EVAN: Dear readers, we have gathered here today to read as Gordon and I discuss the concept of what I’m calling “easy money” shows, and how we, as recent college graduates, view them.
GORDON: You mentioned a few specific examples earlier on- could you list ’em off again for the readers?
EVAN: Well, at the top of my list is a personal favourite of mine, “Storage Wars.”
Not only does it tickle me to no end that Jarrod ignores Brandi’s warnings not to bid [at around 00:26], but I am enraptured by the promise of finding treasure among, well, garbage.
GORDON: I heard- and just HEARD, mind you- that “Storage Wars” is actually scripted.
EVAN: I have also heard that, and believe it to be true.
GORDON: But I guess that doesn’t change the overall point. Now my initial reaction to this is that it’s not an entirely new concept. I mean, just look at “Antiques Road Show.” Do you get that in the frozen wastelands of Canada?
EVAN: We do, but I’m not super familiar with it.
GORDON: For any of our readers who don’t, essentially antique experts travel from city to city and people bring in their old junk to have it appraised. They’ll give the story behind it, and the experts will reveal what exactly it is, when it was made, and how much it’s worth.
Surprisingly entertaining and engrossing for a show where everyone’s over 65.
EVAN: And as I’ve said, I love these types of shows. I mean, it’s imagining that you could buy a storage unit of someone’s forgotten belongings for $500 and then finding out that they were storing antique rifles or something in there.
Bam, that’s a three grand profit, or whatever. It’s easy money.
GORDON: It is indeed. But I guess the point is- when hasn’t that been appealing?
Be it “Storage Wars,” or “Antiques Road Show,” or striking gold in California, or finding El Dorado, or slaying a dragon for it’s hoard of gold?
EVAN: I’d say there are a few reasons it differs for us now-
For one, these shows present a means of getting wealth that appears possible for us [as I suppose panning for gold must have been in the 1800s or whenever]. On top of that, we’re at a time in our lives where we really do want and need the money.
I mean, as a kid you wanted a million dollars, but that translated into a swimming pool and a trampoline and more pizza than you knew what to do with. We had no concept of college loans or rent.
GORDON: Well, what you say is true, but I take issue with the whole thing about it appearing possible. Sure we could, potentially, try out our hand at buying storage units, but for the most part, it just seems like fantasy. Heck, we might as well try playing the stock market. I don’t think any of us believe in the myth of a free lunch.
EVAN: I think for any of these shows to really work, though, we need to believe that we could be those people. We’re each of us potentially one of the hundreds of hopefuls that appear on “Pawn Stars,” the one show on television that forces us to view life through the eyes of complete and utter villains.
GORDON: I’d counter that we see ourselves in these roles in pretty much the same way we see ourselves as John McClane, James Bond, or Danny Ocean. I posit again that this is fantasy, and the whole wealth-and-riches bit just strikes a chord in us all as we wallow in debt and unemployment.
EVAN: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point, since I’m convinced that there’s more relatability and the possibility of it happening to you on the shows that we’ve mentioned, but we can move on-
As a recent college graduate with a job, what do you really want, financially?
GORDON: To be debt free as soon as possible, and to maintain a humble yet independent existence. Ideally one where if you get sick, your options aren’t limited to “get better” or “die.”
EVAN: Ah, the wonders of Canadian health care.
GORDON: You lucky, beer-swilling dogs.
EVAN: We prefer “Northern-Americans.”
Since we are, or were, talking about TV and money and things, what think you about “Extreme Couponing”?
GORDON: Haven’t seen that one. What’s it about?
EVAN: Basically, it’s- wow- it’s so ridiculous.
These people [in America] collect coupons, and since they stack or whatever, they’ll grab dozens and then go to the store and buy, like, two years worth of toilet paper, or laundry detergent. They’ll buy essentially hundreds of dollars of stuff and pay under three digits for it.
I’ve seen bills worth $500+ and people pay under $5 for the lot.
GORDON: Yikes. I mean, I can’t really say I blame ’em. Seems like the time they’d spend saving money wouldn’t be worth it in the long run (though again, I haven’t seen the show), but again, if they can beat the system, more power to ’em.
EVAN: I think anytime you can spend under five bucks on stuff worth hundreds you’re making it worth your time.
But yeah, this is a very real thing that people do, and it is so crazy and bizarre that TLC decided to make a show off of it. It is also not something we can do here in Canada.
GORDON: For the sake of accuracy, TLC will make a show about anything. And then do a spin-off of that show with midgets.
EVAN: I am very much looking forward to the series that stars midget toddler beauty queens who buy old storage units looking for coupons to use at antique auctions.
GORDON: It’s only a matter of time.
EVAN: Gonna try steering this back and ask you another question. You said you wanted to be debt-free, which I’m sure we all will get to at some point in the near or far future, but you also said you wanted to live a “humble yet independent existence.”
What are you doing, and how is that working for you? Follow that up with: What do you want to be doing, and how much do you want to be making?
GORDON: As a job or to save money?
EVAN: Uh, more the former. You could answer both, though.
GORDON: My situation’s a little weird in that I work for a federally-funded, state-administrated, privately-run non-profit. I make enough to get by, but I’d say I still have to be pretty careful with cash- though that’s largely due to the size of my student loan payments.
I’d like to get into politics one day- though as for how much I’d like to be making, again I’d say about what I do now, just minus the student loan payments.
How ’bout you?
EVAN: Well, I actually find out this Friday whether or not I’m going to be hired full-time at a marketing company for divorce lawyers. I’ve been making $40 a day in a probationary capacity.
The only reason that I can live on that is because I live with my granddad who refuses to let me pay rent, and have much, much, much, much, much less student loans to pay when you do.
I honestly don’t know how much to expect if and when I get this job. I’d like enough to rent a modest apartment and to support my growing comic book addiction.
GORDON: Toronto is also much, much more expensive than Vegas.
EVAN: You are telling me. On the bright side, our level of crazy-weird homicides is at a record low comparatively.
GORDON: Hey. . . I actually don’t have anything for this one.
EVAN: So you finally admit that life in Vegas is exactly like CSI.
GORDON: I do not. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Evan is obsessed with CSI and crappy CSI-style shows.)
EVAN: [For anyone that doesn’t know, Gordon’s chance of being killed for horse tranquilizers by the DA’s twin brother is 100% higher than if he lived anywhere else.]
GORDON: And I don’t think we’re going to top a closing line like that. Evan, what’s your suggestion for next week’s topic?
EVAN: Eh. I’d really like to start leaving these largely up to our readers, the five or so who read this feature from week to week. Whenever you ask that you know, as well as I do, that I just sit here pretending to type but coming up with nothin’.
GORDON: Fair enough. Audience, this one’s up to you. Leave a suggested topic down in the comments.
EVAN: It is really easy to do this. All you have to do is leave an email so we know you’re not trying to sell us cheap handbags or something. We will in turn not use this email to sign you up to receive cheap handbags, unless this is something you’re into.
GORDON: We seriously don’t have enough room at our places for all these cheap handbags.
EVAN: Dang it, Gordon! Keep that on the DL!