Pawn Stars revisited (Dec 2012)

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The Pawn Stars shop is nestled in the middle of a rather seedy area, across the street from a particularly seedy nudie bar and bail bond office.  There was a substantial line in front to get in, cordoned off like a movie premier. It’s said that this line is present all day, and the shop is not open 24 hours as advertised on the neon sign. It closes from 9 pm till 9 am, but there is a window open for late night customers.  There is an armed guard at the door.

Once inside, the floor plan is nothing like what’s seen on the TV show.  The room is very narrow and cordoned so the foot traffic proceeds along the sides forming a circular circuit ending at the exit. Much of the stuff seen on the TV show is there in glasses cases. There are a lot of sales people in black and gold “Pawn Stars” shirts, but Rick, Chumlee and the Old Man were not present. The entire of the center floor contains Pawn Stars memorabilia, t-shirts, sweaters, coffee mugs, EVERYTHING, even lip balm adorned with the photos of the particulars, especially Chumlee.

They film all day long in a separate room built for the program. Would-be customers are pre-screened for interesting items and it’s all staged from A to Z. The expert consultants know all about the items before they enter the door. It’s rumored that those selected to show their items are paid, and the expert consultants definitely are.  There is some chatter on the guitar sites that one of the episodes involving a famous instrument was not only staged but faked. A guy brought in what was said to an original 1960 Les Paul Custom worth a lot of money. The guitar and all the personnel involved, including the customer, were employees of a local music store.

If you watch Pawn Stars for a while, it’s noticeable that Rick definitely low balls most if not all of their items, sometimes considerably compared to what the same item might go for on EBay or Craig’s List. They also jack the prices of their sale items up equally considerably. I know a bit about vintage guitars, rock music memorabilia and even vintage wristwatches and I checked out some of it.

It’s my opinion that Rick jacks up the sale price anywhere from 50% to 100% from what these items can be had for elsewhere. Customers are paying for the “Pawn Stars” container like they pay for Rolex on a watch.  As an example, you may have seen the show where Rick purchased a vintage “Pepsi-Cola” machine in fair condition for US$3500.  He then had Rick the restoration guy refurbish it for US$4800.  Total Rick has into it = $8300.  It’s sitting in the corner for US$15,000. Pretty nifty profit.

My impression: It’s a big downer like finding out that Greg House is a highly paid actor that knows nothing about medicine.

Speaking of real life, check out the Death Valley ride at:

http://youtu.be/CVVydrfOLbQ

Phenomenal.

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