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Back in the good ol’ days, the only thing you had to do to pay for a tank of gas was reach into your wallet.
With fuel averaging $4 a gallon and prices increasing in food and just about any other product imaginable, it’s no surprise people are reaching far beyond their wallets to make ends meet.
Pawnshops around the area have seen an increased flow of traffic in the past few months, people from all walks of life needing to make a few bucks.
Chrissy Gentile, owner of Redgator Pawn & Jewelry in Ocean Isle Beach said people have come into her store with a variety of items. Jewelry, kitchen gadgets and movies—anything the store will take.
“They will scrounge up anything they can,” Gentile said. “Some people are willing to sell something to me for just $5.”
Gentile said she noticed an increased of sales traffic last winter when the flu bug was going around. People would come in and sell personal belongings only to use the money prescription medications, Gentile said.
Gas and food are also two main reasons people want to sell their items.
“I had a woman come in with her mother and grandmother’s wedding sets and didn’t want to do it, but her husband was out of work and they needed gas money,” she said.
Brad Thomas of Pawn U.S. A. in Shallotte said his increased traffic is mostly due to jewelry sales, as the price for jewelry is high. And most of the jewelry Thomas buys have been family heirlooms for years.
“I had someone come in and say, ‘If my mother knew I was selling this, she’d turn over in her grave,’” Thomas said. “Some people just really need the money.”
Thomas said electronics are also quick to sell.
“A TV is the first thing people can live without,” he said. “You need electricity in order to watch a TV, so if you don’t have electricity, a TV won’t do you any good.”
Gentile said she sees many parents bring in items that most likely belonged to children.
A “Cars” television, video game consoles, children’s games or other items most likely given as gifts are now being sold for a quick dollar.
“It really breaks my heart when they sell their kids things,” Gentile said.
Gentile said the number of pawns is also increasing—about 50 percent in the past year.
Redgator gives customers 90 days to return for an item, and as long as payments are being made, Gentile will hold an item until the customer can pay off the loan and all interest. But lately, more items than not have been left in the store.
“More than likely, they just don’t come back,” Gentile said.
Redgator has stopped taking DVD players and tools at this time. Gentile said there are too many people trying to sell their DVD players, and many contractors lay off their workers and end up with missing tools.
For some who don’t want the one-price offer from a or who do not want to pay interest on a loan, try selling your stuff online and receive offers from around the world.
Connie Wayne owns and operates Sell Your Stuff, a business she runs from her home where she helps people sell items on eBay.
Wayne said she originally began selling things for her family and friends last summer but has since turned it into a business after seeing a growing demand of people needing to make a quick dollar.
“When I start talking to people and they find out what I do, almost everybody says, ‘I have something I would like to sell.’ That thing that’s in your garage or in your closet that’s too good to give away.”
Wayne said she’s seen people part with many “luxury” items such as jet skis, motorcycles or high price jewelry.
Although some people just want to get rid of excess items, many people are selling belongings for a few extra dollars—dollars that will likely go toward the rising prices of gasoline or food.
“I just sold a Coca-Cola collection,” she said. “Somebody wanted to turn it into cash because times were tough.”
Wayne also recently helped a man sell a diesel truck because it cost too much money to fill it up at the pump.
“He had just got it the year before and it had already lost 30 percent of its value,” she said. “He was really willing to almost give it away. People really do need the cash just to make ends meet.”
Not everyone has to give up his or her vehicle or family heirloom to make a profit. A “Dukes of Hazard” belt buckle recently sold for about $80 on the Web site, Wayne said.
“The value of some things might really surprise you,” she said.
And there’s no risk for trying to sell an item. If a listed item doesn’t sell, Wayne charges the customer with the eBay listing fee only. She gets paid a percentage of the item once it’s sold.
In addition to eBay, Wayne also uses Craigslist to sell some items. With her marketing background she knows how to list items for them to sell and make the most money as quickly as possible—so quickly at times some customers sell things religiously each month.
“I have people who have become pretty much addicted to that income,” she said.