Back in 1989 two witless time travelers sparked a catch-phrase that would stand the test of time much better than the movie that it came from. After Keanu Reeve’s Ted stated that strange things were afoot at the Circle K, for years to come there were “strange things afoot” just about everywhere. Fast forward to 2012 and the phrase still applies—especially when it comes to purchasing self storage units at auction.
Strange is not a bad thing at all (most of the time). Thanks to the popularity of reality shows like Auction Hunters and Storage Wars, self storage auctions have skyrocketed in popularity. When people buy a unit at auction they are essentially doing it sight unseen meaning they have no idea what they are getting. Many folks have gotten some strange, but pleasant surprises in the process.
Sometimes the surprises can be a little scary. Recently when a self storage facility in Los Angeles was preparing for an auction what appeared to be a WWII-era bomb was found inside a self storage unit. The bomb squad was promptly called out. In the end the “bomb” ended up being an old movie prop.
“It apparently looks like a bomb, but they don’t know if it is active,” someone at the scene said. “They just want to make sure it’s not explosive.”
This incident ended up being harmless, but back in 2010 a Georgia self storage facility did find a landmine with around one pound of C-4 explosives attached to it!
When it comes to auctions it is often the allure of finding the needle in a haystack that attracts people. Often times when a mystery presents itself, like a self storage unit filled with unidentifiable stuff, curiosity wins out (or creates elaborate images that are far off the mark).
At an auction held at a self storage facility in Vermont earlier this month a unit was opened and found to have a storage container inside. One person in attendance speculated that there may be a corvette inside. Once the laughter subsided, the possibility crept into many minds. What else would someone keep in one of these? Why would it be in self storage?
The unit ended up going for $100. The container ended up being full of flooring for a bowling alley.
You never can tell what you’ll find in a self storage unit at some of these auctions. At an auction held in Connecticut a rookie bidder went ahead and gambled $50 on a unit that smelled like bad food. Amongst the garbage the lucky bidder ended up finding an envelope with $800 in it.
Apparently there are strange things afoot at more than just the Circle K!
“Bomb squad investigates WWII-era device at Hollywood storage unit.” Los Angeles Times; 26 March 2012.
“Trash or treasure? Think quick, bidders.” Boston.com; 25 March 2012.