Small Business

Reality TV Shows Spawn American Collectible Craze
Storage Wars

Admit it, you’re a dumpster diver at heart. Or at least you would be one if it were socially acceptable.

Thanks to the popularity of trash-to-treasure reality TV shows, however, you no longer need to roll up your sleeves to get your bargain-hunting fix, writes Shelly K. Schwartz.

"Indeed, the show that started it all, "Antiques Roadshow," which debuted in the U.S. some 15 years ago, has spawned a whole new breed of TV programming that uses blind bidding wars and junkyard jockeying to up the emotional ante on the thrill of the hunt."

Reality-based programs may have helped enfranchise the yard sale set.

Though no empirical data exist, experts say the flea market industry, with estimated annual sales of $30 billion, has been energized by the renewed interest in antiques and collectibles.