Looking For Great Deals? Try The Local Pawn Shop

Pawn shops are becoming an unlikely source of great deals thanks to the ongoing non-recession thing, according to CBS. Where else can you turn pop’s old watch into last month’s overdue rent check? We always see pawn shops as a half-step up from dumpster diving, a semi-acceptable sad-land where each abandoned item comes with a free story and a frown.

“This ladies Rolex retails for approximately $5,000, and it’s something we would offer for around $3,000,” explains [Stan Lukowicz from Capital City Loan.]

We also found a diamond ring appraised for $5500, selling for $1800.

A Mitre saw priced for $350 at Capital City Loan usually sells for about $600 in stores.

“When you come to a second hand store or a pawn shop, you can save dramatically from the retail because we don’t have the high mall rents and the large advertising budget that they have,” says Stan.

And keep in mind, everything is negotiable.

Pawned items aren’t synonymous with mint condition, so remember to ask about return policies, and as always, caveat emptor.

Do you have pawn shop experience? Hock your stories in the comments.

Save With Dave: Pawn Shop Savings [CBS13]
(Photo: nalilo)


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  1. Norcross says:

    I’ve found good buys on certain things, esp original 8 bit Nintendo games, and also tools. Look at how much ladders cost at a hardware store. They’re about 75% cheaper at a pawn shop.

    Considering people bought shit they couldn’t afford, and pawning is the quickest cash method, it makes sense.

  2. Mr_Human says:

    There is something sad about shopping at a pawn shop, though, don’t you think? You’re potentially feeding on someone else’s desperation.

    • @Mr_Human: Eh, I’ve pawned a few things in my day, when money was tight. It’s an easy way to sell your stuff… there are books with price guides of what you should get for your item, which reputable pawn shops will follow (might be law, I dunno) and the seller is given weeks to come back and get the item before it ever goes on the shelf for sale.

      So you figure, a person might be desperate, but if they can’t get their shit together in the 2 months or whatever they have to reclaim their item… well that’s too bad… And if the desperate person didn’t have the pawn shop to turn to it would be worse for them.

    • cmdrsass says:

      @Mr_Human: You’re looking at it the wrong way. By shopping at a pawn shop, you’re supporting a business that allows someone in genuine need to get some money for their excess possessions instead of going hungry/getting evicted/having their legs broken. It’s not so easy to get fast cash for an old stereo or guitar any other way.

      • Brazell says:

        @cmdrsass: That’s naive. The majority of pawn shop items are stolen, NOT used. A pawn shop will not give somebody $5 for a used stereo, even if that same stereo would sell for $100+ somewhere else.

    • Darkwing_Duck says:

      @Mr_Human: Yeah, in this recession economy you can find good deals in a pawn shop-the irony being someone in even more hardship than you had to pawn the item you are buying and could not afford to buy it back in time. I’m not superstitious, but I’ve always had a nagging feeling that karma is very real.

      Oh, and I try to stay out of the kinds of neighborhoods that have pawn shops

    • jonworld says:

      @Mr_Human: Not only that, there’s probably a 50/50 chance that whatever you just bought was stolen. As my brother says, “In the suburbs, Pawn shops are a little sketchy, to say the least. However, in the city, the essentially control the traffic of stolen goods.”

  3. WaywardSoul says:

    I don’t find pawn shop deals to be that good, every time I go looking I leave disappointed. Before Ebay I’d find a rare bargain but these days, with the going price of everything a mouse click away, it’s all overpriced. In our area shops tools fill fifty percent of the floor space or more, yet the prices for used, dirty, mildly rusted items is often higher than you can find a new one for during a sale. Yes, I can talk the price below that, but not enough to make up for the difference in condition.

    I think the “deals” in pawn shops are only deals to those who don’t have the ability or forethought to search for them outside the pawn shops.

    • madanthony says:


      Not only do pawnshops use ebay for pricing, most of the pawnshops around me also sell on eBay. So the odds of finding something that’s a good deal – at least in catagories like electronics, which is what I mainly buy – are pretty much nill.

      If you are looking for deals on used stuff, you are probably better off going to yard sales, flea markets, or consignment auctions. I’ll occasionally find something good at Goodwill or the Salvation army, but most of the time it’s junk.

