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Post Info TOPIC: Pawnshops struggle with negative labels, battle image of eBay

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Pawnshops struggle with negative labels, battle image of eBay

Pawnshops struggle with negative labels, battle image of eBay

Marisa Gwidt

Posted: September 28, 2011 - 10:27 PM


Despite the fact that Paul Maripadavil has never set foot in a pawnshop, he has some words of caution for those who might.

"Pawnshops are usually shady places where crack-heads go," said the senior in LAS. "Ebays generally safer."

Workers at the pawnshops near campus are viewed through the image of the "old-school pawnshops" - unregulated, dirty stores shelved with stolen, inoperative products.

Kevin Johnson, owner of The Pawn Stop in Champaign, is sick of it.
"Everyone has a terrible view of pawnshops from the movies," he said, "but what do students have to lose?"

Johnson, who opened his store a little more than a year ago, takes pride in keeping it neat and tidy. His secondhand TVs, PS3s and CDs are all stowed categorically along his shelves. His state license to pawn is carefully hung at eye-level near the main entrance. Even his cans of Pepsi are precisely divided from his colleague's Cokes in the office mini-fridge.

Although the only guarantee he offers is that he has personally tested all his products, he said his customers are satisfied. He even lost a sale once when an elderly woman brought a glitchy laptop in to pawn and he fixed it for her instead of buying it dirt-cheap.

What Johnson and other pawnshop dealers wish people understood is that Illinois pawnshops are some of the most tightly regulated businesses. They have security cameras, require customer photo IDs and submit a daily police report of all items pawned.

"Less than one percent of the items we receive end up to be stolen," Johnson said. "Thats a nationwide statistic."


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Exposing the sleazery of ebaY and PayPal


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