The usa, as well as most of the industrialized world, has endured the lengthiest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The cause of this recession are still being debated, as well as the possible remedies, with no conclusive or unifying opinion. Regardless of the numerous specialist opinions that have been offered, there is fundamental agreement that the midsection class has been extremely hard hit by these economic problems. This has resulted in fundamental changes in a group that has been the commun “backbone” of American society and is known for playing by the principles and working hard to build a better future for the next generation.
The key of working at a manufacturing assembly job for 20-30 years and then retiring with a pension is largely a thing of the past. Fewer privately owned employers are offering benefits such as health insurance and the “trump card” of rising home values has largely vanished. Long stretches of unemployment, vanishing retirement savings and the devastating regarding major illness while being uninsured have also devastated several middle class families. All of these factors combined have had an extraordinary and long lasting impact to principles that middle school have held dear for generations.
While these bedrock principles of middle class America have been under huge assault, the ability and/or desire of the banks to loan money to this hard working group of people has also ground into a halt. In the opinion of many former borrowers, their financial institutions seem quite content to invest in large corporate entities, change huge quantities of money for short term profits and simply will no longer view the middle class as anything other than a possible bank checking account with the associated fees and surcharges. Because of this a particular bitterness has been fomented amongst those who have been displaced from the former economic norm and alternative methods of financing have risen inside popularity.
It is due to these circumstances, and many others, that the modest johannesburg pawn shop has fundamentally changed from the role connected with “Lender of Last Resort” to a mainstream entity which includes filled the role of “The Bank” for many fighting middle class members of American society. The previously placed stigma that pawn brokers were experts at getting high value items for very little money, by presuming the customer would default on the loan, has largely disappeared. With an average of 85% – 87% of pawn loan customers paying back their loans and retrieving their particular items, there is hard evidence now that the pawn buy has indeed become a primary financial partner for many hard Americans.
The recent development of several popular television packages such as “Pawn Stars”, which is currently one of the most popular products on The History Channel, has gone a long way to further dispel the particular stigma that has saddled pawn shops for generations. It truly is through these programs that large segments of the human population, who had no idea what services pawn shops actually supply, have become educated and openly accepting of the traditional pawn search. This programming has reinforced the truth that pawn shops are usually owned and operated by real people, with high standards with ethics and moral values, who while constrained from the financial realities of running a business, will indeed do almost everything they possibly can to help their customers.
While many middle class family members are choosing to turn unneeded items into much needed cash by means of yard sales and popular Internet “bulletin boards” like Craigslist, many families have concerns about the security of such sales methods. In this day and age, the thought of strangers arriving to consider jewelry or a yard full of unknown people at a loved ones sale raises serious concerns for many. Once again the pawn shop fulfills the needs of the customer by purchasing unneeded things such as jewelry, electronics and collectibles in a safe and secure surroundings, often times paying much more than the seller expected. Factor in the price and genuine hassle of private selling items and the pawn shop is an unbeatable source of cash for many sellers.
One more fundamental change in middle class America, which has occurred as a result of lengthy economic downturn, has been the popularity of being thrifty and cost-effective. It is no longer viewed as a bragging point to proclaim simply how much one has paid for a particular item, but now it is viewed as any “Badge of honor” in many middle class social sectors to announce how LITTLE was paid. It is in this particular role that pawn shops have truly gained beneficial acceptance. Typically, top quality items can be purchased at pawn outlets for 30% – 60% less than even the offerings in the ubiquitous “Big box retailers”. Therefore at a social get together or during casual conversation, the savvy pawn shop customer easily has the upper-hand in the now popular online game of “Who paid less? “