives them all the more chance to get lost in shipping. (We assume the orderer may also be sheepish about a fleshlight gone astray.)
There's Big Risk (And Big Reward)
Even though you think you know what you're buying, you can never really be sure what you're bargaining for. A lucrative Rolex could turn out to be a fake ... or an unusual, risky item can result in a surprising success.
"We bought one of those 3D scanners once, for around $4,000," said Jamie when asked about his biggest score. "We sold it for like, $18,000. I think it took us three weeks to turn a $13,000 profit -- all for just a couple weeks' work."
Auction Hunters Are An Interesting Bunch
Aside from the thrill of "searching for treasure"-style thrill of the show, the series' main appeal may be in its zany cast of fast-talking, outspoken bargain hunters -- none of whom seem to really get along.
There's Robbie and Kathleen (a.k.a. "Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood") who like to spend big to win big and scare off newbies; Lou, a.k.a. "Pistola," who's an Italian with cajones and a taste for flashy stuff; and John, a.k.a. "The Killer," who looks and talks like a 1980s rocker and isn't afraid to butt heads with castmates.
“I never liked any one of them to begin with," he said. "Especially Rob, because he was always my main competitor and he’s the one who cost me the most money."
If For Any Other Reason...
Who knows? You may even spot your lost item up for auction.
Lost and Sold debuts Monday, Sept. 2, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Slice.
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