Saturday, December 10, 2011

There Goes the Pawn Shop

Posted by Deirdre Oakley, ATLANTA, GA – According to a recent Wall Street Journal  article, pawn shops are THE place to shop this holiday season.  These establishments take us back to a different type of American city -- one where neighborhoods were truly mixed use.  Ms. Owen, a 65 year-old lady I met not longer ago showed me her old coin collection, one that she keeps in old Dippity Do jars. She had all sorts of valuable coins and I asked her where she got them. “Pawn shops,” she said. Although she isn't as happy about all the electronic stuff present-day pawn shop have, she still thinks they are places where you could find some really good deals. “Better than Walmart, and you never know what you’ll find!” Yet such places have been vilified by gentrifying-eager developers and residents. Indeed, one doesn’t have to look very far for factually inaccurate but alarmist media accounts about the perilous presence of the pawn shop. For example, here’s a particularly dramatic one entitled Hookers, Pawn Shops Threaten Brooklyn Gentrification. While there really isn’t much empirical evidence to support the perceived negative impacts of pawn shops, many are moving out of (or not moving into) gentrifying neighborhoods anyway. North Side Loan Office recently moved from Atlanta’s hot new Old Fourth Ward to the southwest side of the city, an area decimated by the 2008 housing bust and pervasive mortgage fraud. The rents are cheap there and space is abundant for any legitimate business. So, if you’re going to do some pawn shop holiday shopping this season, plan one going to the ‘other’ side of town. I’ll bet it’s worth the trip.

Deirdre Oakley is the Editor of Social Shutter and an Associate Professor in Sociology at Georgia State University. She can be reached at


  1. Loan company can be a great help to people needing financial assistance on emergency cases. It should be fair that guarantee low interest rate. They have similar terms to pawn shop.

    Jojo @ Pawn Shop Websites

  2. Shopping in a pawn shop this holiday season does sound like a good idea. I have found some awesome things in pawn shops, but have never thought to look for gifts. I guess I don't want to be the guy that gives used stuff for presents. But, I'm sure my kids wouldn't care if they got something awesome for Christmas, that was slightly used.