Pawning Away

Aug 282003
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Cash-deficient students might want to consider pawning some items to make a few quick bucks.

Alexis Pratt, a senior sociology major, pawned diamond and sapphire earrings, a gift from her ex-boyfriend.

“I just didn’t want them anymore,” Pratt said. “They always give you a lot less than they’re worth. But my main goal was just to get them out of my possession, and then to make a few quick bucks on the side was a plus.”

While they have asked their parents for money in the past, both Kelly Mosby and Sarah Day said they would consider using a pawnshop.

“(I might pawn) a bike or something,” said Mosby, a senior political science student.

Day said she might pawn something, but had never really considered it.

“Jewelry maybe,” said Day, a freshman studying psychology. “I never really thought about it.”

Tessa Rowland, a pawnbroker at Pawn One in Fort Collins, said she recommends pawnshops as a way for students to get some extra money, though the clientele age varies.

“We see just as many students as we see people that are 50,” Rowland said.

The assistant manager at Courtesy Pawn, Talia Mata, said items range from electronics to jewelry to movies, including some Disney features.

Unusual things are accepted for cash as well.

“I’ve seen everything,” Rowland said. “Someone brought in several bottles of marbles.”

Though the items vary, there are some rules to using a pawnshop. To check for stolen items, police do visit the pawnshops once a week, Mata said.

“You must be 18 or older and the item has to belong to you,” Mata said. “You’ll get a fair amount and we’ll hold the item as collateral.”

The item will be held for 30 days at which time the client can return with enough money to buy their item back or they can pay the interest to keep the item in holding, Rowland said.

Depending on the amount that is due to the client, the shops generally give out cash.

“If there’s not enough in the drawer, we write them a check,” Mata said.

Pawnbrokers like to try and offer fair and competitive prices.

“We like to bargain our prices,” Mata said. “Not all prices are set in stone.”

Pawn One uses the Internet to find the current rate of items brought in to sell.

“We use eBay to base our pricing,” Rowland said.

For some clients the value they receive is not always what they might expect.

“I didn’t make much money,” said Jeremey Houlton, a junior liberal arts student.

Houlton said he received about $10 for a dual tape deck.

Pat Pollock, a sophomore studying finance and real estate, said he has been into a pawnshop but has never pawned one of his possessions.

“I’d never get myself into that situation where I’d have to sell something I own,” Pollock said. “It’s not worth it in the long run.”

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