  4. sashen says:

    After recovering from a pawn shop a number of items stolen from my home, I complained to a lawyer friend of mine about pawn shops being willing to take stolen merchandise.

    He said, “Oh, you’ve got it all wrong. If it weren’t for pawn shops, we would never catch thieves! Without a pawn shop, they’d sell things out of the backs of their cars and we’d never track them down for doing something stupid… like selling stolen stuff to a pawn shop.”

  5. and half the furniture in my house was found put out for someone else’s trash pick-up…. Come to think of it, I saw a bulk item notice for collection in Fountain Hill$ the other day… I should go scope that out…

    One man’s trash, another’s treasure and all that…

  6. ReidFleming says:

    Pawn shops are great for power tools as well. Do I worry that they’re stolen? Yes, but I also know that tools always have some value so, in desperate times, people will pawn them. If you are troubled by buying, though (as I am), take solace in the fact that they do serve a purpose. Remember, never, ever pay the listed price at a pawn shop. Here are some recent deals I’ve gotten:

    Unused Heavy Duty Milwaukee Sawzall: $45
    Unused, in the box 10″ compound miter saw: $65

    Guns can also be a good deal but you’d better know what you’re buying or take someone along who does.

  7. saintpetepaul says:

    I have a story about pawn shops that ought to give anyone pause before entering one.

    While I was in school, I used to support myself as a renovation contractor. I did honest work and it felt great to make a living with my hands. As a construction guy, I owned a fair number of power tools –all of which I purchased retail. Because I’m a rather organized guy, I always write down the serial numbers of things I buy.

    Well one day I was working on a kitchen renovation and I had set up a cutting station on the driveway of the house where I was working. It was a few steps outside of the kitchen I was working on and it helped to minimize the amount of dust I was making inside the house.

    I had a table saw, a miter saw, an angle grinder and a hammer drill outside in my cutting station. The table saw and the miter saw were kind of heavy, but the angle grinder and the hammer drill were light enough that someone could grab them and run. That’s precisely what happened. I went to use my drill and realized that it was gone, ditto my angle grinder. Now at the time, I was a starving student and those two tools cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 when I bought them originally and their sudden disappearance pissed me off to no end. So I called the police and filed a theft report. Do to my anal retentive nature, I was able to provide the St. Pete police with the serial numbers of my pilfered tools. The officer was compassionate and sympathetic, but he and I both realized that the odds were pretty good that I’d never see those tools again.

    I put a crowbar in my wallet and I replaced them later that week. I chalked the whole thing up to experience and never left a tool out of my sight again.

    Well, a couple of weeks went by and I got a call from a detective from the St. Petersburg Police Department. It turns out that someone had pawned my tools the very afternoon that they’d gone missing. I never knew this, but every time someone pawns something, a copy of the pawn form gets forwarded to the police in an attempt to dissuade people from pawning stolen goods.

    I was thrilled with the news. I’d get my old tools back and I’d be able to press charges against the dirtbag whole stole them from me. Or so I thought.

    I met the detective at the pawnshop where my tools were the following morning. The manager of said shop brought them out to the counter and I identified them. I could see my paint-y hand prints all over the handle of the drill and the serial numbers matched up.

    I assumed that I’d be able to take my tools back then and there because they had been stolen from me and they were mine, right? Wrong. I was told that in order to get MY tools back, I would have to pay the pawn on them. I thought my head was going to explode. I could see and touch my tools, but I couldn’t have them back until I paid the sleaze ball behind the counter $150.

    Out of principle, I declined the offer. Loudly. My refusal to pay the pawn meant that the owner couldn’t sell them either, but since he’d invested $150 in them, I would have to sue him in small claims court to get them back. Who knew? In addition to all of that, my tools were now evidence and since I wanted to press charges against the guy who stole them in the first place, no one could do anything with them until the thief’s case was decided.

    Now, the detective informed me that Pawn Shop laws vary greatly from state to state, and that unfortunately for me, Florida’s are some of the most one-sided in the favor of the pawn industry.

    So at the end of the day, I refused to pay the pawn, I refused to sue the owner, the case against my thief got dropped as part of a plea bargain and I learned a huge lesson about pawnshops and keeping my own stuff locked up.

