A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pawn Shops Are Evil?

Pawn shops are evil.
They prey on the poor and destitute.
Pawnbrokers are scummy, grubby hucksters.
They take advantage of widows and orphans.
Pawn shops fence stolen loot.
People who buy at pawn shops are like boats who chum sharks toward beaches filled with innocent bathers.

Pawnbrokers have always been the poor man's banker. By economic design, they are often located in the disadvantaged sections of cities. They are often seen as a victimizer of the destitute, and a fence for thieves. People who look at pawn shops this way have often never been in a pawn shop. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Pawn shops are actually well regulated and policed financial institutions. As gun dealers they hold a FFL license. As money lenders, they are governed by their state and the federal government. Most local sheriff's offices perform periodic inspections of pawn shop inventory, stipulated by law.

Historically, Queen Isabella of Spain pawned the crown jewels to finance Columbus’ voyage to the New World. Today, with the mass migration of people from hurricane zones and the high price of gasoline, as well as high unemployment figures, many more families are turning to pawn shops to survive. As many pawn shops change their look for a wider appeal, customers are often drawn by the quick loans at low interest rates. Pawnbrokers gauge how bad the economy really is, as small business owners arrive to pawn valuables and even automobiles for short-term loans. Construction workers pawn tools in times of little work. An area's economy can be quickly discerned by the number of power tools on pawn shop shelves. Financial experts say the pawn shops have found a niche by taking risks on customers that banks would turn down.

Items that had long been held dear are now turning up in pawn shops. At times, when I buy a nice gun at a pawn shop, I try to imagine the person who hocked it. Were they down and out? Were they traveling to a better life? Did they just want to get rid of a nuisance they inherited?

Payday loan kiosks require much more than simple collateral to make a loan. Pawnbrokers do not. Banks will not take a firearm as collateral for a loan so a family can buy gas for a trip to a better life. A pawnbroker will. The only reason the pawnbroker will take the gun as collateral is because he has a means of liquidating it if he must. Thus, the gun buyer at the pawn shop plays a vital role in the circle of economic realities. Because he buys, the pawn broker can sell. Because the pawnbroker sells, he can loan. Because the pawnbroker loans, the family in need can travel and eat. Buying guns from a pawnbroker does not victimize those who must pawn the guns. It enables the entire process, and helps those in need.

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Blogger Steve Skubinna said...

I've never patronized a pawn shop, but that's because I never thought to look there for anything I wanted. I realize that to some people they have an unsavory rep, but I always assumed that they were in existence because they provided a service, or services, that people found useful and otherwise might not have been able to obtain.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Pawpaw said...

Good post, Pardner. I always look in pawn shops first when shopping for guns or jewelry.

3:44 PM  
Blogger bjbarron said...

I tried to pawn my first wife...but the guy knew a losing proposition when he saw it.

If I tried that with my present wife (of 33 years), I'd wake up dead.

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the only problem I have with the Pawn shops in my location is that they ask almost as much $$ as new for many things.
Otherwise a good deal all around. Nice posts, glad I stumbled my way over here.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Depending on the Pawn Shop you go to there may be better deals than others. Especially on items like video game systems, but some pawnshops do have lay away and others don't and many of them differentiate in time for being put aside. Ask around, and ask for prices over the phone. Don't ask the pawn shop if they have anything in particular you are looking for, because most likely the person answering the phone has no idea what you are talking about. Oh yeah Try Action Pawn. =] I happen to work there and it is one of the best Pawn Shop Chains in San Antonio

11:30 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

If you're willing and/or able to negotiate, pawnshops provide the best deals going. The price on any item in a pawnshop is always subject to negotiation. Of course, that takes patience since a pawnbroker who intends to stay in business won't start dickering until the merchandise has been on the floor for a month or three, giving them plenty of time to come across a customer with less experience or patience.

As to pawnbrokers being predators, I can't stop laughing every time the latest nitwit starts preaching that tired old chestnut. Without pawnbrokers, there are all sorts of people (better than 20% by the numbers I've seen) who couldn't get a loan from a bank without posting a kidney for security. None of the self-anointed protectors of the defenseless are willing to loan them money, so that leaves pawnbrokers performing a civic service and getting nothing for it but derision from the ignorant.

Lastly, if anything, you've understated the degree of regulation that pawnbrokers are under. Since so many people view them as predators, they are regulated to a degree that only prison inmates would find acceptable.

Sorry, rant off.

7:57 PM  
Blogger pawnmand said...

Wow, I was thinking I'd read something completely different than that when I started. Great post. A lot of people don't realize the service we give and are quick to point their finger at us when something goes missing. If anyone wants to know a little more about the legitimacy and inner workings of a pawn shop, I've started a blog at http://pawnlife.blogspot.com. I'm hoping to educate people as well as change a few minds. Once again, great post...couldn't have said it better myself.

9:44 PM  

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