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Old 02-19-2011, 04:24 AM   #1
fak8629
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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, 05:22 AM   #2
DoomBugle
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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, 06:00 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, 08:29 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, 08:49 AM   #5
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

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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, 08:52 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, 10:07 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, 10:12 AM   #8
bwana devil
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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, 10:27 AM   #9
meatpies19
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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, 10:59 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, 11:10 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, 11:28 AM   #12
Eyecrazy2
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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, 12:26 PM   #13
fak8629
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

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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, 12:36 PM   #14
fak8629
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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, 02:05 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 02:19 PM.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:07 PM   #16
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by HC82 View Post
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?
how is buying something way below market value and selling it at a pawn shop for more than purchased (yet still below market) a scam?
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:25 PM   #17
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

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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
And you think, say lawyers, are < degen than pawn shops...
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL....
They just wear nice suits and are much slicker hustlers...
And are protected by corrupt SROs...
So they can charge $300/hour for basic administrative work...
That is worth $50/hour MAX at a competent paralegal.

Maybe the History Channel can make a series...
About Respected Law Firm charging $10,000 for cup of coffee...
But they would end up it court.

But all business is a hustle...
Whether you recognize it or not.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:05 PM   #18
smartalecc5
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

OP, try using the multi quote function. Click the bottom right button with the green plus on everyones post you want to quote, and then for the last one click quote.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:15 PM   #19
Moreconfusednow
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

On pawnstars the guy got a 20,000k loan approx for a 150,000k big rig truck.

A why does pawnstars have to keep the truck on the lot?

B If the guy doesn't pay the marker it doesn't seem fair the pawnshop gets to keep a 150k truck to pay off a 20k loan? Shouldn't the loan be at least close to what the truck is worth...like at least 50% or something like that?

or does the pawnshop have to give the guy the difference (what they sell it for minus the loan and interest (plus maybe a percent of sale so they don't sell it to a friend for cheap or something like that) ) )
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:32 PM   #20
fak8629
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartalecc5 View Post
OP, try using the multi quote function. Click the bottom right button with the green plus on everyones post you want to quote, and then for the last one click quote.
Thanks for the help learn something new everyday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moreconfusednow View Post
On pawnstars the guy got a 20,000k loan approx for a 150,000k big rig truck.

A why does pawnstars have to keep the truck on the lot?

B If the guy doesn't pay the marker it doesn't seem fair the pawnshop gets to keep a 150k truck to pay off a 20k loan? Shouldn't the loan be at least close to what the truck is worth...like at least 50% or something like that?

or does the pawnshop have to give the guy the difference (what they sell it for minus the loan and interest (plus maybe a percent of sale so they don't sell it to a friend for cheap or something like that) ) )
That's the beauty of a pawn deal, the dealer can offer whatever he wants to. The seller then chooses if they want it or not. Theres no set laws that states it needs to be a certain % of what it could sell for because it would be impossible to determine that value because the value and cost of an item would differ from everybody that wants to buy it. The person putting up the object for pawn does have to sign a contract stating that if their note is not paid within the time period they lose all poceseion of that item to the dealer. Another interesting thing that people dont think about is how dealers often shop for themselves when making a pawn deal. My boss about 3 months ago was looking for a new flat screen for his kitchen and less than 2 weeks ago somebody brought one in to pawn it (not much pawning value in them or any modern electronic equipment unless its extremely new and top of the line). So my boss offered a price that he felt comfortable paying to have it in his living room if the guy doesn't come back for it. This comes in handy also cause he doesn't have to factor in the the time it would have taken it to resell it and he just paid less than he would have had he bought brand new at the store. He also does alot of christmas shopping through lost pawns as well lol.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:48 PM   #21
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Are there any items you lost a lot of money on?

Like... did anyone misrepresent stuff and you bought it thinking it's something different?
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Old 02-19-2011, 04:20 PM   #22
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

Since I'm sure you guys have people bringing in guns to pawn, are you ever worried someone may say, "hrmm... you will give me $50 for the gun, and I want $100... how about I just pull the gun on you and take all the money in the register AND get to keep the gun."
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:50 PM   #23
fak8629
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

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Are there any items you lost a lot of money on?

Like... did anyone misrepresent stuff and you bought it thinking it's something different?
My boss is somewhat of a tightass with his spending/investing money but you kind of have to be in that business. He'll never spend a lot on something that he knows a little about doesn't have much experience on. He always tests almost everything before he gives an offer and has no shame to start ridiculously low enough to actually insult the customers. I have seen countless times customers cuss him out and throw a girly fit because they were insulted by his initial offer but you have to learn to not take it personally, its a business. As far a missrepresenting items, we never forget faces. we do have countless people banned from our store that wont even get buzzed in the double door entrance if they try. To gain entrance to this list you just have to piss us off pretty much. Try to up sale your item to much or falsify your item as you try to sell it and expect a lifetime ban.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBadJonV View Post
Since I'm sure you guys have people bringing in guns to pawn, are you ever worried someone may say, "hrmm... you will give me $50 for the gun, and I want $100... how about I just pull the gun on you and take all the money in the register AND get to keep the gun."
We dont pawn guns or even look at them. If we see people bringing in guns that are obviously visible we wont buzz them in either. I've never been threatened there before by suspicious people but we are only open at peak day lit hours. We also have a bunch of pistols hidden behind the counters in case an event actually did occur. They are all loaded and ready to go. Ive yet to see one been picked up yet or moved but i know they're real and he def doesn't have a liscence or permit or anything close to documentation to carry them. But again I think its one of those things that every pawn shop must have.
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:37 PM   #24
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

How much have you learned about negotiating? Could you give us some crucial tips and tricks that you learned while dealing with negotiations daily?
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:47 PM   #25
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Re: Ask me anything about working in a Pawn Shop

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And you think, say lawyers, are < degen than pawn shops...
LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL....
They just wear nice suits and are much slicker hustlers...
Oh, is that what I think? Because I didn't say anything even remotely like that in my post.

If you want to go on some emotional anti-lawyer rant you don't need to put words in my mouth to do it. In fact, if you had just said that there were other degen industries (or that lawyers could be degens) I'd probably have agreed. Your argument is with your own imagination.
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