I’ve been watching daytime television again. It seems to be a small habit I’ve slipped into while in lockdown.
What’s It Worth?
I’m sure anyone from the U.K. will have seen the program, ‘Flog It’ which is usually screened around 5:00 pm. For anyone who doesn’t know the show, the public is asked to bring an interesting item from home to be valued and sold at auction at a later date. It’s usually set in a country house, castle or sometimes a museum somewhere in the home nations. Sounds a good idea and usually, the items brought and auctioned off tell an interesting story and go on to make money for the owners. Not everything sells, so the few that it happens to have to take their goods home with them.
Pile Of Heavy Tat
There’s one main presenter with about three valuers who will estimate what approximate value an item should have. Now, at the very start of the show, the camera pans the audience who are queuing outside and there must be close to 300 or maybe 400 people. All of them with bags, boxes and parcels, some of which, look really heavy. You know, some of these poor souls have dragged half a sideboard around all morning thinking they have something worth a million dollars, only to be told, in a polite way of course, that they have a worthless haul of tat.
The Lucky Three
The three lucky members of the audience who are chosen have to go in front of the camera while an expert appraises their items and puts a value on them for auction. Of course, a reserve is added to protect the value and they move off to an auction which is usually filmed sometime later but included in the same program. I love it when the expert is looking at the item and says, “I think the watch is worth £40 to £50 with a reserve of £30, what do you think of that then.” You can see by the owners face, the scrunched up eyes and the sudden lack of breathing that they thought the watch was going to be worth hundreds if not thousands of pounds. The usual reply is, “Oh, yes, yes, that sounds good to me.” I bet off camera there’s some muttering going on.
So, Betty’s watch goes to auction together with Betty, the presenter and the valuer. Poor old Betty has had to fork out £30 to get there and then she finds out that whatever the watch sells for there will be a 19% cut for the auctioneer plus 17% tax! “Here it comes,” says the presenter, “your watch is up for auction next, Betty, are you excited?” To which, Betty looks at him and grimaces but tries to make it look a convincing smile.
At the end of the day, Betty goes home, the watch sold for 45 quid, the presenters pat themselves on the back for being accurate with their valuations, someone’s happy because they got the watch they wanted and Betty had a day out with her daughter. At least she didn’t have to lug the family sideboard around all day finding out it was worthless and then take it home again. Occasionally, an item comes up and is valued at £50, but sells for £500. It’s not often, but it does happen. I suppose if the show visits somewhere local to you, don’t try and drag the Grandfather clock you inherited from Aunt Sissy. Take something small that you can put in your pocket. Trust me, at least you’ll come home without a backache.
It’s not all tat though. Here’s an example: