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From the Set of Hoarders

PR Manager on the set of Hoarders

In advance of the Season 4 Premiere on June 20th, here’s a post written by the author after her first on-set Hoarders experience.

I work at the head office of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in Vancouver, BC, but I’m currently sitting on a train racing through Connecticut. What’s a PR girl from the west coast doing riding the rails in New England, you wonder? Hoarders, that’s what! Well, not on the train, but let me explain.

1-800-GOT-JUNK? works with the show Hoarders on A&E, providing junk removal services for the show in exchange for the exposure. There are a lot of people out there who think we must pay a bundle for such a positive appearance, which we don’t, really – it’s true that we do get a lot of return for our involvement. But I never realized until this week (when I attended two separate shoots for the show) precisely how much value we provide! Also, I discovered, again, how lucky we as a company are to have such great crews in our system.

Working with franchise partners in New Jersey and Massachusetts on the shoots, I was consistently impressed with how knowledgeable the crews were, and how intent they were on helping the homeowners – not just for the sake of the show, but for the sake of the people themselves. And man, did they work! While the first shoot moved a little slower, the shoot yesterday was go-go-go from start to finish! The crew of eight guys lifted, carried, sorted and tossed steadily for more than eight hours, always with utmost respect to the homeowner’s difficulties. What I thought might be an experience rife with tension was actually full of good-will, from both the hoarders themselves and the production crew.

The crew from Santa Cruz on a 3 day, outdoor shoot in a downpour...still smiling!

The bottom line was this: 1-800-GOT-JUNK? gets fantastic exposure from Hoarders, yes. But being on set helped me really and truly understand that it’s much more a partnership than a simple product placement relationship. Both parties get a great amount of value from the situation, and while each of us could probably find some other way to get the value – us on some other show, or them with some other assortment of companies – I doubt either could come all that close to matching what we have now.

  • Daisy

    When watching the show, I can see the compassion for the hoarders that 1-800GJ employees have. Its not about a job but human need. On at least 2 shows , the haulers have chipped in their own money to treat the home owner to something special; once to a new chair and once to replace a broken vase. That level of compassion is remarkable. Their level of professionalism should also be commended, they take a lot of verbal abuse from the hoarder during the show. It sets a standard for which the whole company can be measured.

  • Natalie Burgwin

    Daisy,

    We always talk about our goal to ‘WOW’ our customers…well, your comment just WOW’d the whole PR team! Thank you so much for your kind words.

    There is no doubt about it, the situation at hand on every Hoarders shoot is difficult for everyone involved. We’re not just hauling away junk, we’re coping with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The compassion, empathy and professionalism that we share is crucial to the process.

    Both Erin and I have been on set when the progress is slow going and I can tell you, that’s when the frustration sets in. Our crews are there, and we just want to get rid of as much junk as possible as quickly as possible. The important realization is that even a slow-moving day with just 1 or 2 truck loads removed, can be beneficial to the homeowner’s mental health.

    I hope you tune in to Season 4 so we can, hopefully, continue to impress you.

    -Natalie.