Have you ever watched this show? I have to admit, I am a reality tv junkie. It's my not-so-secret vice. Anyway, I've watched it a couple of times and it has given me a slightly different perspective on pawn shops. In that, I really wasn't aware that pawn shops bought things straight out from people. I thought they just offered you ridiculously low prices on items you brought in expecting to get back. Anyway, I didn't know that they bought things straight out.
One of the main guys on the show keeps talking about how they are trying to change people's opinions about pawn shops, and it certainly seems like he is offering fair prices for the cool items that people bring in on the show. And since I live near Las Vegas, and I happen to have some jewelry that I no longer wear, and I have a need for some quick cash to make sure my mortgage is covered, I thought I would stop by and see what the real story is.
And it was quite a bit different from the tv show.
Mind you, my husband has to be at work at 7am, and my son and I drove into Vegas with him (hello, have you seen the price of gas?). I also needed to stop by my mother-in-law's house to pick up Steven's birthday present. So we had a relatively open day, but in the interest of saving gas, it had to be...hubby's work, pawn shop, mother-in-law's house, bank, pick up hubby. It worked out to be kind of a circle around Vegas (the Gold & Silver Pawnshop is in downtown Vegas and not really near anywhere else I had to be that day).
We hung around hubby's work for a while, and finally made it over to the pawn store around 8:30 am. While the phone book says the store is open 24 hours, that really isn't true. The pawn store itself doesn't open until 10 am, and if you want to sell stuff to them you should either come back after 10am or resign yourself to doing business through a door with a plexiglass window. Which is what I did. It felt kind of like a drug deal. And it didn't help that two scary looking guys started hanging around that door as soon as I stuck my jewelry through the slot.
The guy inside separated my gold from my silver and weighed everything. Then offered me $410 for the whole lot. Now mind you, I had already decided I wouldn't take less than $800 for everything because the Native American jewelry that was in there (the pieces that I never wear) is worth well over $2000, and that isn't even including the two gold pieces of jewelry. He wouldn't go any higher, so I took my jewelry back and headed over to my mother-in-law's house.
The story doesn't end there, though.
After Steven and I left my mother-in-law's house, we decided we would try another pawn store. We passed no less than five of them, most of them SuperPawn. Really, they are all over town. I actually got to go inside that store (no outside drug-deal like transactions here). The girl behind the counter was extremely nice when she told me she couldn't take my silver jewelry, but she would take my gold jewelry. She took it over to weigh it and bag it up, and then offered me $565 for ONLY those two gold pieces. I happily accepted. She also told me that they would take any gold I have (and I have some other gold pieces that I consider pretty much junk). I asked her if she had any suggestions about where I could sell the Native American jewelry, but her only suggestion was the Gold & Silver Pawnshop.
So, it's back to ebay for the silver jewelry.
My final conclusion is that just because something sounds great on tv, doesn't mean in real life it will work out that well. I really felt like Gold & Silver Pawn was reinforcing my not-so-great image of pawnshops, although I had an excellent experience at SuperPawn. I am pretty sure I won't be shopping at Gold & Silver Pawn anytime soon, but again--I just might be at SuperPawn. Steven said they had an excellent collection of xBox games in his price range, so it is a definite possibility.