The night is dark, the street deserted… a scraggly looking guy stumbles around the corner into the local pawn shop. Other tough looking characters loiter around the entrance using rough language as the man passes by looking to get some quick cash with a television he just stole. Is this the scene that comes to mind when you think about pawn shops? If so, you may be watching a little too much TV!
Due to the stereotypes that Hollywood has given to pawn shops, many people have a distorted view of what a pawn shop actually is, how it runs and who utilizes them. In reality, the clientele of a pawn shop tends to be very diverse. From the young to the old, the lower class to the middle, more and more individuals are turning to pawn shops for a quick loan.
Pawn shops see all kinds of people come and go. In this trying economy as more and more businesses are failing, individuals that are in the middle to upper class are finding themselves without money to make their mortgage. It is not unusual to see higher end vehicles being pawned to ensure that the house payment can be made. Another group that utilizes pawn shops are students. They receive their grant money and use it to buy a laptop, iPad or some other school related electronic. They then turn around and pawn the iPad for instant cash and use the money for other things.
Another misconception about pawn shops is that all the merchandise is stolen goods. Pawn shops actually help to catch those individuals who are thieves. They are often the reason that people get caught. When someone pawns an item, they must sign a form and get their thumbprint taken. They must do this again when they return to claim their item. This ensures that only the person who pawned the item can get it back. Due to the diligence of pawn shops and their reporting system, it actually helps people to locate an item that has been stolen.
Don’t let Hollywood fool you into thinking that pawn shops are dark and seedy places. The times are changing as is the economy. It is not always easy to make ends meet and sometimes you just need a little help. It is comforting to know that you have a place to go when in a bind.