Morehead State University – Morehead Kentucky
Written by Carlo Angerer – Editor
Tuesday, 27 October 2009 21:54
On a recent afternoon, Daniel Dillon brought a toolbox and a level to Caskey’s Pawn Shop. The $25 cash he got in return will help him pay for gas and cigarettes, he says. Dillon has been out of a job since January. He gets some work in construction here and there, but nothing steady.
“Works pretty slow,” he says. “But I’ll get through it.”
Dillon hopes to pick up his belongings at the pawnshop in a couple of weeks; one of his former employers still owes him $3000.
Dillon says he has some job offers lined up in Tennessee, hopes to move there soon with his fiancé. For now, the pawnshop can help out.
“It’s easier than a credit card,” he says.
Sonny Caskey owns the pawnshop off U.S. highway 60, a large blinking sign promising “cash for gold” stands on the parking lot.
Caskey says he has seen an increase in business since the economy turned sour last year.
“It’s probably increased 15 to 20 percent,” he says. “We’ve got quite a few new costumers.”
Most people bring in jewelry, which is one of the products easiest to pawn, and receive between $20 and $1000. When they want their belongings back, they’ll have to pay the money back plus interest and other fees.
Others bring in guns.
“But that’s harder to do because of the background checks,” Caskey says.
He’s been in this business since the 1960s, but says the recent economic downturn has not affected people’s spending.
“I know pawns have increased, but people are still picking stuff up,” he says.
Anthony Kimmet picks up his gun today. The retiree needs the hunting rifle in the next few weeks; it’s deer season and he hopes to shoot some wild turkey – he recommends it deep-fried.
When he dropped it off about a month ago to get some cash for a trip, he got $100. He pays $120 back.
“It’s a pretty good deal,” he says. “I don’t do credit cards; I don’t trust them, they got all those fine prints.”
He rather trusts Sonny Caskey.
But not all costumers pay their loans back. Unlike other lenders, pawnbrokers like Caskey do not report the defaulted loan to credit agencies. The pawned items land on the shelves and costumers like Edgre Hamm buy it.
A concrete truck driver, Hamm says he stops at the Pawn Shop every few days and often picks up some things, often much cheaper than at other stores, and even though often used, sometimes in new condition. Hamm recently picked up a tool kit for $70; in a hardware store he would have spent over $300.
“I buy it, sell it, trade it,” he says.
On the shelf behind him are hundreds of DVDs, $4 or three for $10. At the other end of the store music instruments are on offer: $65 for a guitar, $7.95 for a banjo. Great offers for some, priceless opportunities to survive another week during a recession, of which Caskey says he has not seen any improvement yet. But then again, at the pawnshop, he says “we are the last ones to know.”