Monday, 11 January 2010

Pawn stars

There was a jingle on the radio today - cash for gold - to the tune of a nursery rhyme and sung by a child. I don't like these ads at the best of times, but this one jarred because pawn features heavily in my conversations of late. 

My experience of selling up isn't great. By the time I graduated in 1988 my parents had sold our London home for £18,000 and our Welsh cottage for £36,000. Both are now worth well in excess of a half a million and I have yet to earn enough to buy either. Still, after a decade of quite literally selling the family silver, my parents walked away debt free. 

Fifteen years on, I was not so lucky, selling the last of remnants of an inheritance before my house was repossessed. From a dog eared copy of an antiques guide, I had a price in mind, set above the bottom line, which in real terms was what I needed. What I remember most is the indignity of the snap mental arithmetic - stall outlay plus recalculated budget - before selling well under reserve.  

Such is the reality of selling valuables, not some ditty sung by kids. The funds invariably keeps families fed, clothed and warm, so I am struck by the macarbre irony of a target market that is parents desperate to provide for a child. Pawn stars indeed.

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