Shopping: Pawn Shop Deals

Budgets are tightening all over the country, and people are looking for ways to save on the products they buy. Craigslist, eBay and even Goodwill can yield some deals on pre-owned merchandise, but there is another source becoming more and more popular: pawn shops.

Once regarded as sleazy, dirty or borderline criminal, pawn shops have undergone a reputation overhaul thanks to shows like the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars,” featuring Las Vegas’ own Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, at 713 S. Las Vegas Blvd.

More people are opting to sell their high-end items, from flat screen televisions to tablet computers, for fast cash. These items are then sold to the public at prices that are 30 to 60 percent cheaper than retail prices.

Mitchell Weinstein, a pawnbroker with MaxPawn at 2400 S. Jones Blvd., said that “anything you can buy in a pawn shop, you’re going to get a deal because they items are used, from jewlery to the name-brand purses that (MaxPawn) is famous for.”

Some of the best buys in a pawn shop will be jewelry, high-end tools, musical instruments and small items like DVD or Blu-ray movies, which can often be had for a few dollars each. There are even bargains available on firearms.

“If you’re a local and can show ID, we can call in the (purchase) from here and get you approved so you can leave with your purchase the same day,” Weinstein said.

Televisions, video game consoles and even laptops are also popular items at the pawn shops. Though once considered a risky purchase, as the quality could not be guaranteed, most shops now have a 30-day return policy on electronics.

Las Vegas resident Sarah Whitney chose to visit SuperPawn at 1100 W. Sunset Road when she was looking for a new iPod Touch last year.

“A friend told me he got his there and that it was in good condition,” she said. “I checked to see if they had what I wanted, and they did,” she said. “I ended up paying at least half, if not more, of what a new one would have cost.”

Another secret of pawn shop purchasing is that the price tag isn’t always what the sales price may be.
“No matter what’s on the tag, for instance, a watch for $599, if you asked to see that watch and said you really liked it, and would we take $250 for it, you might just have yourself a deal,” Weinstein said.

“I expected it to be more ghetto, but it was actually really nice and the (merchandise) had a good presentation,” Whitney, who had never gone into a pawn shop before, said. “I didn’t feel in any way sleazy or thrown together.”

“Here at MaxPawn, we have a higher standard,” Weinstein said. “Our motto is, if we don’t treat the customer as number one, someone else will.”

Although some still hold onto the image of a pawn shop as a thinly-veiled fence for stolen goods, Weinstein assured that they, and other pawn shops in the city, work closely with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Pawn Shop Detail in order to keep inventory as clean as possible.

“It’s a judgment call,” Weinstein said, “but we’ve been doing this a long time. There are people we’ve turned down, and even items that we put on a 30-day hold in order to make contact with the task force to make sure they’re not from somebody’s home.”

Published on BestofLasVegas.com

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