Let's make a deal: Hitting the pawn shops - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Let's make a deal: Hitting the pawn shops

Pawn shops sometimes get a bad wrap, but if you don't mind having someone else's stuff you can find everything from diamond rings to barely used guitars for cheap.

Welsh Pawn Shop General Manager David Epstein says the biggest attraction of pawn shops is the art of negotiation.

"People are going to expect a bargain and haggle, so we go along with it."

To anyone skeptical about the legitimacy of pawn shops, Epstein has an explanation on how the system works.

"We loan money on merchandise that we take in on collateral and we give people 60 days to come back for it. Everything gets reported to the police department overnight, and at the end of 60 days, if people don't come back, we put it up for sale to recoup our collateral."

So what can you find? Pretty much anything from guitars to electronics, jewelry, guns, diamonds and pearls.

Mike Gemble, a musical instrument collector, has shopped at pawn shops across the county for decades. He owns more than 20 instruments and believes most people would be surprised at the deals that can just fall into your lap.

"I bought a saxophone the other day and I just walked in the door and the guy wanted $250 for it, and I was prepared to buy it, and the guy said I'm sick and tired of seeing this thing sitting here. He said I'll sell it to you for 75 bucks."

Gemble also says if you want to shop the right way, you have to mean business.

"I do it different than most people. Most people pick it up and say, how much is this. I tell them what it's worth to me," Gemble said.

He says he simply enjoys pawn shops.

"I tell people it keeps me sober, you know. Keeps me married, keeps me sober, and that's probably the biggest advantage. You're not spending a whole lot of money, but there are deals to be made."

If you're still not sold on the idea of pawn shops, Epstein says you have nothing to lose.

"We're not the old guy with the cigar sitting in the back, it's a nice looking place. We call it the Pawn Mahal. Nothing to be scared of here."

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