    Think about it before you patronize a pawn shop.

    • MrEvil says:

      @saintpetepaul: As far as I know in the state of Texas pawn shops have to return merchandise they know is stolen to the rightful owner. I’ve serviced a couple Dell laptops for people who’ve recovered them from a pawn shop after they’d been stolen.

      The best pawn shops are found near military bases. Where my sister lives near Ft Hood, the pawn shops have hundreds of DVDs and games and all other kinds of gently used stuff. Alot of soldiers that are single will just sell to a pawn shop what they can’t store with relatives when they ship out. My brother in law and I went into several in Kileen. Prices are pretty good too considering There’s not too many people buying in that area unless they come up from Austin.

      My brother-in-law’s DVD collection was purchased sole-ly from pawn shops and it puts mine to shame.

  8. Hongfiately says:

    I got my first electric guitar at a pawn shop. Bought it on layaway when I was broke ages ago. I still have that guitar and it’s still my main practice guitar. Pawn shops are great for finding odd musical gear. Looking for some really strange effects pedal? Start at the pawn shop.

  9. mbz32190 says:

    My advice is to start at Goodwill, then if you can’t find it there, move onto a pawn shop. Of course you can’t get guns there, but you can be surprised what you can find. I got a TV that was not even a year old for $10.

    • katylostherart says:

      @mbz32190: actually goodwill, i find, isn’t that great. i can get cheaper new clothes on the old navy clearance rack than i can used clothes at goodwill on most days. dishes you can get at the dollar store for $1/piece (of course) which is also still cheaper than goodwill. pawn shops are also a lot more ecclectic and they’re more likely to negotiate for a price.

  10. snoop-blog says:

    Down there at the pawn shop,

    it’s the only way to shop,

    down there at the pawn shop,

    if it’s not in stores…

  11. FCL says:

    Heh, I’m not the only one who started singing Sublime in their head…

  12. asujosh1 says:

    I bought a Ducati 748 at a pawn shop, best purchase I ever made. The bike was perfect.

  13. Canino says:

    Unfortunately the only pawn shop in my city sells stuff at almost retail prices, but I have gotten some good deals at other pawn shops in the past.

    A friend of mine in the pawn business makes a ton of money off gold. They buy all jewelry by weight only with diamonds worth about 1/10 what the supposed “appraisal value” is. If you buy jewelry at a pawn shop, know that they paid almost nothing for it.

  14. Brazell says:

    Totally disagree. Pawn Shops are often higher priced around here (Central, MA) and the stuff is crap. Last year I was in the market for a new acoustic guitar, and so I was shopping around mostly at Guitar Center and Musicians Friend online, but I made a trip to the Pawn Shop to take a look … and it was ridiculous. They were selling _broken_ guitars with cracked frames, for like $300, crummy japanese $99 learner models for $250+… and $800 Martins for $2,000. On top of that, they didn’t let you play the guitars before buying them and every deal was final. An acoustic guitar is one of those things that you _have_ to play before buying.

  15. 4ster says:

    Hongfiately is right about guitars. I got a good bass amp earlier this year for $50 at a pawn shop. Works great, and I didn’t have to drive far to find it.

  16. Andon says:

    Not a pawn shop story – though I do frequent them and thrift stores often – but I totally know where that picture was taken. It’s down on 10th Street in Oklahoma City, about twenty minutes from where I live. The other side of the sign has him holding a huge diamond, as if to suggest that he pawned it (the diamond) for the cash. Weird.

  17. alangraham999 says:

    I use to shop at pawn shops until someone was telling me why they don’t…

    “Buying form a pawn shop is just getting a deal off of someone else’s misfortune.”

  18. BiZarRroBALlmeR says:

    Times are tough when Paul Bunyan is hocking items. Is Babe already gone?

  19. Dansc29625 says:

    If you know the product well, you can get a good deal. A friend of mine always stops by the pawn shops for fishing gear, some of them don’t know what is high quality from the excellent quality out there. He says it like this: “you cant find a $100 new in box item for $10 but you just might, if your looking hard enough find a $1000 dollar new in box item for almost as low as $100.” Most gun shops have a used gun rack, so pawn shops aren’t the only place for used guns.

