MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

February 15, 2009

Many who pawn to make ends meet not reclaiming items

When people get desperate for money to put food on the table, sometimes they resort to pawning tools, guns and even Grandma’s wedding ring.

But, many are never able to come up with the money to reclaim those items. People who are laid off or in a credit crunch are resorting to pawn shops to help ease their immediate need for cash, according to three local pawnbrokers.

All three say they’re taking merchandise but being more selective in what they buy because of the economy.

Bob Callison, owner of Bob’s Pawn at 3012 N. York St., said he’s had 67 percent of customers reclaim their pawned items.

That pick-up rate fell to 60 percent and has now reached 50 percent, he said.

“People have good intentions, but sometimes they just can’t (come up with the money),” he said.

Callison takes a lot of flatbed trailers, saddles and tack and some diamond rings in on pawn. Customers know they can go to his store and pay about half or at least 40 percent off what they do at a retail store, he said.

“Good quality merchandise is what they’re after,” he said.

The industry is seeing more sellers than buyers in the present economy, local dealers say.

They have loaned money on everything from an Indian Territory pop bottle to automobiles. The maximum amount you can pawn something for in Oklahoma — $20,000.

Items people pawn more than anything else — American-made tools, guns and jewelry.

Bobby Yandell at Bock’s Pawn at 114 N. Main St., has been in the business for 30 years.

He says the business isn’t as good in bad economic times. You get a lot of merchandise in, “but who are you going to sell it to?” he said. “A lot of people are just concentrating on buying groceries right now.

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