GARDEN CITY (WWJ) – Doing your holiday shopping at the pawn shop?  WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports that’s not so odd anymore.

Tom Blaine owns the Garden City Exchange and says his business though October is already up 49 percent over December of last year.  The bad economy means he’s getting people selling new and high-end electronics like iPads and he says the popularity of reality shows mean people aren’t as embarrassed to shop there.

(WWJ Photo/Sandra McNeil)

“Sometimes I’m sure they are.  They might want to try and make it look as new as possible,” said Blaine. “But, you know, times are tough. People don’t mind as much.  They’re looking for a deal more than anything.”

Shopper Jason Miller has no problem buying gifts there.

“Yeah, it’s a good place to shop. You know, you get a good deal on everything,” he said. “My daughter plays video games and everything for like the (Nintendo) Wii. So, if I found some good deals on Wii games I’d come up here and pick ’em up.”

Brian Lesher says it’s better than the mall.

“They’re selling, you know, mass-produced stuff. You know, where you can find more unique stuff here at pawn shops,” said Lesher.

Lesher said he once bought a girlfriend a diamond ring at the pawn shop. And, no, he didn’t tell her where it came from.

“It’s the thought that counts, right? If it looks good, I mean, you shouldn’t ask questions like that,” he added, with a laugh.

Blaine said he does provide brand new boxes with jewelry purchases.

Comments (76)
  1. Desert Eagle says:

    When I got laid-off I checked out my local pawn shops and didn’t see any deals. It’s the same stuff you’d find on Craigslist with a 20-50% mark-up.

    1. America Only For Some says:

      The Pawn Shop is the place you go to get your own stuff back.

      1. Gibbs Bentley says:

        It’s the new OmeriKa, and you’d better like it or you will be put on a list.

      2. Z22 says:

        With the current Economy, people have to look at ways to save money

  2. Ed says:

    Keep this in mind: My house was recently burglarized and all of my wife’s jewelry was stolen. The detectives told us that the first place they begin their investigation is at the local pawn shops. In this economy people are becoming desperate and many are resorting to crime. They look for cash and any items that can be pawned for cash. So in some cases you are getting deals on items that were stolen from someone.

    1. Joe says:

      Sorry about your burglary, though I sort of like this model – big insurance companies are subsidizing my purchases. Nice to be on the receiving end of a corporate handout for once, I’ll need to hit my local pawn shop!

      1. Yirmin Snipe says:

        You need to consider what you think is a handout…. The insurance companies aren’t subsidizing your purchase. The insurance companies just raise their premiums to everyone that has to buy insurance, your insurance premiums go up… the stores premiums go up (so they raise prices), if you live in an apartment the apartment’s owners see their premiums go up (so they raise rent).

        There is no free ride to be had in burglary, unless you are the thief and then it is only as long as your not caught.

      2. Ed says:

        Joe – you sound like an occupy wallstreeter. The insurance company is simply going to pass down their loss to me and other insurance payers in the form of an increased premium. I really don’t think that you want to gain at the expense of other innocent citizens, do you? Merry Christmas.

      3. JRHowosso says:

        And where do they get the money????, from people paying premiums. So it is really your neighbor subsidizing your DEALS!

    2. woodsgirl says:

      They have to hold all merchandise purchased for a length of time, depending on the state. If you are robbed,. take pictures of your stuff to pawn shops yourself. II did and I got some of it back.

  3. Bryan says:

    2 years ago my golf clubs were stolen and I found them at a pawn shop. I called the police and then I was standing by the counter as the police called the owner to ask about the clubs. The owner denied that I could have identified my clubs because they were in a back room; I couldn’t believe he said this with me standing a few feet away with the door to the back room open and me looking right at them!

    1. Mark says:

      I had a similar incident involving a reel to reel multi track recorder except that I had the box for the thing in the trunk of my car, with the serial number on it.
      The pawn shop owner ate his words once I produced the box in front of the police officer.
      It was in an adjacent county and my local police couldn’t have cared less.
      It was only when I notified the police in that county that they cared enough to show up.
      In the end I got my rig back, but the fact remains that the cops usually don’t care about property crime and pawn shops make a business out of buying and selling stolen stuff.
      In Obama’s world of hope and change, people are getting more desperate than ever, so get an alarm system, buy a gun, learn how to use it and protect you and yours.

