There are more and more reality TV programmes that give out the message that it is okay to be rude and  insulting, and that it is fun to hurt others.

Take two of my favourite shows STORAGE HUNTERS AND BAGGAGE BATTLES.

As you may know, these programmes feature people who go to auctions to bid on storage lockers where someone has not paid and to bid on travel bags that have been lost and the owners have not claimed them. Like any auction the highest bidder wins the locker or bag. It is an exciting watch because people bid “blind” not knowing what really is in the lockers or bags. Sometimes, the successful bidder finds something valuable and something they get a pile of junk!

This exciting watching is spoiled by the disgraceful behaviour of some of the regular participants and are examples of unethical TV shows. For example:

  • Some bidders insult one another, frequently calling them names such as “trailer trash
  • Occasionally there is a some violence – pushing and shoving and even fights
  • When people win a locker and it turns out to be rubbish, you see other bidders taking delight in the loss .. making sarcastic comments such as “what a pile of crap” and “how could you be so stupid to bid on that
  • When a bidder wins a lot and it is great with good monetary value, you hear some other bidders saying things like  “I didn’t want that locker anyway” So instead of  being happy for the winners and congratulating them, they are bitter and show it in word and body language,  saying things like “You bought a load of crap”, “Enjoy your stupid …whatever.


The worst is yet to come. Frequently, you see human beings doing things to hurt others. Here are just three examples: you hear bidders (usually a husband and wife team)  plotting to:

  1. Bid the price up even when they don’t want the locker or bag, merely to annoy others or to deplete their cash.
  2. Bid on an item merely so that another person does not get it … to be superior … to put the other in their place
  3. Harass other bidders by making sarcastic comments in the hope of putting them off not bidding or making them angry so they bid more that they would have done normally.

One could claims that the behaviours just described are unethical. Why go to an auction to have fun and hopefully make some money and end up insulting others?

But what about the producers? If you watch those programmes you will see the same bidders every auction. Could it be that the producers – for the sake of “good TV” prompt the bidders to behaviour badly ? This is a possibility because why else would you call your programme “Baggage Battles” or “Storage Wars“? Why do the producers ask biddrs to stop unethical behaviour? Do they not realise that see this behaviour every week makes it seem normal and acceptable?

Indeed, there may be other producers acting unethically. You can see here one contestant claiming that some producers seed the lockers with high value items. If true, how unethical is that?


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