Of late, I've noticed that I have been watching several work/business related reality shows. I don't watch them religously, but if they are on and I don't like anything else, I watch them. I find it funny I don't see much commenting of them on Mises.org on the blog or the like.
Most of them show people working hard (work ethic and all), as well as their bosses (who are usually owner/operators of the companies). No top hat wearing/monocole twirling here.
These are some of the shows I watched, and some business-related comments.
* Dirty Jobs- a lot of people doing nasty jobs. Most seem to enjoy them, because you wonder why they would do them...
* Swamp Loggers- focus is on loggers in eastern North Carolina, cutting down trees for local mills. Everyone works their butt off, including the boss, usually 6 days a week. If something goes wrong, and they can't work, no one gets paid. Just the way it is.
* Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives- ok, the focus on this show is mainly food, but its also about many small business out there. In some cases you have places that have been in business for decades, they still keep going by doing great service (food, etc) at a great price, otherwise why would people still keep coming? The owners are usually working real hard as well, long hours, many times in the kitchen or out serving.
* Restaurant Impossible- another 'food' show, this one is kind of the opposite of DDD. Many of these places could have been like the ones on that show: long time places that have allowed quality to slip or didn't change and that has made people leave. So they have to shake things up. Sometimes they have to clean up the place, sometimes that have to shake things up in terms of service and food preperation & quality. You don't do a good job (poor food, service, etc), you will go under. I think they have had some failure (straigtened things out, but they slid back to old ways and went under). I see Spike TV now has a new show that's similiar, focused on bars.
* Pawn Stars and American Pickers- the interesting thing here is about prices and negotiations. These guys usually know they can sell something at X amount, so they need to get it for less then that to have some profite. They usually don't want obsence profite, but they know they need that. To often the person selling the item thing the item is worth more, or get greedy and want the 'retail' price quoted. Sometime they negotiate a sale, sometimes not. That's how it works. I even found it funny a couple of times on AP that the person wanted to sell them something at a price they thought was too low, and the AP guys said no, we'll buy it at a higher price. They also know they can't screw people, as they want to build a relationship for future sales.
* American Restoration- also touches on work ethic, doing a quality job and not ripping off the customer on the cost to restore items.
Anyone else have comments to add??? I always kind of hope to see a Jeffrey Tucker article on these shows...
There're Shark Tank and Storage Wars.
The were a bunch of real estate show up untill the housing bust.
MOJO HD had a few series: Wall Street Warriors, Startup Junkies, and Bobby G: Adventure Capitalist.
To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."
Am more interested in a discussion on the free market/business lessons from these shows, then listing all these shows.
the shows on buying abandonded storage lockers are interesting (there are a couple out there on a couple of networks), but very little business lessons. Its more of gambling. Is there stuff there they can sell, but how is this a lesson in the free market??
Something I also got from shows like, say, Restaurant Impossible, is the reason for providing your customers with good food and the like (ie keeping the kitchen clean and such) was NEVER about government rules & regs (ie you'll get in trouble with the health inspector) was the attitude that YOU as a good chief should never serve bad food. Its wrong, ruins your reputation, etc. Kind of, its in YOUR self interest not to do this.
I hadn't really thought about it, but since you mention it, it is at least a bit surprising something like Dirty Jobs or Storage Wars hasn't been mentioned, as they do sound like the kind of (for lack of a better word) mundane thing Tucker would find something facinating about. But then again, to be honest, I wouldn't be surpised if he hasn't even heard of them. Tucker is the kind of guy who gets excited about this stuff because he's only recently heard about it and looks at it from a free market economics perspective. He's reading 800 page dissertations and dealing with virtual zoning commissions—and that's in addition to his Mises duties, of which I have no idea the extent of what they entail. Somehow I doubt he spends much time with History Channel original programming.
My guess is the only way you'll get that stuff covered is if someone specifically gets him to watch, and even then he'll have to find something facinating (which, again, doesn't seem too difficult for him, but still).
As for your market lessons to be drawn, it's not really difficult if you're familiar enough with the concepts. Guys like Allen Haff and Ton Jones provide a valuable service to the market. They offer a spontaneous solution to the problem of unpaid and unclaimed storage units. It allows the owners of the units a way to have them cleaned out without having to pay for it themselves...and in fact possibly make a bit of money (or at least recover some of what they lost on the deadbeat tenant.) And it also prevents valuable items from being wasted/trashed but instead cycled back into the market. Auction hunters are like vultures cleaning up the junk.
And pickers like Mike and Frank offer a similar deal, giving people cash on the spot for stuff they don't really use or want, and bringing it to market for new people to enjoy. Guys like them are what help keep a lot of history alive. And everyone wins. The seller gets a buyer for something they really didn't care to own anymore (and they didn't even have to actively try to sell it...the buyer literally came to them), the pickers end up (hopefully) making a profit when they resell (and obviously, if you watch, they enjoy the picking itself), and the final buyers end up getting to own a piece of history that they enjoy, which would otherwise have been lost in someone's basement or barn. And none of this requires any central planning or coercion. It all emerges spontaneously. It's a beautiful thing really.
Some other shows I was thinking of.
(as mentioned) There are the several house flipper shows. Some are interesting. There have been some negative things found out about some of the shows (or at least some of the people involved in those shows, some of which have been dropped because of it). The Montelongos of "Flip This House" never impressed me. The husband seems too shady that I'd buy a house from. You can hussle and get the job done without being a hussler. The people from Carolina who came before them I thought were more honest. Some of the Atlanta people they had seemed good, but others not so much (and been investigated because of it).
One thing I found interesting in many of those shows is they'd fine subpar workmanship in the houses they flipped, which forced them to spend more money to bring things in line. But you have to do that, you can't be selling junk.
A similiar set of shows are the ones done by Mike Holmes. They deal with bad renovations and (with the new show) bad home inspections. A big theme of his is doing things right. Now, a lot of times he pushs building codes, as if this somehow magically protects people. But its clear that many things were NOT done 'to code'. So where is the protection?? In many cases its really the professionalism of the worker, as often times Mike (and his team) go beyond what the code requires to do the right thing for the home owner.
Its interesting that both Mike Holmes and Mike Rowe have used their fame on these shows to form foundations to improve things in the trade world.
Montelongo's wife is hot.
Anyway, a major problem with the people in these shows is that they forecasted a home's value as if its value would never drop.
Well...looks like you got your wish, MB:
But no mention of me!!!
I thought there was a chance you were Edgar Martinez.
Well crap. I guess ya just need to pay more attention to the blog:
"I thought there was a chance you were Edgar Martinez."
Nope. My intials are MB.
John James, I've a 'personal' question. I used to work with someone by the same name, back in the 1960's. We worked for an international chemical company at a new division in Plaquemine Louisiana. Would you be 'that' John James'? Just wondering 'cause he was a really nice guy.
I'm into season 2 of Restaurant Impossible already. Awesome show! Very very capitalistic.
Bar Rescue looks pretty good too.
Bayou Castine, check your messages.
Soda Pop Shop