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Old 02-19-2011, 03:24 AM   #1
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Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

I started working in a pawn shop over 6 months ago and i started with no previous experience at all. Everyday I think I've seen everything but every new day always fills my head with new stories and information that my head can't even wrap around. We're not located in a bad or sketchy area but we get every type of person and character that there is out there in the world.

Feel free to ask me anything about working at a pawn shop or if you had any general question on how they operate. From my experience so far, I have noticed that the general public thinks its mostly a dirt-bag skummy job. But if you have the money to invest in a shop it is where the money can be made especially in an economy like today. Its a business where we buy one persons junk and sell it to the next for double. The oldest money making game in history.
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:22 AM   #2
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Have you considered pitching your story to the History Channel? It might make a great series.
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Old 02-19-2011, 05:00 AM   #3
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

What's Chumlee really like off camera?
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

As a purchaser, what type mechandise can I usually get the best deals on?
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #5
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by fak8629 View Post
From my experience so far, I have noticed that the general public thinks its mostly a dirt-bag skummy job.
Certainly money to be made, but let's face it, it's not exactly social work. A fair bit of that business relies on people who are desperate, degenerate, those who just don't know better, and straight-up crackhead thieves. Maybe you work in an honest & well-run shop, but those are pretty hard to come by around Atlantic City.

A trip to a pawnbroker around here means you look around, maybe find some used guitar or amp (or camera, or whatever). Say you find something you could buy for $450 on eBay today, it'll have a $700 tag on it. Then you have to haggle for 5 minutes with some cocky smartass (who knows full well what it's actually worth), who will try every line in the book to misrepresent the thing and completely disregard the wear & tear and so on. Then when you finally get it to the right price (which ofc is still twice what they paid), the fat Russian Teddy KGB wannabe behind the counter looks like he just rolled out of bed has to ask you 3 times what the price was before finally settling on that irritated look.
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

For the record I don't have any problem with pawn shops or whatever, just pointing out where some of the public perception probably comes from. It's clearly a pretty degen-ridden business
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:07 AM   #7
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

What type of margins on typical items such as home improvement/lifestyle equipment (generators, lawn mowers, etc)? What types of items have the biggest margins?

Do most people want to pawn their items or sell them? Which is more profitable and which would the owner of the pawn shop prefer?

What are the biggest drawbacks/negative aspects for the pawn shop owner?

How much volume does a typical location do?

How active is the pawn shop owner in daily operations at the location you work?
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by WinningTough View Post
What's Chumlee really like off camera?
Chumlee started an ask me thread in the Vegas Lifestyle forum. Although he didn't post too much in it, you should ask your question there.

thread found here
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:27 AM   #9
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Share a story that stands out the most?
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:59 AM   #10
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

How often do junkies visit your shop trying to sell stuff they've stolen?
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Are there scams that people run on pawn shops where they sell you stuff for more than they legitimately bought it for? If so, what types of items does this happen with? I'm thinking stuff like art or antiques maybe?
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Old 02-19-2011, 10:28 AM   #12
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Do you notice when boss/staff really low ball people on items or do you do it as well?
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:26 AM   #13
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwana devil View Post
What type of margins on typical items such as home improvement/lifestyle equipment (generators, lawn mowers, etc)? What types of items have the biggest margins?

Do most people want to pawn their items or sell them? Which is more profitable and which would the owner of the pawn shop prefer?

What are the biggest drawbacks/negative aspects for the pawn shop owner?

How much volume does a typical location do?

How active is the pawn shop owner in daily operations at the location you work?
In our shop anything that has to look collectible or unique my boss falls in love with. The rarer the item the more interested he's in it cause even if he cant sell it for 5x the markup in the store he knows most of the time he'll get at least 3x on ebay. He's big on coins and basic collectibles but stuff like that people know what they're bringing in and tend to do their research before hand. Beat up stuff like lawn mowers and home Improvement items get close to nothing unless they're heavy duty like a rather large compressor. Items like that where you can find at most garage sale are never going to have a lot of resale value. Surprisingly, a lot of his instruments have been selling like crazy. People bring them in not having any idea how much they're worth and sell it to us for cheap. About a month ago a guy came in and we pawned him 200 for his tenor sax and he said he would be back. He lost it 30 days later and it sold on ebay for over $1575.

The same thing goes for gold and silver obv with the going prices being high. Every pawn shop, like us, is just another middle man that you sell your jewelry to and then we sell it to our guys for more to get scrapped. The dealers might try to sweet talk you and say its just gonna sit in my store till a pretty lady comes and has to have it but dont believe them. As soon as you leave the store that jewelry is getting melted and destroyed, EVERY TIME.

It depends on the item and the value it holds to the customer if they want to sell it or buy it. If its something they cant give up but need cash fast they'll pawn it. It's a win win for the dealer because if they pawn it your getting paid to take their items and put it in the back of the store until they come back in 30 days to pick it up. Its basically a paid self 30 day storage for your personal belongings. If they sell it to the dealer then the dealer has to figure what they can resell it for and just try to get it as below that cost as possible.

Not that many drawbacks honestly. The biggest one that I hear daily from my boss is how horrible the drunks and crackheads smell when they come in. I'd say we average about 10 customers a weekday and 25 on Saturday (closed Sunday) so theres a lot of dead time where we casually put items up on ebay to make more profits. I know 10 customers doesn't seem like a lot especially when only 4 of them make transactions, but if you make one big score (typically a gold buy) your set for the entire week.

As for my boss, he takes his job very seriously but i handle all of the computer work because he's not internet friendly at all. He's at the store 11-4 Mon-Sat. and deals with all of the customers. When there are no customers he'll casually help me post stuff online but typically just relax in a recliner and watch cheaters or judge mathis lol.

Thanks for the questions...Sorry I'm still getting use to posting on here even though i've been a member forever lol so you'll just have to bare with me to answer all these questions individually unless somebody knows a quick fix.
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Old 02-19-2011, 11:36 AM   #14
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Rollinhand:
We get junkies everyday. There our regulars and we all know eachothers names. They come and bs with my boss cause they have no where else to go during the day but he just talks to them for their business and to keep them coming back.


HC82:
That's the entire name of the game. You NEVER bring something to the pawn shop and offer below what you paid for it. Your initial price should always be higher than the amount you plan to sell it for because the dealers price will always be lower than what he'll really be willing to pay for it. I've never heard my boss give a fair shot price on the first offer or take the sellers first price given. No matter what the seller says my boss will always give him a dumbfounded look, start trash talking about the item, and offer about 20% what the seller originally priced. And its not that he's a shady kind of guy I just believe that's the business that pawn shops fall into and that's expected when you walk into one wanting to make a deal. Think of it as paying full price on every feature for a new car, you know they're expecting you to try and bargain a little bit. Unless your at carmax of coarse lol
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Old 02-19-2011, 01:05 PM   #15
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

fak829, thanks for the responses. I'll be interested in reading more as the thread develops.

Last edited by bwana devil; 02-19-2011 at 01:19 PM.
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