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Reality TV pawnbrokers turn spotlight on industry

Dec 14, 2012 Sean Albert

Reality TV pawnbrokers turn spotlight on industry
The short term lending sector might be getting a financial boost and a public relations makeover due to the increased popularity of reality series like "Pawn Stars" and "Hardcore Pawn." Brokers know that the industry is not based on preying on people in desperate situations, but assisting clients by enabling them to access cash for emergencies, but these reality shows may also point to the fact that in many ways, pawnbrokers are the new antiquarians.
 Saving history
One important function of the pawn industry is to allow consumers to trade valuable goods for cash loans or sell them outright. In some cases, customers may not be fully aware of the value of significant items, and therefore, lenders offer an important appraisal service to consumers. "Pawn Stars," for example, focuses on a shop in Las Vegas, in which the owners have extensive knowledge of antique firearms. Frequently, customers bring in classic weapons, and pricing is considered according to historic value and condition. These short term lenders can offer cash loans against items, but the buying and selling function is important to collectors. Because brokers cannot pay full market value in order to obtain retail markup, consumers may have a better chance for striking an advantageous deal on antiques. Brokers may also have the economic clout to conduct necessary preservation or repairs on antiques, therefore, sellers may have an opportunity to sell an imperfect item, which may not be possible on the open market. Coupled with access to antique experts, pawn shops are a crucial gateway to preservation and the antique industry. Hardcore economic services
Pawnbrokers are important sources of alternative credit for unbanked individuals and those with less-than-perfect credit. Set in Detroit, Michigan, "Hardcore Pawn" is TruTV's most popular show - so popular that it has warranted a new spin-off called "Hardcore Pawn Chicago." The original series depicts the complicated dynamics of a multi-generational family-run business. Although the show does depict a rowdy atmosphere, it also highlights the significance of lending services in communities that have endured difficult economic recovery, such as Detroit.
Pawn services allow families to access funds that may be necessary for emergency services such as auto repairs or medical bills. The stars of these popular shows remind viewers that consumers require access to short-term funds when unexpected life situations occur, painting a positive picture of the industry. Lenders also play an increasingly important function of connecting antique sellers to collectors, and the specialized knowledge of many brokers facilitates historical preservation of important items, particularly ones that tell the story of America.