Bring me your assets

Aric Erickson

Photo By Tom Angel

Everything is for sale. Your microwave, boom box, power tools, saxophone, guitar cord, DVDs, binoculars, gun, jewelry, big scary knife and even bigger and scarier sword all have value. For less interest than you pay for cash advances on most credit cards, you can trade on the value of your belongings at you friendly neighborhood pawn shop. As the young manager of Broadway Pawn, downtown next to Jack in the Box, Aric Erickson has seen more than his share of valuable heirlooms and toys in his 10 years on the job.

What does a pawn shop do?

We use collateral as a loan base, so instead of like a bank that goes off your credit, we run on collateral.

How do you make money?

Pretty much off the interest on the loan. We get 17.5 percent when people come pick it up. Or we sell stuff that people don’t pick up. Generally we make more money on that. But the whole principle of pawning is to pick your stuff up.

What’s the most pawned item?

Jewelry. Gold and platinum jewelry. Seems like everyone has gold.

What’s the strangest thing anyone has tried to pawn?

One dude tried to pawn his Velcro wallet. “Dude, I need to get four bucks for some smokes!”

Do you ever get bummed out when someone has to pawn something with obvious emotional value?

Yeah, a little bit—you have to treat it like a business. You hope the person picks up their loan.

Do people ever misrepresent what they bring in?

Yep, all the time. “I bought this diamond ring and it’s expensive.” I test it and it’s fake. “I thought it was real!”

Anyone ever go nuts after losing something?

Everyone’s pretty good. [The loans] are for four months plus 10 days. We give 20 extra days on top of that—they come in thinking they already lost it, and it’s still here.

What’s the biggest misconception of the pawn industry?

People think that pawn shops are kind of dirty … they’re trying to rip you off.

Have you ever pawned something?

Yeah, I pawned a few things in Reno, pawned some gold chains for gambling money. Picked it up, too.

You won …

Like four or five hundred dollars.