Thursday, January 11, 2007

Who needs Craigslist when you've got pawn shops?

Have you ever tried to sell anything on Craigslist? Its a really frustrating experience. You're emailing back and forth with people, and they're trying to bargain you down on a price, and then when you agree on a price, you have to arrange a mutually agreeable time for pickup, and then you just have to hope that they show up. I just don't have time for that. I've posted things on Craigslist twice: some moving boxes that we were giving away for free (FREE!) and a grill that we ended up not selling but which ended up getting stolen (STOLEN!) later. That's why when we got a new TV (in preparation for the Wii) recently, I wasn't sure what to do with my old one. Craigslist was out. I decided to pay a visit to my local pawn shop.

I visited my first pawn shop as a seller when I was about 18 years old. Several years before, when walking my dog, I had found a diamond ring in the street, laying amongst the leaves. The diamond itself was about the size of a fork tine, and I'm pretty sure it was 10k gold. I held on to it, taking it to the flea market once to see if it was real. It was, and I got offered $25 for it on the spot, which I refused. I took it later to a pawn shop, and ended up getting more than that, though not much more.

I pass a pawn shop pretty much every time I go to the grocery store. It has always surprised me to see it there, since its right in the middle of Georgetown. I had never had the occassion to go inside, so I was curious as to what kind of merchandise they had. I hauled my TV inside, and told the affable young man that I would like to sell my television. "How much are you hoping to get for it?" he asked. "Oh, around $50," I said. Which was a total joke. My off-brand TV was pretty much as ghetto as they come. It didn't even have those audio/video/stereo plug-ins, but it was cable-ready. Luckily, he found the joke funny, or maybe not so funny. "I'll give you $20," he said. With my awesome bargaining skills, I was able to get $25. Actually, I thought that was pretty good. Cuz, yeah, ghetto TV.

The good thing about pawn shops is that you don't really get seller's remorse. If I really want it back, I can go back in a few weeks and give them $27 to get it out of pawn. Or, if I'm really desperate in a few months, I'm sure it will be for sale for the low, low price of $40.

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