One of our guilty pleasures lately has been watching the History Channel’s ‘Pawn Stars’. What amazes me is how desperate some of these people are for cash. I understand the premise behind a pawn shop, but there seem to be a lot of museum-quality treasures that are being sold by ‘bounty hunters’ for modest amounts of cash and five minutes on camera! If serious money is what these people are truly after, then I would think there are far more profitable paths than a small pawn shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop’s proprietor Rick Harrison is famous for pulling in experts to appraise the quality of some items that fall outside of his areas of expertise. Whenever he utters the words “I know a guy…” the seller should immediately assume that what they have is already worth more. The routine is predictable: Rick’s ‘expert’ guy comes in, looks the item over, tells him and the seller that the treasure is, in fact, an original and would easily fetch 25 million dollars at an auction. The expert leaves and the elated seller then proceeds to bargain with Rick.
‘What do you want to do? Pawn this or sell it?’
‘Uh, I’d like to sell it.’
‘How much do you want for it?’
‘Uh, ha ha ha. That’s not going to happen. That’s what I hope to sell it for. I’ll give you 100 thousand.’
‘How about 20 million?’
And the counter-offers start flying until Rick digs his heels in and delivers the line that calls the deal, “I’ll give you a firm 200 thousand.”
The camera focuses on the seller and you can just see it in his face that he knows it’s worth more and that there is no way he’ll get that value here. This is where I start yelling at the television telling the poor guy to take his treasure and sell it on eBay. He could even advertise that he was on TV and that his find was valued at $25 million. And that’s when he says, almost sheepishly, “well, it’s not the money I was hoping to get, but sure. I figure it’s better than nothing.” The handshake closes the deal while the world shakes its head in disbelief.
‘There’s a sucker born every minute’ the saying goes. If that’s true this show should be on for a very long time.