  20. balthisar says:

    Most items are not stolen in pawn shops. It’s a highly regulated industry. You can’t pawn something without affirmative ID, and the cops are always looking for the reported, stolen stuff as the pawn shops first.

  21. unsunder says:

    I stumbled upon a 50’s Ampeg amp when I was 16. I think I ended up paying $60 for it. It’s worth about $600 now and I gig with it a couple of times a week.
    I don’t go in pawn shops quite as much these days. I figure I had a once in a lifetime find. Why expect another? Ebay has kinda destroyed the good find pawn shop days for all of us.

  22. aerick79 says:

    My state (Wisconsin) says the pawn shops are illegal !!! For some odd reason they think they rip you off. Which they dont!! I wish the state would change that.

  23. Dean806 says:

    I’ve had good luck finding DVDs in pawn shops. Not only are they usually cheap, but I’ve found some really nice out-of-print titles that I would’ve had to pay huge prices for on ebay/Amazon marketplace/elsewhere. One quick run through the scratch remover and it’s like new.

  24. Nighthawke says:

    Raiding pawn shops, I’ve found the pickings vary from city to city, or even from one region of the city to another. One might specialize in high tech gadgetry, be loaded to the gills in jewelery, while another may look like a sporting goods store, wall to wall guns and fishing gear. The rougher parts of towns may just have junk in their cases, the desparate ones getting rid of stuff to have some green.

    You may do well raiding a shop in the better areas of town if you are seeking a gaming console, one place I raid frequently had at least 3 in the case. I got lucky and got the scoop on some night vision optics for 25% of the going retail on them, in top shape! Dad, for a short song got a turreted reloading press for reloading ammo.

  25. l951b951 says:

    Buying from pawn shops promotes theft.

    • ReidFleming says:

      @l951b951: “Buying from pawn shops promotes theft.” As others have said, that is not necessarily true. People will always steal and they’ll then try to sell it. I’ve had kids come up to me and try to sell me an obviously-stolen Alpine car stereo for $10 and I’m certainly no pawn broker. Again, as said, the shops at least give an avenue for cops to go look and they do require ID for pawning.

      • snoop-blog says:

        @ReidFleming: Agreed. Shoplifting, came long before the pawn shops were around. Robin hood wasn’t taking from the rich, and going to the pawn shop. There are other motives for theft, and some people just get a thrill out of it or are kleptos.

  26. maztec says:

    Any time something is stolen from me or a friend, I go to the pawn shops, along with my original receipt and serial number, and generally find it in one of the three closest to me. Sometimes it takes a week or two to show up, but show up it will. With a bit of haggling you can usually get your item back for free or the price the shop paid for it [which usually is not that much for stolen goods]. But, you have to carry proof of ownership of some form to say, “Hey, some arse stole that from me, do you remember who it was?”

    One of the shops nearby takes a photograph of everyone that they buy stuff from – with the item in the picture with them. They will always hand it over to the police and sometimes to the buyer on request.

  27. ideagirl says:

    Where I live, pawn shops = FAIL. Nobody who knows anything about what they are shopping for shops in our local pawn shops.

  28. BytheSea says:

    That’s not that great. If you’re going to be buying used crap, at least go to a thrift store where the mitre saw is no more than $20.

  29. snoop-blog says:

    I know people who everytime the move (far distances and they do it all the time) they pawn all the shit they don’t want to pack. If pawn shops promote theft, which they don’t, than ebay is a cesspool, and even worse.

  30. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    Snoop – good point. When a friend’s father passed way, she was left with a ton of tools and other stuff she had no need for (or space for ) at the time, and no time to hold a garage sale etc. She and I took the majority of it to the local pawn shop and got quite a nice bit of cash for everything. People who think that pawn shops are only for stolen goods have no clue.

  31. snoop-blog says:

    I know plenty of musicians who use the pawn shop like a payday loan place. They don’t have a checking account so they can’t go to a payday loan, but they do have and extra amp, or guitar, that they can use as collateral. I applied for a job at one in my town and my interveiw was in the back room where they keep the things like this, things they cannot sell unless the owner defaults on their loan. I was amazed at the shit I saw back there for one, and there was 2-3 times more shit back there, than on the shelfs for sale. I could see myself working there now, plotting in my head how someones not going to pay their loan and I’m putting my dibs on that guitar right now!!!

