Long before Amazon, there was the International Pawn Shop in Uptown, home of over “one million different items”…and they were all stacked in the front window. “If we don’t have it, we can get it,” read the sign in the window. I used to love browsing in shops like this. Pawnbrokers offer secured loans to people, with items of personal property used as collateral. If the person fails to repay the loan, the item is put up for sale. People may also sell items outright to pawnbrokers. In this case, the items are immediately put up for sale.

Unlike a bank, if a person defaults on a loan, the default does not affect the person’s credit rating, since the loan is fully collateralized and the pawn shop can recoup its money by selling the item.

Pawn shops often help people get from one payday to the next.