Simple Ways Pawnshops Shape America


Skye Parker


July 26, 2023

The American Dream

America has often been referred to as “The land of opportunity” and it's no secret that most of us in the United States are pursuing some version of our own little “American dream.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines the American dream as “the ideal that every citizen of the United States should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative.” Though we all are striving to reach our goals and live out the true american dream, with this opportunity and freedom, we’re all faced with our own set of unique circumstances. Some are more privileged than others. We would argue that pawn shops actually play a huge role in shaping America. Pawn shops support the backbone of America and what the American dream stands for and we’ll explain why.

The Stigma Surrounding Pawn Shops and Pawn Loans

There’s this negative assertion that taints the use of a pawn shop, and the reason behind it is understandable. Pawn shops can initially seem a bit harsh. They don’t like to offer large sums of money, and you’re taken at face value for whatever item it is you’re presenting. Once you’ve received your pawn loan, the loan is typically short term, expected to be paid within approximately 30-90 days. That’s not so bad, what really gets people’s gears turning is the high interest rates that generally range from 5% to 25%. When you fail to pay your loan, then you relinquish ownership of your item by default. When people come into a pawn shop it’s usually in someone's time of need when they haven’t got many other options. Taking that cash to make ends meet during a time of struggle and losing your belongings after the fact can leave some people with a level of disdain. Having explained the negative connotation associated with pawn shops, let's move into the simple ways that pawn shops shape America. 

Simple Ways Pawn Shops are Shaping America

Pawn shops are one of the fastest forms of trade, taking virtually any item and exchanging it for cash value. They also happen to be one of the oldest professions in the world! However, even in today’s world (likely due to varying economic classes in America) there are many  people who have never even stepped foot inside of a pawn shop. The need for a pawn shop can arise in different ways, some are just looking to sell their unused valuables, planning for a vacation and find you need $500.00 more dollars, or taking care of an emergency expense, while others are pawning to survive paycheck to paycheck. While there’s a wide range of customers, and items involved in pawning, so many would suffer if pawn shops went out of business or ceased to exist.

Bank Loan Alternatives

Bank loans are an option for some, but not all. They do put limits on who can get a bank loan, and for how much. Those that don’t qualify for the traditional bank loan will have to find some other option or submit to poverty (and nobody wants that.) Pawnshops are often sought out for this reason, they serve as a fantastic alternative to bank loans and even payday loans. With a payday loan, you have so much more to lose than just something you own. When you don't pay back a payday loan, you’re subject to a life cycle of debt unless you’re lucky enough to somehow free yourself. For those who are already in a tough spot financially, it’s often not a risk worth taking. Pawn loans give you the opportunity to get on your feet, while still returning at a later date to reclaim your item, no long term debt involved.

Among other perks, pawn shops will take almost anything from just about anyone. Even if you’ve hit rock bottom, you can take comfort in knowing pawn broker’s won’t damage your credit, we won't prevent you from owning a house later on in life, and we won't garnish your wages if your loan payments go unfulfilled. Unlike the other debt-incurring options that kick you when you're down, the worst that can happen is you lose your item that was placed as collateral on the loan. We take pride in being a help and support to Americans in need. We want you to succeed and don’t benefit any differently if you decide to forfeit your item, or return to collect it.

Discounts and Great Deals

American’s are always on the hunt for good deals. Afterall who doesn’t want to save a few bucks to put toward that white picket fence you’ll have once you’re living the life you always dreamed of? Pawn shops buy and sell items from average people every day, and since there’s such a large variety you can bet we’ve got nearly one of everything. From guns and ammunition, to guitars and even cars! There’s always the possibility of finding great deals and rare finds that you couldn’t get anywhere else. Typically at a fraction of the price compared to what you’d pay walking out of one of the big box stores. Saving money on things you’d have purchased anyway is a great way to build your savings and prevent yourself from going into debt to begin with. 

Pawn Brokers are Americans too

Despite some of the backlash, we don’t aim to undervalue peoples items or create unfair conditions during a sale. We do however have overhead costs to consider, the price to house our merchandise isn't always cheap. Paying our employees good wages supports Americans working a regular 9-5. High interest rates are one of the reasons listed as a caution against pawn loans. The reason pawn loan interest rates seem high is due to the nature of a pawn loan, typically very short in duration. These interest rates cover the expense it takes to store inventory (your item) while we await your return. Owning a small business is rooted into the American dream, and in order to keep pawn shops open and functioning to support others, we have to stay profitable.

The Bottom Line is Convenience

American culture is constantly evolving to be more convenient, food faster than you can make it at home, simply drive up to a window, instant messaging and the answers to any of your questions at the push of a button. One reason pawn shops remain such a strong pillar in the American lifestyle is due to the fact that you can walk in with your item, and walk out with cash in a matter of hours. Bank loans and selling online using sites like Ebay are not so instantationus. Even selling things in local market places takes time to draw interest, find a buyer, and meet up for the exchange. You never know if it will be a few days or a few months before your item sells. Part of supporting the American dream for us is making the process as rewarding and convenient as possible. Afterall when you’re in a pinch it’s often pretty time sensitive. 


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