It's A Bright Christmas At The Pawn Shop

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Haven't finished your shopping yet, but you don't have much cash? "Try a pawn shop," says Chris Upton, vice president of operations of the Money Mart Pawn chain of resale shops. "We've got a lot of people coming in looking for bargains; I guess that's spurred on by tough times."

Besides everything being cheaper than buying new, Upton tells Hair Balls you'll find the unexpected at pawn shops.

He reports that recently Money Mart Pawn stores have sold a 1964 G.I. Joe action figure, a five foot tall suit of armor, and a singing Elvis Presley head (we're guessing he meant a singing replica of Elvis Presley's head). Upton's also seen a chandelier and a Scooby Doo telephone, and 10-point mounted deer head (what's with the heads at Money Mart?). They also regularly stock paintings and appliances. "A lot of people might not think of getting a washer and dryer for Christmas, but we've got them if they want them.," he says.

If you're thinking about buying something shinny, Upton says you'll plenty to choose from. "Jewelry is probably half of our business. We get from the very inexpensive rings to the estate pieces, so there's a wide choice - and price range." (Hair Balls suggests that you check the inside of rings for inscriptions, you don't want you sweetie going around with Love, Sancho written on the inside of her wedding band. Unless your name is Sancho, of course.)

If you need one more reason to shop pawn, remember that recycling is good for the environment. "Each item that you buy from us means that a new item doesn't have to be produced," he happily tells Hair Balls.

Finally, Upton says go ahead and haggle over prices when you're making your pawn shop purchases. It's not only polite, it's expected.

-- Olivia Flores Alvarez

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