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Home Vivian's Blog Vivian Duplant Cash & Cari (Cucksey), Treasure Hunter & Big Brian May Give the Estate Sale Industry a Bad Name

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Cash & Cari (Cucksey), Treasure Hunter & Big Brian May Give the Estate Sale Industry a Bad Name

I don't have time to watch much TV, but Michael records things for me and let's me know when there is something I need to see.

Recently he finally got me to watch two reality tv shows, "Cash & Cari, Treasure Hunter" and "Big Brian: The Fortune Seller".  Both of the shows are entertaining to an extent but overall, I am not sure they make a positive statement about estate sale professionals.  In fact one might go away with a bad impression and, sometimes see some actions that help perpetuate some negative stereotypical impressions that the average person has about people who handle estate sales.

This is a review of those two shows.

I find "Cash & Cari, Treasure Hunter" particularly distressing in that regard. 

The principal of that show has some charm and can be somewhat entertaining.  From her actions in the show, she really does not seem to be knowledgeable about antiques and collectibles to me; fairly knowledgeable at best, but "fairly" is as high an adjective as I can give her.  Most of the time she really doesn't seem to know much about the items that pop up on her show.  Of course, you don't have to be an expert in everything.  No one can be.  On the show she does some research on the Internet, but I haven't seen much evidence that would make me think she is good at it.  From what we see on the show, I believe that many times she does the client an injustice with her pricing which could be due to either lack of knowledge or not enough research. 

In my opinion she is not much of a negotiator.  It is almost funny at times to see how some of her customers "work her over".  Of course, being a poor negotiator is not what I am talking about as far as giving a negative impression.  Most customers at sales don't want to deal with a good negotiator (like Big Brian).

In some of the episodes, she makes note of the fact that not everything is priced.  That is Estate Sales 101.  I firmly believe and have seen time and time again that if you do not price the contents of the sale, you do not make as much money.  Many people will not ask for a price.  Those who will ask, will rarely ask for many prices.  In other words, they might ask for a few prices but they start feeling like they are bothering you if they keep asking.  To say nothing of the fact that if the sale is busy, there is no way to help each customer with prices on unmarked items.  I believe it is a major injustice to the client not to take the time to provide the best estate sale possible and that certainly includes pricing everything. 

In several episodes, she and, sometimes members of her sales team, buy items before the sale.  She also sets her own price for those items and since she usually has a client who is in desire of her services, they take whatever price she has named. Is that taking advantage of the clients?  Are those prices fair? Would the items bring more money for the client if they were sold at regular estate sale prices during the sale?  Those are certainly things that should be considered. 

The really important thing is the message that it sends to the viewers - that estate sale professionals buy the "good stuff" before the sale.  It doesn't matter that the things she and her workers buy are not the best things in the sale.  It is the impression it gives and the stereotypical belief by the public that it reinforces.

In my opinion, buying things before the sale is open to the public is inappropriate.  It may not be fair to the client.  It is certainly unfair to your customer base.  I, personally, do not ever want to go to a sale that has been picked over.  I know the practice is common among some people who hold estate sales. That still does not make it right. 

And then there is how she sets up a sale.  Goodness....  I don't know where to begin.  Maybe more about that later. 

I watched several episodes but I really don't care to see any others.  When people see something on televsion, many of them will think the person they are watching must be an expert or they wouldn't have the show. It would be a shame for them to get that impression in this case.  While mildly entertaining, in my opinion she serves more often as an example of what not to do when holding estate sales. 

Big Brian is very entertaining.  He is certainly in the right environment for his personality.  I do not think he would be successful in this environment.  I don't think his attitude and behavior would work well with Texans.  I will talk more about him in a later blog.  The bad part is that I believe his show to be mostly fake in so many ways. 

I have a different list of complaints about Big Brian.  No one can really be successful with estate sales and act as he does.   No one in their right mind would use his services as seen on his TV show.  Perhaps more on that later.

Michael watches every episode of both shows. 

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Owner of Estate Sales by Vivian.  Founder of Antique Mall of Lumberton and Antiques of Beaumont in the Parkdale Mall. Member of Certified Appraisers Guild of America. Co-owner of Appraisals of Southeast Texas and Antique Trails of Texas. She has personally managed over 400 estate sales. Vivian has trained other successful Estate Sale Specialists and occasionally provides training services for qualified individuals.
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  • Vivian Duplant
    Vivian Duplant Sunday, 26 June 2011

    Cash & Cari

    I believe you were too generous in your comments about Cash & Cari. I shake my head through most of the episodes. Apparently we are not the only ones who do not feel she knows much about what she is trying to do. The internet is loaded with negative comment after negative comment. Take a look at these:

    You can do your own search on Google. Just search for "Cash & Cari bad" or "Cash & Cari complaint"

    They complain about some of the same things, but they also really run down her efforts at "repurposing" the things that she buys. Some of the comments are hilarious.

