Battle of the Bags

One percent. Out of the trillions of dollars in luggage value transported across the globe each year, that’s how much gets lost.
By Eugene Yiga

Where does it go? Perhaps it’s to the same place lost socks go to. Or perhaps it’s into the hands of the Baggage Battles crew.

The show follows Billy “The Dealer” Leroy, Mark “The Hustler” Meyer, and married couple Laurence and Sally “The Wild Cards” Martin as they try their luck at some of the most important auctions around the world.

Much like Storage Wars and other reality shows, it’s all a bit of a (well-edited) gamble. And much like Forest Gump said about life being like a box of chocolates, the prize-fighters never know what they’re going to get. (You can be sure they’ll get something; otherwise there’d be no show.)

“Smells like victory,” Meyer said after sniffing a sealed box in an episode that saw the team in New York. And he was right. The baseball memorabilia he found included a 120-year old scorecard that sold for 10 times its purchase price.

But, like all betters, sometimes they lose. “There could be anything in there,” Leroy said after purchasing a giant safe. And he was right, assuming anything could be nothing but empty office folders, as was the case.

Especially for the Martins, it’s a lifestyle and they can’t get enough. One suspects that even if they strike it rich with an authentic gem – Stradivarius violin, anyone? – they’d keep searching for the money in the bag.

So, you think you can chance? Don’t bother. Airports Company South Africa donates all unclaimed bags to charity after 30 days. How nice to know that at least your loss will turn into a guaranteed win for those in need.

Baggage Battles airs on Travel Channel (DSTV channel 179).