  32. TimTelstar says:

    My roommate and I used to go to a huge pawn shop when we were at Eastern Michigan University; they had DVDs at five bucks apiece or seven for $25. A great deal, though we were at the mercy of whatever people got tired of watching for their selection (I have never seen so many copies of “Miss Congeniality 2” in one spot in my life).

    The place was so depressing to visit (so much pawned jewelry, industrial tools, musical instruments, etc.) that we started calling it the Despair-O-Mart, as in “Hey, are you done with classes for the week? Want to hit the Despair-O-Mart and see if they have anything good?”

    They actually had a pretty decent exchange system; if your DVD wouldn’t play they’d let you swap it out for another DVD. If you got stuck buying a movie that just sucked, you were out of luck.

  33. Dyscord says:

    Pawn shops are great for finding good stuff for a cheap price. I’ve gotten a few games in near mint condition cheaper than buying it used at Gamestop. The pawn shop here generally doesn’t sell broken stuff.

    The only negative experience I’ve had was witnessing one of the owners try to sell a PS2 for $300 during the christmas season a few years back. His reasoning was that they were hard to find (They were) unless you got it online, which was true, but the price for a new one was $149. I really didn’t see the justification for selling it at double the price.

  34. forgottenpassword says:

    I remember the newstories about people pawning all kinds of things just to be able to afford gas.

    But around here to go to pawn shops….you have to travel to more seedy & dangerous areas. Not worth it IMO.

  35. quail says:

    In traveling I’ve found to avoid pawnshops in farming communities, junky stuff mostly. The best pawnshops & thrift stores are to be found near military bases and colleges. Basically where there’s a big population that cycles in and out of an area.

    Since eBay, it’s harder to find the really good stuff.

    • quail says:

      Forgot to add that those ‘Sell it on eBay’ stores have mostly replaced the pawn shop in most areas.

      • snoop-blog says:

        @quail: Hmmm that surprises me considering they don’t offer short term loans. In fact most people going to pawn shops need the money today, not a let me sell this and collect my money a week later…

  36. chefdkb175 says:

    Here in Kirkland (WA) we have a shop called Yuppie Pawn. It’s a clean store in a nice area and you can really find some good deals on occasion. It’s not far from Microsoft. I mostly just love the name.

  37. I don’t know what sort of pawn shops y’all are shopping at, but reputable shops require photo ID before you sell anything. I don’t know many thiefs who would choose to fence anything somewhere that they would have to provide ID. Yeah, sure, fake IDs, but still, if a thief is able to get a decent fake ID in this day and age then he’s probably got a computer and access to ebay. Or friggin’ Craig’s list for that matter, totally anonymous. Fencing stuff at the pawn shop is the fastest way to get caught. Pawn shops get lists of stolen items to watch for and are required to hold items at least 30 days, it’s not like if you pawn something they can turn around and sell it immediately. Ebay and craigs list sure as shit don’t get some list to check against…

    Jeez, buying from pawn shops promotes theft? What is this 1976? Buying from Ebay and Craig’s list promotes theft. For that matter, any store that buys used games and DVDs promotes theft (and many used game stores are now required to hold items just as a pawn shop does). If a pawn shop that break the law, it shouldn’t be condemnation of all pawn shops.

  38. wagnerism says:

    This story is news to me. I know the value of computer stuff and they had outdated equipment at release-day prices.

    What does a pawn shop do with stuff that doesn’t sell? I’m sure they keep lowering the price but at some point it really isn’t going to sell.

  39. intellivised says:

    Pawn shops are great places to find musical gear for the musicians among us. One of the shows here in town has a banjo! that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. I might just turn my unused DS and a few crapfest DVDs I got as gifts over the years into a new-to-me banjo.

  40. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    My experience has been just the opposite of “great deals.” I just visited my local one a few weeks ago hoping to find a beater electric guitar and they wanted like $900 for a beat-up Mexican Strat and $150 for a Squier. You can probably find it NEW for less than that! I don’t know how they stay in business…

  41. Parting says:

    I don’t know, I would feel way too guilty, realizing that the item was either stolen or used as collateral to usurious rates.

