Pawn Shop Prices Are A Steal But The Stock Isn’t

, , , , | Legal Right | December 4, 2018

(Our particular location is in one of the poorest cities in the US, so we act as more of a pawn shop. Our store takes trades on iPads, iPhones, etc. On a pretty slow day, a young couple comes in:)

Male Customer: “Hey, I wanted to trade some of my stuff for cash. Y’all do that here?”

Me: *motioning toward the cases of used iPhones, iPads, and iPods behind me* “Yes, sir. What do you have for me today?”

Female Customer: “He got a bunch of phones.”

(The man puts a garbage bag on the counter and dumps it out, revealing what has to be about 25-30 phones. Some of them are flip-phones, a few are Apple products, and others seem to be low-end smartphones. We can only take Apple products, so I make two piles; one with iPhones, and the other phones in a separate pile.)

Me: *pointing to the six iPhones in a pile* “I can only trade these phones today, because we can only take Apple products, but check back with us in a month or so and we might be able to trade the others then. Also, I can only trade one phone per transaction. Were you trading these for store credit or for cash today? You’ll always get more store credit than cash.”

Male Customer: “Um…”

Female Customer: “He don’t play video games no more! And you mean you gotta ring each one, one-at-a-time?!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, but it’s store policy. I have to make a copy of the driver’s license or state ID of the person trading it each time for our records. So each phone has its own transaction.”

Male Customer: “You gotta have an ID to trade this s***?! That’s f****** stupid, man!”

Me: “Well, that’s actually state law, sir. Whenever you trade an item that can be insured, you have to show identification in case the property is reported stolen or missing. Phones can be insured. And our store policy states that if we trade anything for cash, an ID copy is required. Do you not have an ID?”

Male Customer: *to his girlfriend* “Babe, just use your ID. You know I can’t use mine.”

Female Customer: “H***, naw! I ain’t puttin’ my info in his system for your stolen-a** phones!”

Me: “Excuse me, did you just say these were stolen phones?”

(They both look at each other and back at me. In unison, they both say, “No, no, no. We bought them from my brother in New York, and they were stolen at one time, but the cases were dismissed.)

Me: “I can’t take these, then.”

Male Customer: “C’mon, man, don’t be a b****. Just ring ’em up; why’s it matter what they are?”

Me: “Because if they’re stolen then I’ve given you money for something that will be seized by the police when they come in this week to pick up our ID copies and serial numbers of the phones we traded. So [Store] would have paid…” *I look down at the phones and guess their total value* “…[total], for absolutely zero inventory. That’s why.”

Female Customer: “I told you, fool!”

Male Customer: *putting all of the phones back in his garbage bag* “Man, f*** this place! This is some bull-s***!”

(They then stormed out of the store and got in their car, of which I could see the license plate from the front windows. I wrote down the plate number and called the police, because I know how much it can suck to have your phone stolen. They were arrested at another location of the same company I worked for that same day, trying to trade in the same phones.)

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