Atlanta is the focal point of tonight’s “Baggage Battles” on Travel tonight at 8 p.m.
Here’s the synopsis from the network itself:
Every year in Atlanta, over half a billion trucks carry approximately 400-million tons of freight through this major southern city. Items that are lost, damaged or undeliverable end up at Fr8Auctions. The three teams of “Baggage Battles” auction specialists (Billy Leroy, Mark Meyer and married couple Laurence and Sally Martin) head to Atlanta to compete for the prized cargo. As the auction gets underway, the bidding heats up with the Martins bidding against Meyer on aircraft parts manufactured by Rolls-Royce. Then Meyer bids against Leroy for the first palate [sic] of personal effects. The second palate [sic] of personal effects includes a well-constructed wooden crate, and all three teams of auction specialists believe this box contains something valuable. Not only do Meyer, Leroy, and the Martins start a bidding war, but the locals get in on the action for this one. In the end, one of the auction experts go home with a profit of over $20,000!
I spoke with Mark Meyer this week. He’s a hot-shot 25-year-old entrepreneur from Long Island hungry to make his mark in the auction world. I’m also from Long Island so it was fun to hear his vocal cadence, the aggressive edge he possesses.
He likes coming down to Atlanta because it’s a big shipping hub, which means more lost and unclaimed freight flows through here as well. This means more potential buying opportunities. “You can find some real home runs there,” he said. “The volume of lost merchandise is higher than New York. For us, it’s like being at supermarket.” He has visited our city three times in 14 months.
While in Atlanta, he said they also found a pawn shop near a pirate ship restaurant. where he got some great deals (Is there a pirate ship restaurant around here?)
Meyer is drawn to big tools and modern electronics. He’s not so much into antiques. He wants stuff he can turn around quickly, however mundane. Fellow cast member Billy Leroy, he noted, is more into a sword used in a battle. “A brand new iMac? He doesn’t know what to do with that.”
Not surprisingly, Meyer prides himself as a rebel, a man who could never maintain a 9-to-5 job. And he’s not a morning person. But he said he works hard to focus during auctions, no matter how many hours they last. “It’s an endurance race,” he said. His juice? Red Bull. Alcohol, he said, impairs judgment. He also tries to act calm when he picks up big bargains. And if an auction appears to be lousy, he sticks it out. “It’s like shopping or going on a date. You won’t know how it will turn out until the end,” he said. He actually likes rainy days because it depresses competition.
The publicity of shows such as this brings in a lot more amateurs, he notes. “I’m a marked man,” he notes, entering season two. “It makes it more difficult.” But he feels he has a five-year head start on them, that he can beat the newbies, no problem. “By the time they’re taking pallets, I’m buying trailer loads,” he boasts. “I encourage people to try it but not many are going to last. There’s a lot of pressure. You have to pay the bills, raise capital. It’s not easy to beat me though.”
And despite his success, he still lives with his parents because he’s seldom home: “Renting an apartment for one week a month is a foolish investment. Plus, my mom’s a good cook!”
“Baggage Battles” 8 p.m. Wednesdays, Travel