Emotional attachment versus actual monetary value.
According to host Reshmi Nair, that's one of the key psychological games at play in the new reality series Four Rooms, which debuts Jan. 5 on CBC.
“If the item came from their dad or it was owned by their grandmother or if it was something very personal, people tend to overvalue those items,” Nair says. “And occasionally that emotional attachment actually deterred some people from making a deal, because when it came down to it, they couldn't let it go.
“That's when you're going to be screaming at the TV, 'Just sell it! Cash out!' ”
Four Rooms is part Dragons' Den, part Antiques Roadshow and part Let's Make a Deal.
“People from across Canada come in with an item that they think could be worth a certain amount of money,” Nair explains. “I get to set it all up with the story, because most of these items have really great stories behind them, like they've been in the family for generations, or someone simply found the item, or they paid a lot of money for it and they're hoping to get the money back or to get more and make a profit.
“Then we introduce them to the four buyers (Jessica Lindsay Phillips, Scott Landon, Derreck Martin and Eddy Rogo). The buyers get a moment to assess the item, and they get to ask the owner a few questions. Then the buyers go into four separate rooms and the unique thing about our show is that the negotiating happens individually in each room.
“If you think you can make more money in the next room, you turn down whatever offer you've received and you go. But once you have turned down an offer, you can't go back to it. So we have seen some people with an item that could be worth a significant amount of money leave with nothing, because they misread the situation and didn't negotiate properly.”
Nair says each of the four buyers selected for Four Rooms brings a different sensibility.
“I think that's where you'll see it worked out really well, because they're such a range,” Nair says. “Eddy is very much into art, Derreck is into collecting and is very contemporary, Scott is into Canadiana and Jessica collects really odd, weird things. So they all kind of have their own field in collecting and antiques.”
Did Nair spot any overall trends?
“Older people generally were more reasonable when it came to the dollar figure, I think,” Nair says. “Some of the younger people had specific goals for what they wanted to do with the money, going on a trip or renovating their house. You could see sometimes in the negotiating rooms that those people just could not let those expectations go, because they had specific plans in mind.”
For both the buyers and sellers, things can get a little tense. For those of us sitting at home looking to be entertained, it's simply Four Rooms with a view.