The Misconceptions—and Truth—About Pawn Shops

The Misconceptions—and Truth—About Pawn Shops

When someone says “pawn shop,” what comes to mind?

Is it that TV show where the shady character goes to pawn stolen goods? Is it a dingy storefront crammed with useless items? Do you imagine that all pawn customers are down on their luck and one step away from the poorhouse?

Well, think again. Hollywood loves to stereotype our industry and sure, there may even be a few pawn shops that operate that way. But that is certainly not who we are at New Jersey’s largest and oldest pawnbroker jeweler, William S. Rich & Son.

Here are four misconceptions—and truths—about our industry.

Misconception #1. Pawn shops are dirty and dingy operations on the fringes of society.

Reality: We operate 12 storefronts in major metropolitan areas in North Jersey. Founded in 1890 and still a family-owned business, we consider our stores to be an integral part of the communities we serve. Our locations are clean and bright and our staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Pawn shops are a great option for people who need short-term loans in a hurry, fast check cashing services or an efficient way to send and receive bills.

Misconception #2. Pawn shops buy and sell junk.

Reality: You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between several of our locations and a high-end jewelry store. We hire GIA certified experts and we offer on-the-spot appraisals of your jewelry based on the current market value of gold, diamonds and gemstones. Because most of our jewelry is previously-owned and we do not have to pay for labor and other manufacturing costs, we can offer it at a significant discount. When gold jewelry is professionally polished and restored to its original form, you cannot tell that it was previously worn. We sell rings, earrings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, pendants and diamonds.

Misconception #3. Pawn shops deal in stolen goods.

Reality: ABSOLUTELY NOT. Aside from being illegal, accepting stolen goods would be a terrible business practice. If law enforcement were to find stolen goods at our stores, we would lose both the merchandise and the ability to resell it if the borrower failed to repay the loan. We keep detailed records of the items we buy and sell, along with the date and time and the seller’s name, address and description. We work closely and in cooperation with law enforcement.

Misconception #4. Pawn shops take advantage of customers.

Reality: We offer a safety net for people who need short-term loans without jeopardizing their credit. We offer professional appraisals and if you decide to pawn an item, we pay cash immediately and hold your jewelry in our vault until you return to repay your loan. Most pawn shops offer a three-month repayment period—we offer up to six months. At the end of the loan, you may repay the loan with interest, repay the interest only and renew the loan for up to another six months or pay nothing and Wm. S. Rich & Son will take ownership of your jewelry with no further obligation.

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