There is a practice among reality television production and low budget production that seems to be growing that I want to address.
I call it the “Buy N’ Return.”
In this scenario, a production hasn’t thought through their creative needs enough to budget appropriately to get what they want on screen.
Instead of adapting the creative needs or finding more money, the production will send out folks to local businesses to buy items, unpack them, use them, and return them when done. In essence, free prop or set dressing rentals.
Personally, I find this practice demeaning, and ultimately harmful to all of us.
It costs the store money, by having to resell said item at a lower price since it’s been opened. That means the store owners, or commission based salespeople all have a little less money to spend on, oh, maybe cable? or maybe for the items being peddled on the television commercials (and when those companies have a drop in sales, they cut back their ad spending).
Beyond that, it’s simply dishonest; and it’s punishing other business owners and their employees for your own bad planning.
I’d encourage business owners in LA to adopt a “no sales to production without a 15% restocking fee” so that you can afford to keep buying the things that ultimately keep television content creators in business – and that is an audience that listens to marketing for products they can afford to buy.
Win-Win-Win, you know?