Getting Their Guitar Strings Crossed

, , , , , , | Legal | December 6, 2019

My father told me this story from when he worked in a pawnshop in the 1980s.

The pawnshop specialises in musical instruments and equipment and is the largest second-hand dealer of those goods in the city. One day, a friend of Dad’s wants to pawn a 1970s Ibanez Les Paul-type guitar with a sunburst finish. It doesn’t have a serial number — not unusual for Ibanez at the time — but it has some identifying marks: belt buckle scratches on the back and a small Brazilian flag sticker on the back of the neck. The deal is made and his friend walks away with the money.

As the months go on, Dad’s friend doesn’t come back for the guitar, so Dad calls up and tells him that it will have to go to auction. It fails to meet the reserve price at auction, so Dad calls him up again and says it will go on the shop floor for sale but that if he wants it back he can come in and pay for it — at a discount — before it’s sold.

One day, a man walks in and sees the guitar on display. The man claims it is his and describes it to dad in detail — the scratches, the sticker — without touching it. Dad calls the police and a detective from the theft division is sent out. The guitar is taken as evidence and Dad’s friend is subsequently charged with dealing in stolen goods.

Some months later, another man walks in wanting to sell a guitar. It is a 1970s Ibanez Les Paul-type guitar with a sunburst finish, belt buckle wear on the back, a Brazilian flag sticker on the back of the headstock, and with the same case and accessories as the other guitar.

Dad stalls the second man and is able to convince him to get a coffee across the street while they do additional ID checks. Then, he calls the police and speaks to the detective, who confirms that the original guitar is still in evidence.

The detective comes to the shop with the original guitar. It is confirmed that there are two nearly identical guitars.

Then, the customer who claimed the original guitar was his walks in!

Dad suggests to the detective that the customer plays both guitars and tells them which is actually his. The customer confirms that the second guitar is his, because he had adjusted the string height to be lower than the other guitar.

The man trying to sell the second guitar is charged and Dad’s friend is cleared.

We’re not sure why the two guitars were identical, but we suspect that there was one owner who bought them new and sold them separately. This would explain the similar belt buckle scratches and the Brazilian flag stickers.

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On A Fool’s Gold Errand

, , , | Right | May 8, 2019

(I am working at a store that, among other services, provides either pawn loans on or cash for jewelry and precious metals. It’s a slow day when an old man comes in and drops something small in the tray. Customers often bring in broken pieces of gold, so this doesn’t seem strange to me.)

Customer: “Hi. I’d like to sell this gold.”

Me: “Sure, let’s have a look and see if we can get a valuation.”

(I pick up the small item without really thinking and take a look. Horror washes over me as I realise I’m not holding a solid piece of gold, but a human tooth with a gold filling in it. Keep in mind that I’m not wearing gloves. I slowly lower the tooth back into the tray toward the customer and try hard not to freak out.)

Me: “Umm… I’m sorry. We can’t accept that; it’s a health and safety issue.”

Customer: “What if I pry the gold out of the tooth? Can you take it then?”

Me: *extremely desperate to run to the back and wash my damn hands* “No, sorry. I know it’s been in there, so I couldn’t take it.”

Customer: “Fine! I’ll come back tomorrow and sell it to that other girl!”

Me: *fully intending to text the other employee and warn her, and just so super desperate for him to leave* “Okay, have a nice day.”

(He stormed out, and the second his foot stepped out of the store, I ran to the back and spent a good fifteen minutes scrubbing my d*** hands with scalding water.)

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Not Your Regular Pawn Shop

, , , , , , | Right | December 10, 2018

(I work in a small pawn shop. A regular comes in. He usually has unusual items he buys at garage sales to sell us. On this day he is slightly tipsy and empty-handed. My boss is working out in the back but can hear everything.)

Me: “Good afternoon, [Regular]. What can I do for you?”

Regular: “Um… Yeah, this is going to sound weird, but how much for me?”

Me: *in shock* “I’m sorry?”

Regular: “I’m broke until tomorrow, but I need more beer, smokes, and something to eat. How much will you give on a loan for me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, [Regular], but to pawn something, you need to leave the item here, so pawning yourself wouldn’t really help you.”

Regular: *with a sigh of defeat* “Oh, okay. Thanks, anyway.”

(He turns to leave but my boss stops him.)

Boss: “Hey, [Regular], in the twenty years I’ve owned the shop, that’s a first. I’ll personally loan you $50 just for having the balls to do it.”

(My boss — the owner — did lend him the money, and the regular was waiting for us to open the next morning to repay the loan. Over the next five years I worked there, he continued to sell us stuff. He would occasionally come in asking to pawn himself, and my boss always lent him the money.)

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Refunder Plunder

, , , , , | Right | September 27, 2018

(I work in a pawn shop. I’m working on the retail floor when a customer approaches the counter and presents a phone and a receipt, complaining that the phone doesn’t work, and asking for a refund.)

Me: “Oh. Where’s the battery casing?”

Customer: “It came that way.”

(This sets off alarms in my head, since I normally work as a buyer in my store, and I know I’d never accept a phone that had an exposed battery, even to sell for dirt cheap. I look up the item with the information on the receipt.)

Me: “Huh, my system’s saying this phone was already refunded on the same day it was bought.”

Customer: “What? No, it wasn’t! Can’t you just give me the refund?”

Me: “I can’t, man, because of what the system’s saying. I’ll have to have a chat with my manager.”

(I go to my manager with the phone and receipt, and he notices something I didn’t: the photo on the system from when the phone was purchased is slightly different from the phone I’m holding, and we confirm it’s definitely a different phone of the same make. I go back to the customer.)

Me: “Sorry, man, I can’t do the refund. See here? The model number is different, the serial number is different, and the photo we have in the system is different. That phone is actually on our shrinkage bay right now. If you bring me back the right receipt, I can give you a refund though.”

Customer: “Bulls***! Give me my refund! Why would I still have this receipt if it was refunded?”

Me: “We don’t need to keep the receipts, dude; we just need to see them to do the refund. But again, if you bring me the receipt for this phone, I can do the refund for you.”

Customer: “Bulls***! It’s the same phone! Give me my refund!”

(This pretty much repeats back and forth about six times. I’m honestly close to laughing at this point. It’s so painfully obvious from his reaction that he’s trying to scam us, but I’m not about to directly accuse him. I continue playing dumb and tell him that if he brings me the right receipt I totally can do the refund.)

Customer: “F*** you guys. Bunch of f****** thieves.”

(The customer stormed out, continuing to swear loudly. He also called us snitches, for some reason. No idea how that works.)

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For When Your Brain Just Goes Ker-Chunk

, , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(I work in a small retail store, in which we have a manual “sticker gun” that we use to create price labels for merchandise. You set the price, pull a trigger, and a price label comes out. Due to the noise it makes every time you pull the trigger, my coworker and I start calling it the “ker-chunker” and the labels in it are always referred to as “doo-hickeys.” We always know exactly what we mean when one of us says to the other “hand me the ker-chunker,” but we get weird looks from customers, which is expected. My coworker calls the supply company to order more labels. She gets on the phone with the supply rep, and completely freezes.)

Coworker: “I need… some doo-hickeys. For my ker-chunker.”

Rep: *without missing a beat* “Oh. Labels for your price gun? What size?”

Coworker: *amazed* “How on earth did you do that?!”

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