AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – A long, scratched-up coffin will likely catch the eyes of customers who walk into Pasternack’s Pawnshop in Aurora, Colorado. The owner of the shop, Scott Pasternack, said it was traded in for a cash loan within the last year.
The eerie-looking box is just one of many personal belongings people are pawning at a record pace. Pasternack said the onslaught started when the economy began to take hits.
“Our loans have gone through the roof with the economy being much lower and people needing more money,” Pasternack said.
One man who didn’t want to be identified told Nexstar’s KDVR he is pawning his things a lot more often.
“As times have gotten tougher, and inflation rates, have caused me to come in once a month now selling things,” the man from Aurora said.
People are also buying plenty of things at this shop as well. Roxi Kessler was excited about being able to afford a used vacuum cleaner.
“You can’t afford anything ’cause gas prices are so damn high it raises the prices of everything. Food, insurance, everything. The price is just skyrocketing. You can’t afford to buy anything new,” Kessler said.
She’s not alone — at least 30 million unbanked or underbanked American households use pawnshops each year, according to the National Pawnbrokers Association.
The Aurora pawnshop told KDVR they are also seeing more white-collar customers.
The trend is not surprising to Metropolitan State University of Denver economics professor Christina Huber.
“There’s a lot of concern. We’ve been told for more than a year now this inflation is temporary, and it’s lasting longer than we thought. I think people are starting to get a little nervous,” Huber said.
How long it will take to sell a used coffin is not quite clear. If you are interested, it’s going for $499.
The National Pawnbrokers Association said the average amount people will borrow is about $150, and 85% pay that money back with interest and usually get their goods back.
While pawn shops are an option for those unable to secure credit, potential customers should be aware of any interest rates that may be too high to pay back. As NerdWallet reports, pawnshop APR rates can go as high as up to 200%, depending on a location and its practices.
For context, the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. is 16.27% for existing accounts and 20.64% for new credit offers, according to WalletHub. Always be aware of lending terms when taking out any loan.