    I still have a conscience. Sadly, Consumerist seemed have lost its.

    • ReidFleming says:

      @Victo: “I don’t know, I would feel way too guilty, realizing that the item was either stolen or used as collateral to usurious rates.”

      I know there are quite a few comments on here but it has been pointed out several times that neither of those instances are necessarily the case. There is not even a ‘usurious’ rate involved if you pay the loan back. If you default on the loan, however, you lose your collateral. It’s quite a bit different that outright selling your stuff (although some people do that as well).

      “I still have a conscience. Sadly, Consumerist seemed have lost its.”

      What an odd thing to say about the site! On what do you base your accusation?

  42. beverleysage says:

    My family loves the pawn shop we are on a first name basis with the one down the street where else can you buy 6 dvd’s for $20 in perfect condition. As far as being stolen here they have to report serial numbers, id’s and hold on to items for 60 days before he could sell them to make sure they weren’t stolen. We buy all of our electronics, video games, computer programs, and anything else he may have that we need there.

  43. beverleysage says:

    Oh yeah as far as stolen merchandise my friend found her stolen items from her house on craigslist. Not a pawn shop

  44. RvLeshrac says:

    My experience with pawn shops is that they want to give you infinitely less than something’s value, and want to charge you far more than an item is worth in the present condition.

    You can find some “deals,” but you’re typically going to be getting the things that no one wants, items that the shop can’t sell.

    Great if you happen to be looking for something that no one wants, but you’re more often going to get a bad deal.

    Yard sales are still a better option.

    • bbb111 says:

      >You can find some “deals,” but you’re typically
      >going to be getting the things that no one wants,
      >items that the shop can’t sell.

      >Great if you happen to be looking for something
      >that no one wants, but you’re more often going
      >to get a bad deal.

      > Yard sales are still a better option.”

      Only go to Pawn Shops if you know more than the Pawn Shop about the items you want. Or, if you are looking for stuff that no one wants in that area. I’ve found great deals on out of print books, movies and CDs in small towns – but never in a college town.
      Don’t bother looking for good tools in a Farming Community, look for high end stereo equipment. A quick look will tell you what types of products they know about and what is in demand in that area.

      A Shop might overprice a guitar, but miss the fact that it is a limited edition model that goes for much more. Even if they know what they are doing, they cannot know everything.

      Occasionally I’ve seen even worse overpricing at yard sales and thrift stores – the sellers use a price guide but ignore condition and differences in items (i.e. perfect condition first edition price for a book that is actually a beat up book club edition. Or Snap-On tool prices on no-name tools.)

  45. dvdchris says:

    I haven’t been in too many pawn shops, but I never saw any deals in them. Things are overpriced, yes I know you can bargain them down, but still. Same goes for flea markets. I went to a couple today and I just couldn’t believe the prices on the stuff they were selling. Lots of bottom of the barrel stuff at ridiculous prices. Or stuff priced the same or higher than Wal-Mart.

  46. dragonfire81 says:

    Like most businesses there are higher priced pawn shops and lower priced ones.

    Be smart, compare prices and shop around. I once scored an old Super Nintendo game for $4 at one Pawn Shop that another was selling for $25!

    Pawn shops generally give you pennies on the dollar, so you’d be wise to not expect a huge payday if you are pawning stuff.

    If you want the good deals at Pawn Shops, you have to go ALL THE TIME. The good stuff sells quickly and the more frequently you visit, the better chance you’ll have of scoring a deal.

    Oh and as a benefit of being in there all the time is that the owner will get to know you (Especially if you are smart to strike up a conversation with him/her each time you are in) and might eventually offer you even better price cuts than someone who just came in off the street.

    I’ve never bought anything over $100 at a Pawn Shop because I’ve never really needed to but I would be careful if I ever had to as large purchases from a Pawn Shop can be dicey.

  47. cosby says:

    My stepfather use to do the stereo, vcr, and tv repairs for a bunch of pawn shops in the area. I’d go with him to them a few times a month. It was always interesting to see how the price could vary on things. It was nice though because I could get anything I wanted at the pawnshops cost at a few of them. Got a bunch of great deals on sega saturn and playstation 1 games(which were current at the time).

