Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hmm, maybe we need to be shopping at pawn shops now

Once again, welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. MSNBC recently had a feature about how you can find many hot items in pawn shops. And I don't mean hot as in illegal or shady, but as in very desirable (to some people) high end items. It seems that with the economy souring, all the superfluous and frivolous buys like big screen televisions and Wii game consoles are suddenly being pawned left and right. Here are some sample items you could get for cheap, or at least get a better deal for than retail, at your local pawn shop:

  • Gold and jewelry. This has always been a staple of pawn shops, but now it seems the rich and affluent are suddenly dumping their jewels as if they were radioactive. After all, the price of gold is pretty high right about now, and it is always seen as safe investment. Plus, I am willing to bet a few ladies could well be getting rid of gifts from exes. Why hold on to some necklace an ex gave you when you can cash it in? But aside from that, hey, there is a need for cash. Even the football players: "He [Joe Cacciatore, owner of Tampa, Fla.-based Capital Pawn & Financial Services] has even had football players bring in Super Bowl rings and NFL rings for pawn. (He wouldn't tell us their names)." I wonder why.
  • The big flat panel televisions. If you wanted to get one, this may be a good chance to get it since you are likely to get a slightly better deal than going to a regular retail store. However, if you are considering pawning your tv, keep in mind that many of the pawn shops will only take it if it was manufactured in the last two years (i.e. capable of handling digital programming).
  • Power tools and tools in general. Apparently, contractors and craftsmen who get tight on cash will pawn their tools. Usually for the short term hoping to get them back once they get back on track, but you can still get good tools if you look. "'Since most of the tools are used, prices are typically 50 percent below what you'd find at Lowe's or Home Depot,' said [Jack] McCrory [owner of the Ace Pawn Shops chain in Indiana]. Power tools can go anywhere from $3 to $300, he said."
  • Guns and musical instruments, another pawn shop staple.
  • The Wii. This was the big hot ticket item this past Christmas. Clearly, some people spent too much last holiday, and now they figure getting fit with the Wii may not be as cost effective. By the way, this also goes for other systems like the X-Box.
So there you have it. If you are shopping, maybe you need to consider your local pawnbroker. If you need some cash, and you got something of value, maybe this is an option. Who knows? The article also links to a small video with advice for first time pawn shop consumers. After all, a big reason this article is written is because there are a lot of newcomers.

And there you have it: another sign that the economy is bad.

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