      1. davec says:

        “a gun” isnt sufficient… one for each family member is more like it.

        That also sends a “message” to O’Marxist…


      2. Happydots says:

        @davec it’s not the number of Guns you have, but the quantity of ammo. You can have one hundred guns but if you have no ammo, they’re all useless except as batons.

    2. Roman says:

      MistyXoXo Posted on Thanks for the post, Clarice. My doctor first stseecupd that I might have arthritis, but the hand x-rays came back normal and that’s when he considered Lupus. I hope you get through the winter without too much pain!

  4. Yirmin Snipe says:

    You don’t get deals at pawn shops. They charge way more than the stuff is worth and you can find the same things on Craigslist for a fraction of the price. The pawn shops only prey on two types of people… idiots dumb enough to sell them stuff for a 1/12 the items value… and idiots dumb enough to pay them twice what the item is actually worth.

    1. Joe says:

      Sometimes paying 2x Craigslist (and still way under retail) is worth it. At least I don’t need to talk to weird, creepy people and then go to their dard, dank houses where there are 10 kids running around, 6 cats rubbing against you and strangers staring at you while you paw at through their recently deceased grandmother’s cherished possessions deciding whether or not they’re worth $50.

      1. Yirmin Snipe says:

        Yes, you can avoid some of the creep factor… though at some pawn shops you still have the creep factor of the owner and areas that pawn shops are often found in.

        In the future when dealing with Craigslist, it is always best to have them meet you at a neutral and public place. Difficult with furniture but very easy and much safer for any other smaller items… and when an electric outlet is required a public library is a good choice to meet and inspect.

  5. karla1953 says:

    I think it depends on the items and the location of the pawn shops(city wise that is)I have always shopped at pawn shops though depending on the items….Got alot of stereo stuff and huge speakers when my daughter was younger and jewelry from time to time. It is a matter of knowing the worth of things to begin with…..of course I might add this was also long before Craigs list and eBay and some other entities…..

  6. ewem says:

    I bought a great laptop at Rudy’s in Wyandotte recently. At one mall store, they wanted $80 to create restore and repair discs, without telling me most pc’s have the function built in to create the discs. At Rudy’s they showed me how to make the discs, and took the time to explain all the ports and functions. I could have bought a lame pc on Black Friday for the price I got a gamer quality pc at the pawn shop. There are pawn shops in good neighborhoods now Times are tough for buyer and seller. It has gotten to the point if you are going to meet a seller, he may want to meet you to rob you. I would rather buy from a pawn shop. Clean, friendly and I didn’t have to meet the seller. Friends tell me the pawnshops by the casinos have the best stuff. Possibly true. If you bet your mortgage at the casino, might as well pawnl the tv and try to save the home. The stuff is going to be sold.

  7. KickOutTheKenyanMuslim2012 says:

    Obama’s Hope & Change Depression…

  8. Old Fogey says:

    The worst thing about shopping in a pawn shop is you can’t buy a complete chess set there….

    1. Scott K. Smith says:

      That was REALLLY bad ………………………………… :))

      1. davec says:


  9. Rev. Jeremiah Wright says:

    The Obama Depression chickens are comin’ home — to roooossssst…

  10. Douglas Hale Mcc Cis says:

    The profits stay in country, so I say go for it.

  11. RS says:

    In the old days, at Christmas you could sell your hair to get a watch fob at a pawn shop. Or pawn your watch to get a jeweled hair comb.

    1. Bek's mom says:

      My daughter’s English class is discussing this story right now. Sweet story.

  12. PUDDYFUDGE says:

    I will NOT vote for Obama in 2012. I will not vote AT ALL!

    1. Wesley Harris says:

      What does this have to do with the article?
      Pawnshops are a useful way to find attractive quality goods, if you
      like bargain hunting.

    2. Olden Atwoody says:

      ” I will not vote AT ALL!”

      Well, that’s pretty stupid. Not voting is a vote for Obama, you moron.

    3. Kingfish says:

      Spoken like a disenchanted democrat, not voting is voting for Obummer.