  48. notbob50 says:

    Like many here I have never seen a good deal at a pawn shop with the exception of CD’s and DVD’s. In my misspent youth I used to pawn my computer (Apple Performa) and usually got about $100 to 115 for it. I always paid the loan within two weeks. I forget what the fee for the loan was but I could live with it. Last year I wanted to unload my Canon F1. I posted it on Craigslist but got no responses. I took it to a local pawn shop where they told me film cameras even higher end one like my F1 were no longer salable.

  49. ReidFleming says:

    In addition to the good deals I mentioned above, I have also had good luck with the more upscale stereo components. The only one I can remember off the top of my head is the Onkyo receiver that should’ve sold for at least $250 used that I paid $95 for. It all depends on what sells and how quickly. The Kenwood and Sony stuff will move but the more obscure items may sit and, eventually, allow you to walk out the door with a deal.

    In fairness, I should list the one time I got hosed. There was a nice Alvarez-Yairi (made by Kazuo Yairi) acoustic guitar on the wall for $400. That model should have been selling used for about $1,000 to $1,200. I didn’t need one as I had a similar model already. A month later and it was still there so I offered $300 for it as I just couldn’t pass up that kind of deal. After some discussions and phone calls, they accepted. Here’s the problem, I didn’t inspect it very well. It played nicely and I was pretty smug as I walked out. But, as it started behaving oddly, I noticed that it looked like the neck had been taken off. The high-end repair shop confirmed that and the fact that the truss rod spun freely inside the neck (for the non-savvy, that’s bad). Granted, it was my own laziness that got me but don’t expect the pawn shop to do you any favors with whatever you buy. Caveat emptor in a big way.

  50. where there’s a pawn shop…(going back in time)


    keeping it real CONsumerist

  51. STrRedWolf says:

    Some good laptops can be had at pawn shops. I got a P4 laptop (which will suck power and be very hot) for about $400. It runs WinXP, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a unauthorized copy, so I will have my Gentoo Linux CD’s ready.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @STrRedWolf: If it sucks power and is really hot, and possibly runs an unauthorized copy of XP how is it a really, really good deal? I get that $400 for a laptop is pretty good, but what made it really worth it? I’m not criticizing, per se, just curious as to the specs of said laptop.

      I have shopped at Goodwill and Salvation Army, not so much out of necessity. During college I got my halloween ideas from Goodwill, especially if someone wanted to throw a “retro” theme or something.

      Has anyone ever had experience with Goodwill’s online auction site? I love Craig’s List, but have never used Goodwill’s auctions.

  52. dentedvw says:

    Two weeks ago I found a whitewater kayak with a carbon/kevlar paddle for $105 out the door. I didn’t try to run the price down, as it was already such a bargain I was happy to find one at all.
    I could not have gotten into WW kayaking cheaper without stealing it myself.
    Turns out, the person owned it last traded it in for another WW boat they had. Took it out for some fun today, totally worth every buck I paid.

  53. jswilson64 says:

    Pawn shops are good for deals on some stuff, but stay away from anything electronic (except maybe stereo gear). Every pawn shop in which I’ve ever browsed computer gear, PDAs, and so on, has always been WAY over the eBay price. For power tools, and hand tools, you can sometimes find a good deal.

  54. mariospants says:

    I’ve never really been a fan of these little mom and pop pawn shops: the merchandise was often owned by people who don’t take care of their things (Reason #27 Why They Use a Pawn Shop) and the prices aren’t all that cheap.

  55. uglyhat says:

    I had a guitar stolen from my home. I filed a police report and went to the three pawn shops within walking distance of my home. I gave them a description of the guitar One place was very rude to me saying “We never get stolen goods.” Flash forward a year and I walk into the pawn shop to find my guitar hanging on the wall. After confronting them about it I was told that they would give it to me for the $50 original loan against it. Infuriated I called the police and was told that essentially the pawn shop was immune and discouraged from doing anything other than pay the $50. Needless to say I look at all pawn shops with distrust now.

  56. Tankueray says:

    I’ve bought a few things off of pawn shops on ebay. I got a 6 month old Kirby Vacuum for $300. Probably stolen, as the financing wouldn’t have been paid off yet. I’ve looked on ebay and locally recently and nothing, everything’s priced too high.