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Iowans turn to pawn shops amid inflation: 'People are literally telling me it's for gas'

Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 20, 2022

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — In this economy, pawn shops have become a destination for quick cash. With rising fuel prices and high inflation, one pawn shop owner says more people are selling items like jewelry, guns, electronics and tools to help with daily expenses.

David Drake owns Metro Pawn & Loan in Council Bluffs. He estimates there's a 25% to 50% increase in loans and people selling their items. But he's seeing a decline in actual purchases.

"The more people that don't have money means that people aren't gonna pay on their items and pick them back up, which means we're gonna have them here to sell, which means they don't have the money to spend to buy the stuff that's here," Drake said.

These past few months Drake has noticed customers are more stressed about money.

"More and more people are literally telling me it's for gas or to go to the grocery store. We don't ask why somebody is getting a loan, but some people just volunteer why they need the $50 or $100," Drake said.

Shopper Mike Hess says more people should consider buying used items over new ones during the current economy.

"I think it's part of the problem in this country, is everybody needs to have a brand new everything and it's plastic and it breaks and they throw it away. I think this is an economy that makes sense," Hess said.

With Americans feeling more urgency to get a loan to tide themselves over between paychecks, Hess predicts this will change Americans' consumption habits.

"Just being more mindful of what you're consuming, where you get the necessities that you are buying. People are going to be doing that whether they like it or not, I think," Hess said.

AAA reports the national average for fuel is now $4.98.

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