      1. Ramiro says:

        I have been having eurglar facial treatments (ultradermie) here for several years and I wouldnt be without them! An hour of pampering with dim lights and gentle music is sheer bliss, and the results are certainly noticeable even as I approach my 60th year, my complexion is the best it’s ever been and receives eurglar compliments. The convenience of parking right outside is an added bonus and, when time permits, the peaceful walk along the canal takes only 20 minutes.

  13. AtlasObjectivist says:

    Welcome to Obama world. You reap what you …. vote.

  14. JohnRalph says:

    Mein Führer Obama’s Ramadan, Kwanzaa Christmas, Happy Holidays!!

  15. Tyrell McPimpscoon says:

    a pawn shop???…in DETROIT?????…the owner must have a death wish

    1. JTK01 says:

      The pawn shop is not in the city of Detroit but in the suburb of Garden City. But you could be right since not much is left in the city neighborhoods.

  16. Steve says:

    I got a ring with a much bigger stone for the same amount of money I would have paid for at the mall for a ring with a smaller stone. Once my girlfriend wears the new ring it would be used anyway, so why not get the one with the bigger stone instead?
    As long as you know what you are looking for you should try to check Pawn Shops first for Jewelry. Bring a Jewelers loop and check the quality of the stone, you don’t have to be an expert to see if a stone is good or not, just look for black spots and inclusions (cracks or feathering in the stone) if there aren’t any or very few you got a good deal.

  17. burt says:

    I would buy gifts at a pawn shop. My friends are worth more than that.

  18. flfshrmn says:

    Nothing shows the love or symbolizes that Christmas spirit like taking the kids on a holiday shopping trip to the Hock Shop. Do they have a drunk santa for pictures at least?

  19. Ruthless Toothless says:

    Pawn shops are a rip off. You can buy new stuff from Harbor Freight for the same price that they sell used stuff. Waste of time try Ebay, Craigslist, Harbor Freight. Or go to a regular store like Sears or Meijers and just pay the 10% greater price for something new, get warranty protection and a well-lit, clean and NOT-seedy shopping experience.

    1. bob says:

      Harbor Freight???? As long as you don’t expect your purchase to function, Harbor Freight is an awesome place to shop. It’s like the landfill, only with un-used garbage instead!

      1. jstain says:

        LOL, Amen to that.

  20. Sirjohnnyrotten says:

    Detroit , run into the ground by democrats. This will happen to the whole country if we keep electing democrats.

    1. Waldemar says:

      I love reading this.It pops up on my Facebook oalosianclcy and it just makes my day to see what the Wingo family is learning, doing, living. Love your random posts.Hope you’re doing well. I miss all you guys!Alyssa

  21. Nomotown says:

    Santa’s Defeated Crackhead Village aka Detroit.

  22. Barry Levy says:

    was in Vegas and went to Pawn Shop that is the one in the TV series.

    Very interesting, but so different from the shows.

    Interesting to see items that were on the show for sale,, and prices far greater than what they paid the person. But that is business. If you don’t like what they are willing to pay, do the homework and go out and sell the item yourself. Time is money.

  23. Muslim in Chief says:

    How’s Hopey Changey working out for you?

    1. davec says:

      its worked a lot of people out- out of jobs, out of homes on the street, out of clothes, food, savings, pensions

      Yep, its working out.

  24. Joseph L Cooke says:

    Holiday shopping? Oh, how PC. Man up and use the word, Christmas.

  25. Jim says:

    Its Christmas yoy PC moron journalist!

  26. Karl Magnus says:

    That’s what pawn shops are best suited for selling, however, there is at least one pawn shop on the border of Detroit and the ‘burbs that advertises on TV. So, the “urbanites” raid the suburbs and stop off at this place on their way home to sell their stolen goods, mostly jewelry. You’d think that the cops would have wised up decades ago when “white flight” left only the criminal element in Detroit. But Nope.

  27. etee says:

    Old Terminology – “Pawn Shops”
    New Terminology – Obamanation Emporiums… Where your wealth is being “re-distributed” by your local neighborhood “Community Organizers”.

  28. Razzy says:

    Tyrell McPimpscoon

    a pawn shop???…in DETROIT?????…the owner must have a death wish

    The store is in Garden City( per the sign on the store), not Icktroit, it’s a very nice, friendly store. I pawned my wedding ring there.

