In the movie “Men In Black”, the pawn shop depicted was dirty, dingy, and dark. The pawn broker, was portrayed as unconscionable and deceitful. For years pawnbrokers have been given a bad rap and stigmatized by crime
shows, action films and hollywood blockbusters like the movie “Men In Black”. In reality, pawnbrokers are professional business people who must adhere to strict federal and state regulated laws.
Pawn shops are eclectic blends of the old and the new. They are shops rich with history, stories, and rare finds. They are run by serious business minded professionals who have had to jump through more than one legal hoop to get to where they are. Background checks, licenses and bonds are just the beginning.
In addition to the licensing, bonding and background checks required to simply open a pawn shop, the store itself must be outfitted with specific software that ensures the integrity of the transactions that take place in the store. Before a pawn loan can take place, the customer must provide government issued photo ID, which is photocopied and scanned directly by the pawnbrokers software. Each pawn loan is carefully logged and available for the state authorities to view any time they choose.
Because pawn shops must work so closely in conjunction with local authorities to help make certain stolen merchandise does not pass through the pawn shops, less than 1% of stolen goods ever pass through the doors. Pawn shops log serial numbers, personal identification and photo’s of every item pawned, which helps maintain the integrity of each deal.
The economy is hurting. Many are suffering, and everyday needs are not getting met. From single mothers who need to buy diapers and formula until their next check arrives, to the guy who just lost his job and needs to pay his cell phone bill today, pawning offers the opportunity to acquire cash through a short term no credit check required collateral loan.
Let’s say I have an engagement ring I no longer wear, and the water heater in my house just exploded. If I didn’t have the cash to immediately fix the urgent problem at hand, I could pawn my ring and get my hands on
the cash I needed to fix my water heater. In time, when I saved up enough cash, I could go back to the pawn shop and get my ring back.
In light of the economic crisis our country is in, it is unrealistic to expect to be able to turn to our banks for help. Pawning is an avenue the everyday person can utilize in times of crisis. Many shops only pawn jewelry, but there are pawn shops out there that are more upscale and are willing to pawn boats, jets, Rolex watches, motorcycles, as well as fine jewelry and your Nintendo Wii.
While most pawn shops never see the kind of items that walk into the hit cable show Pawn Stars, the truth is, the beauty of the business is not in the “stuff” being pawned at all. The beauty of the business is in the concept that people are helping people. Pawnbrokers are ordinary people, in the business of offering short term collateral loans to those who might have no other place to turn to in their time of need.