As you might recall, I mentioned a while back I'd taken a job at a pawn shop. I'm still there, and fortunately it's turned into a full-time gig. I also LOVE it. Not only do we get the coolest most interesting things in, but it's never a dull moment. It's the most fun I've ever had at work.
When I first started, I had no idea how pawning worked, and a lot of people come into the shop wondering the same thing. So I thought I might explain. Here's how it works: Let's say your taxes come due and you're short $250 dollars which you don't have and can't borrow. What you do have is some collateral you can bring to the pawn shop which will then loan you money on that item. The pawn shop keeps the item in a safe place and you generally have 31 days to come redeem said item for the amount of the original loan ($250) plus the interest (25% or $62.50). If you don't return to pay, your item goes out on the floor to be sold to cover your debt. This is why you never get full retail value for a pawned item. The pawn shop has to be able to make money on it on the chance you don't come back.
At our shop, people can come back at the end of the month, just pay the interest, and carry over another month. In fact, they can do that for as many months as they need. It isn't smart, because if they do it too much, they'll end up paying us far more than the item was ever worth. But shite happens and people get into jams. I will also say that at our shop we never pull an item out of pawn if the person doesn't come back right off; we always give them more time. A lot of pawn shops don't.
The other side of our business is the outright buying of items from people who have stuff to sell. They might be cleaning out a relative's house or be moving or downsizing or maybe they're a picker. We have a few people who scour yard sales and flea markets for finds and then bring those items to us in the hopes of making a profit. Regardless, we love these people, because this is where the bulk of our items come from. We get furniture, gaming systems, movies, bows (composite and cross), china, art (we just sold a painting on ebay for over 2K!!!), and a ton of jewelry. And we get new stuff every day, not to mention the weird stuff, which can sometimes be worth more than you'd think!
Anyway...that's a little about the pawn shop where I work. Oh, and if you're ever in the market for old wooden lobster buoys, we have a couple hundred. My boss got all the fishermen in the county to bring theirs in and he bought them all!