  29. JT says:

    Pawn shops have a dirty feeling about them. The same usually goes for the people who run them. The ‘Pawn Stars’ cable show is the same way. This article is probably either a response to the interest generated by that show, or the same people who own CBS, also own that show, and are thus promoting it.

  30. davec says:

    Pawn shops are a sort of “lender of last resort” at least they arent out to STEAL from people like the payday loan thieves who need to be run out of business.

    Its sad when theres a level of botom feeders that make credit card companies look good.

    Agreed – “pawn shops, the new reality in the Obama economy.”

    Wife tells me she recalls a story about the economic dump being preceeded by a sharp increase in pawn shop sales. Would be an interesting side story if so.

  31. Jim says:

    I know an alcoholic painter who lives in his car who pawns his compressor between jobs. He has no place to store it, so, for $30 he stores it at the pawnshop for months at a time.

    Pretty clever.

  32. sablegsd says:

    Hubs and I like to watch Hardcore Pawn.

  33. keith says:

    yes sometimes very rude people run pawn shop especially at 6 mile and Winston shopped there once, tried to haggle as one should do with used stuff and the person working behind counter said things about my wife, I would never repeat, first and last time to go his his shop.

  34. Shri says:

    I can’t find the answer, but I’ll note my utotghhs.Both the mints (currently four) and the Bureau of Printing Engraving come under the Treasury Department, so I assume the Treasury Secretary is the one who actually decides who is on each coin or bill. I don’t think the Congress has to sign off, although they certainly could pass a law to do so. The president could tell the Secretary where to go.The Sacagawea gold dollar may be atypical, but I think it’s the wave of the future: The Historic Design Selection ProcessNever in the history of the United States had the public played such a unique role in picking a design concept for a circulating coin. The Golden Dollar’s journey was as unique as the journey of discovery it commemorates.Dollar Coin Design Advisory Committee AppointedThe Dollar Coin Design Advisory Committee (DCDAC) included a member of Congress, a university president, the president of the American Numismatic Society, the under secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, a sculptor, and an architect. United States Mint Director Philip N. Diehl chaired the committee in a non-voting capacity.In June 1998, the DCDAC convened in Philadelphia. It deliberated about the design concept in a public session. Outside input factored heavily into the Committee’s decisions. The Committee listened to 17 design concept presentations from members of the public, as well as to numerous mail, phone, and e-mail messages submitted by the public.On June 9, 1998, the committee recommended that the dollar coin bear the image of Sacagawea, the Native American woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their exploration of the American West.The Public Reviews the DesignsThe artists received few guidelines but were told to be sensitive to cultural authenticity in creating an image of Sacagawea. They were also requested to create reverse eagle designs reflecting peace and freedom. After receiving designs from 23 invited artists, the United States Mint again turned to the public for input on the final choice.In November and December of 1998, the United States Mint invited representatives of the Native American community, numismatists, artists, educators, historians, members of Congress, United States Mint and Treasury officers and employees, and other members of the public to review and comment on all designs received. Using these comments as a guide, the United States Mint narrowed the field to six obverse and seven reverse designs.Design Field Narrowed to SevenThe United States Mint tapped into the power of the Internet. It published the design finalists on its web site and received a never-imagined response: Over 120,000 emails and 2,000 letters and faxes.In addition, the United States Mint shared the designs with Native American tribal leaders and other representatives, and with members of Congress. The United States Mint also conducted focus groups with representatives of the public and the numismatic community. In addition, historians advised the United States Mint on the historical merits of each finalist design.Using feedback and information gathered from these sources, the United States Mint narrowed the field further to seven final designs, three obverse and four reverse, before submission to the Commission of Fine Arts on December 17, 1998.Choosing the Final DesignThe seven final designs were forwarded to the Commission of Fine Arts, which provided its recommendation to the United States Mint. After much review of all the input received to date, the United States Mint presented the final designs to the Secretary of the Treasury. On May 4, 1999, the United States Mint unveiled the selected design at the White House.So the answer seems to be: The Secretary of the Treasury. I suspect the same answer goes for paper money. Don’t forget that we also have the $1 silver Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, the $2 Jefferson bill, and bills of $500, $1000, $5000, and $10,000.

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