I paid my bills today. I was walking home from the post office and standing across the street from a pawn shop, waiting for the WALK sign. I don't remember ever visiting this shop, but it has a sign crowing that it's air-conditioned. They really know how to draw in the ace customers, like me.
Does anyone remember the days when your local pawn shop had bargains on stuff worth owning? Thinking about the last three shops I've visited, all of them seemed to price their wares by assuming everything already is or will someday be worth a bazillion dollars. It's strange to think that I may be of the last generation of people who would go to a pawn shop to buy their first guitar or movie camera because the specialty shops charged an arm and a leg. If, say, a camera shop sells a used digicam for the same price "Frank Fuckowski's Fenced Goods" does, why wouldn't you buy the item from the store run by experts in that field?
I certainly don't expect to a return to the days when dirty but mint-condition Fenders, D'Angelicos and unpopular-model Gibsons could be had for a hundred bucks a throw from "Honest Arnold's Second-Time-Around Shoppe" -- although I wouldn't finding a few more $100 broken classics that I could fix up and sell, as I did in college; that was fun and rather profitable -- but I call bullshit on these crap merchants trying to get $400-500 for battered cameras and guitars that never listed [not retailed, mind you] for more than $250 when they were brand-spanking new.
It's also funny to see today's pawn shops trying to sell flogged copies of WARLORD, KITTY PRYDE & WOLVERINE and RICHIE RICH'$ MILLION$ for five bucks each because they once read an article in the newspaper -- you know the kind; some kid buys a comic from a pawn shop's quarter bin and later discovers the comic's actually worth a quarter-million, shit like that -- and they don't want to chance getting "ripped off."
Of course, the spirit of the true pawn shop has transmorgified and merged onto this wonderful superdooperhighway, where it took me two minutes to find the same model Danelectro electric bass I just saw in that pawn shop down the street -- a reissue, white-sunburst Shorthorn four-string, in case you were wondering -- for a third of the price those yutzes down the street were charging. With hardshell case, no less. And, no one followed me around the store like I was gonna steal something, which is why the Internet wins every time.
ps. Anyone who can correctly cite the source of this post's title will be given the key to Milotropolis [the capital city of SquirrelNation], and have a day named in hir honor.