Trash or Treasure? Tag Sales Subject of New TV Series
By Andrew Soboeiro
Is one man's trash another's treasure?
With the popularity of "Pawn Stars," "Storage Wars," "Hardcore Pawn" and "American Restoration," the answer is yes, and emphatically so.
It should be no surprise, then, that a pilot for a TV show is being shot about Moore County's tag sales - except for those who don't know what a tag sale is.
"It's called a tag sale because everything in the house has a tag, a price," says local estate sale specialist Joy Wise. "It happens when I liquidate the personal items in a house that the family does not want. You walk in and see something you want to buy, you see the price on the tag, and you buy it."
Bernard Clark, a British journalist, author and media director with a home in North Carolina, made a hobby of attending tag sales, befriending Wise in the process.
"There was always a kind of story [in the sales]," he says. "You'd come across extraordinary things. I always thought it would make a great continuing TV series, where you were looking partly at history, partly at personalities, partly at antiques, and partly at bargaining."
Clark is no small-time director. He has worked with the BBC for nearly 40 years, having produced some of Britain's longest-running TV series. His shows generally study historical or social phenomena of public interest.
His "Timewatch" features documentaries on historical events, while his "Watchdog" investigates problematic experiences with businesses and products.
A show about tag sales would fit this formula swimmingly.
"If you take 'Watchdog,' it's still running after 30 years," says Clark. "You wouldn't have thought a program I started so many years ago would still be running. Will this program that we're making in Pinehurst still be around in 30 years? There was a day I made the first 'Watchdog.'"
The program will be an hour long and have two presenters. Clark and his associates have not yet decided on a title.
"At the moment, the title is 'It's a Life,' but that may not be where it goes," he says.
Wise appreciates the publicity that this will bring her business and tag sales in general.
"I'm very happy to have Bernard here to film this episode," she says. "I had always loved antiques, going to auctions, and just learning about antiques. Since I started doing estate and tag sales, I've loved every minute of it. It will be interesting to see it from a filming standpoint."
Tag sale customers generally desired to see such a show:
"I'm a real history buff, and I love old things," says Sandra Wheeler. "At tag sales, you see both. So yeah, I'd probably watch it. I watch shows like that, such as 'Pawn Stars,' and I think tag sales would have a lot more variety."
"I really don't know," says Lisa Richie. "I do watch 'Storage,' but I'm not sure if they'd be exciting enough."
Jeff Moseley is more enthusiastic.
"Absolutely!" he says. "My wife and I love to hit tag and estate sales. It's cool how nine times out of 10, what we buy is not what we came for. It would be really neat to see that on TV."
Susan Ulrich, on the other hand, would not watch such a show.
"It's just not that compelling," she says.
Clark intends to forge ahead, hoping to find his audience along the way.
"Journalism has never been about paying the mortgage; it's a creative task," he says. "I hope it will be fascinating and informative. There are thousands of tag sales every week, so if we get it to work, it will become a very regular program."
Contact Andrew Soboeiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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