South Georgians pawn for Christmas cash - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians pawn for Christmas cash

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –Another sign that the South Georgia economy is still struggling, pawn shops say they are seeing a lot of customers who need cash to buy Christmas presents.

They're pawning or selling items to get the money to buy gifts.

A lot of people say pawn shops are accurate economic indicators. South Georgia pawn shop owners say right before Christmas is usually a slow time for people wanting to pawn something.  But this year these last two weeks before Christmas have been especially busy. South Georgians needing money to buy the Christmas gifts they want to buy.

With Christmas just days away, Dawson Road Jewelry and Pawn has seen just as many sellers or pawners as buyers recently.

Owner Jason Sheffield said "When it comes down to short term loans, this is one of the best places to come because within ten minutes you can be in and out. It's just a real short term way to get some money."

And Sheffield says that's what people pawning items are telling him. They need some cash for Christmas.   Sheffield said "They are not able to save money, or they are not getting the bonuses they were expecting to get, so they have to do the next best thing. Which is let go of some merchandise."

Mostly electronics like TV's or game systems or jewelry. But they are also seeing lots of different things being pawned.  From power fish scalers, to arcade machines, motorcycles and golf carts.

Sheffield said "When people don't have checking accounts, when people don't have access to good credit, they've got to turn to the pawn shops to get some extra money, when they don't have anywhere else to get it from."

Sheffield said because of the amount of merchandise being brought to them, they can be much more selective about what they buy. They are now taking only upper name brand items of electronics and tools, making sure it's something that will sell.

Some people call pawn shops the poor man's bank, but Sheffield says they are seeing lots of people, from all economic and social circles, pawning or selling items for more Christmas cash.

Sheffield believes most people pawning items will come back and pay off their loan to reclaim them.

He says many customers are looking for cash until they get their tax refunds.

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