Like haggling? Then you'd be wise to tune into OLN's latest reality show, "The Liquidator," starring master-haggler Jeff Schwarz. The owner of Vancouver's largest liquidation store is Canada's newest -- and perhaps least likely -- reality star.
Just ten years ago it would be unheard of for a TV show to be crafted around the wheeling and dealing going on at a cavernous overstock shop. But, of course, that was long before shows like "Pawn Stars," "Storage Wars" and "American Pickers" started dominating the airwaves. Schwarz wears many hats, which sets his show apart from the others. When he's not sealing deals at his sprawling store, he's out in the field putting together estate auctions and chasing down the best bargains in town. Since he can't be everywhere at once, he has a savvy young apprentice named Daniel to help him out.
HuffPost TV recently sat down with the very forthright Schwarz to chat about how he became a reluctant TV star, why he thinks the Pawn Stars are acting and how an old Ferris wheel turned out to be one of his most profitable turnarounds ever.
How did the show come about?
I went to a wrap party for a TV show, and somebody there had heard of me and what we do. We were actually approached by one of the people from the production company. We thought it was a bit of a joke at first but the next thing we knew the guy hands me his business card, and two days later he shows up with his camera crew! [Laughs]
What was your first reaction to the idea?
I was a little apprehensive, a little nervous. I wasn't too sure if I was the right person for it. And then I started running stuff by people. The more people said I couldn't do it, the more I said y'know what, I actually can do this.
There are a lot of shows on the air right now that feature some sort of negotiation component. Who do you think is the best negotiator on TV right now? For instance, someone on "Pawn Stars" or "Storage Wars" or a show like that?
I'd have to say me.
You think you're better than all of those guys?
The ones that are on TV, yeah. Is that a bad thing to say? The guys from "Storage Wars" aren't really negotiating, they're just bidding. And the guys from "Pawn Stars," as far as I'm concerned, from what I've seen, are acting.
Really! What makes you say that?
Real negotiating is when you're dealing with real people. I have a real hard time [believing that] people are bringing in Andy Warhols to a pawn shop when Christie's and Sotheby's are so close by.
What are your biggest tips for being a good negotiator?
Let the other person talk first. If they don't talk, get them to talk, because the more they talk the more they'll make mistakes.
What types of mistakes are most common?
Letting the person know why you need to sell and the urgency behind it. Don't reveal too much information if you're selling.
Do you remember what your first negotiation was? Even as a kid, negotiating with your parents or anything like that?
[Laughs] There are so many of them! Negotiating with your parents is always a hard thing to do. When I was four years old, they said never talk to strangers, and if a stranger ever asks to buy you an ice cream, run. So what I did was I went to a stranger and asked him to buy me two ice creams, and I took them home and gave one to my mom and took the other one for myself. And that's a true story.
Who's the best negotiator you go up against on the show?
One of the best negotiators is a guy named Wayne. Wayne talks and talks and talks. Unlike most people, Wayne is so good at talking, he talks you into believing that it's as good as it'll be. What he does is the opposite [of what most people should do] but he uses the same s--t that I use.
What types of things is he usually selling?
I've bought some aliens off of him -- the ones from outer space. But fake ones. I just bought three really crazy statues off of him. Like robots.
What was your most profitable turnaround ever?
I bought this Ferris wheel once for $800 and we sold it the same day for $9,000 or something like that. That was when I first started. We ended up buying it back two years later.
Who do you think the show will appeal to?
I would hope everybody! [Laughs] People who may think that the liquidation business is just junky business -- which it isn't.