Reality television has brought the wheeling and dealing of the pawn shop industry into the living rooms of people across the country. But just how true to life is that buy, sell, trade portrayal? We took that question to dealers in the east.
When it comes to pawn shops most people might immediately think guns, guitars and of course jewels. But it very well may be the things most of us don't see that are truly interesting, if not just downright unusual.
L.D. Thomas AT Dellinger's in Washington says people have brought in, "Gold fillings, with the tooth still in them - we've seen used toilet seats."
Brandon Craft at Village Pawn says, "I've had bread makers come in that still had yeast, had microwaves that still had lunch in them when they open the door the plate of food just fell right on the floor. They did offer to clean it up."
Rich Avellino at Town Pawn in James City says someone brought them a missile launcher!!!
All of those items are a means to an end for customers looking to buy sell and trade.
In the age of reality television with shows like "Pawn Stars" and "Hardcore Pawn," business is good for shops right here in Eastern Carolina.
Father son duo L.D. and Justin Thomas run four shops -- including Dellingers in downtown Washington -- and say the shows do have their gloss
L.D. Thomas says, "I would say it's probably a 3rd reality a 3rd antique show and a 3rd Hollywood. As far as the reality part, yes, this is the way our customers come in and approach us and want to sell an item."
Rich Avellino owns Town Pawn. He and employee Jason Hedrick have been in the business for several years and say it can be tough disappointing a customer who thinks they have something. Hedrick says, "It would be 14k stamped on the piece of jewelry and what it is it's not real, it's somebody else that's stamped it to appear real - and what we do is we have to test it by way of acid. Usually they are kind of bummed out they paid a lot of money for the necklace that somebody sold them and they were hoping that it was real so they feel ripped off from that point on"
All of the owners agree though -- that when the process works it's a rewarding business to be apart of.
Craft at Village Pawn says, "You can't go to the bank and say, hey I need $100.00 until pay day, they are not going to make a $100.00 loan. But here at a pawn shop you can."
L.D. Thomas says, "A lot of pride that comes with this business. I consider it Christmas everyday with what comes into the store."