    I enjoy watching Big Brian. It is a fun show. I believe it is mostly fake and if any of it is real. I don't think he makes near as much money for his clients as he could. It is tough to have a very good sale in just one day. He would do a lot better if he stretched it out over two days. There wouldn't be near as much stuff left over.

    I can't say much for his goofy help - at least the one who crawls through the attics and basements - Vinny. I don't see him as being an asset, but he does give the show a lot of comic relief.

    Big Brian does seem knowledgeable. You never know for sure for the show could be edited to make him look good. Since the rest of the show seemed all staged, I would imagine it is setup to make him look good.

  • Vivian Duplant
    Vivian Duplant Wednesday, 27 July 2011

    I thought this would be a good show but it is really not. They must do things differently up there where she is. Your sales are so beautiful when you finish getting them ready. Hers look like garage sales. Some of her prices look good and then with others she gives things away. Maybe she gives good garage sales and gets good garage sale prices but she doesn't have any idea how to hold an estate sale.

  • Guest
    Jessica Haynes Tuesday, 06 March 2012

    The show is a bit slow. I think it would be much more interesting if she knew more about antiques and collectables so viewers could constantly be learning from her rather than reading those cheesy descriptions on screen. Thanks for the post vivian!

  • Vivian Duplant
    Vivian Duplant Thursday, 08 March 2012

    Thanks for the response. HGTV is really missing out on the chance to provide a lot of great information for the tens of thousands estate sale regulars. This effort is not doing the job.

  • Guest
    Kayleen Edwards Thursday, 22 March 2012

    Dear Vivian,
    Thanks so much for letting the truth be known! I too liquidate estates and was approached by a producer last week. I have never seen Big Brian or Kash & Carry until this evening when I researched estate sale reality shows. I wanted to get a feel of what they were about before I agreed to sign on. Both may me sick! We have had a no pre sell no pre buy in place since the beginning. We also work very hard to clean the entire house before the public enters so we can protect the dignity of the family. I just agreed with everything you wrote in this blog and it made me feel much better about my decision to turn the producer down. I could never trade my loyalty, honesty & integrity for 15 minutes of fame. Thanks again for setting the record straight about the right way to liquidate an estate! Kind regards, Kayleen.

  • Vivian Duplant
    Vivian Duplant Wednesday, 28 March 2012

    Thanks for your comments. We need someone on TV who does it right, who shows how we properly setup a sale, who actually knows a little about antiques, knows how to negotiate, and, in other words, they need to be a professional estate sales manager and not just someone who plays one on TV.

  • Guest
    Kathy Saturday, 09 November 2013

    I attended my first Cash and Cari sale this past weekend. Wow, what a joke!
    I attend approx 20 estate sales per month in my area and shop at auctions as well. I sell on EBAY and flip estate finds at auction houses in Detroit, Chicago, Ashville, N.Y. and Philly. Not trying to puff myself up just want to qualify myself before I rip her and her team apart. First let me say she usually isn't in the high end neighborhoods. However this week she worked a beautiful landmark home in Bloomfield Hills, MI. So I wouldn't miss it due to the location regardless of who was running it.
    I would estimate that 90% of the items were not priced. Not even a sign in the room to lump items (clothing, books, linens) into priced categories. Most of the 19th century antiques were marked sold, the house was a mess and absolutely no care was given to prevent the floors,rugs etc from being destroyed. Maybe she brought in a couple of card tables to display items on but mostly things were piled on furniture and left in cupboards and drawers. Upon closer inspection of the antiques, the prices were give aways! An incredible diservice to her client. Her (Caris') husband as she identified him was a "tool" standing there with his coffee cup telling a customer that he had a couple of people that would pay more than the $100 he was asking for a roto tiller that wouldn't start. Really! Where are those "other" people? You had a customer standing in front of you with money to pay for an item that wasn't priced and that's the best negotiating line you can come up with?
    Many people were having issue with the lack of pricing. With the exception of the finer antiques that were under priced, most of the priced items were over the top.
    She spent alot of time talking to people about her show and the auction house HGTV is securing for her new venture. Her husband walked around drinking coffee and joked that he was a busy guy.
    In the end, I found a few things I purchased and told her what I thought of the guy with the coffee cup and his comments to the customer on the roto tiller. She made excuses for him by stating " he's my husband and that's just the nature of the business". Clueless!! Not the business I've been in for more than 20 years. Where did this woman and her group come from? How did she get a TV gig? There are so many more qualified people! I should quickly mention her staff is rude and probably cast offs from other companies.

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