Pawn Stars! or fraud stars? And Blood Angels news.

I have become a fan of the History chanel show Pawn Stars. The premise of the show is that some dudes own a pawn shop, and people come in to sell stuff. The guys walk you through the history of the item on camera, then tries to buy the item for very little, and sell it for a lot. Occasionally they bring in an expert on some of the stuff to get the item appraised, then haggle over the price. The big moments are when they get an item like an antique Coke machine for 100 bucks, then get it fixed up and make 8 grand on it. One thing that is consistent, when some one comes in with an item, no matter what, the shop owners cut the asking price by more then half, then cap what they will pay at just above half.

In other words. They find out what an item is worth, and either pay half of that price, or don't buy it. That means they make back 100% of their investment. Standard wholesale practice. Buy an item, sell it for twice what you paid for it. Most of the time, they get the item for less then half it's price and make great money.

That brings me to the episode I just watched. A guy who had previously sold them a high end crossbow came in again, with another bow. He claimed that he lost his job and needed some quick cash so had to sell his super duper bow, described by him as the best bow in the world. The guy was also wearing a shirt plastered with the logo of the company who made the bow. He dealt out his pitch, talking up how awesome the bow is. Then the show cuts to a scene about the store owner also talking up how awesome the bow is. Then they cut back to the guys talking about the bow, and start dickering over price. In almost all situations I hvae seen, this portion goes on for at least a few minutes, with 5 or 6 counter offers until they arrive at a price.

Well not this time. This time, the owner asks for a price, something like 1500, and the shop owener inexplicably offers him 1300 as a counter. (I rounded the prices for simplicity) The bow oner accepts and the show goes on. Wait... what? In any other deal, the shop owner would always start at less then half of what the guy was asking, then dicker him up to just over half. This time he offers him almost what he asked for it with no bartering at all?

I call sheet.

The first thing I did was do a quick ebay search for the same bow. It is going for 400 bucks. The one in this episode had upgrades, but still. The shop owner is smart and rarely makes a mistake. He knows what an item is worth, and does not take the customers word for it, and he NEVER pays more then 50% of it's retail value.

Why this time? That is what brings me to my point. I was just duped again by corporate America. Only this time I was tricked into watching a 20 minute advertisement for this particular bow. Further, these guys were even more sneaky by using a popular television show to make it look like there was even more interest in this bow then a commercial could. The show gives it validity.

Later on, they take the bow to an archery shop, and have the owner look at it. The archery owner breaks into another synopsis of why the bow is awesome, and offers to sell it for the pawn shop. Finally they go out back and shoot it, two of the doofus pawn shop guys nearly hitting the bulls eye, showing just how easy it is to shoot this bow. See, any one can!

Even if the bow was worth 2 grand brand new retail, there is no way the pawn guy would pay 1300 bucks for it, since that is just about what he would be able to sell it for. Plus, the bow retails for around 1300 bucks and is currently on ebay for less then half that. The speed at which he came to an agreement calls to question the validity of the purchase. Finally, they had three different scenes talking about how awesome the bow was. These facts burn my craw.


Oh, and I played in a tournament this weekend, and won all three of my games, taking 2nd. More on that later this week! Jawaballs


Brent said...

Oh yea?

Well I played in a tournament and one first place!

And I played against Mephiston and (curled up like a baby and bawled) kicked his butt around the table.

I'm (terrified) not at all impressed by him, so am looking forward to beating up on your Blood Angels at BoLSCon!


(Seriously, that Mephiston is a beast! Are you or Goat bringing him? Inquiring minds want to know.)

Heavy D said...

There could always be the fact that sometimes they make mistakes, like when he bought that one race car and ended up paying more to fix it then they could sell it and lost money over it. Also I own a couple bows myself and my 1st reaction is when i see it is, "Thats an awesome bow." Also they did say that modded bow and was worth about 2000 so he got some profit for it. But I could see why you say what they did was questionable about the whole thing. And sometimes the human nature of "I gotta have it" can overcome a lot of people even professional businessmen.

Flekkzo said...

Dear Balls of Jawa,

You were watching the history channel, part of a network of channels showing shows about aliens, ghost hunters (gaaah!), and all sorts of hokus pokus. They have very very limited amounts of truth in many of their shows. Like their military channels which usually goes: "the us rules and look at all these incredibly cool weapons, wanna join the unbeatable space marines, ehm, I mean the marines?"

There are a few OK shows, I personally watch myth busters for light edutainment and Adam Savage (I'd love to see that guy customize and paint an army!). But most is really rubbish.

Now let us hear about some truth about the Blood Angels, that is what we like to hear about:)

(I'd like to take this time to point out to anyone either serving in any military or who has previously served that I mean no disrespect with what I wrote above. I don't like the politicians nor the propaganda, nothing wrong with the soldiers. Many who seems to enjoy wargaming as well!)

Flekkzo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AutarchAndrew said...

I have not yet to see pawn stars.but I have seen monsterquest I really like the cryptozoogly shows.

and your coming to scranton for 'ard boyz right?

Crazy Red Praetorian said...

Their motorcycle Idiot, I mean expert checked out an Indian Mini-Mini and said that there were only 10 in the US. We had more than that in my hometown. There were entire classes at the local races made of just that one model. I have seen the same kind of idiocy on Amrican Pickers.

jawaballs said...

Even if that bow retailed brand new for 2k, he paid almost 1300 for it. The fact is that once something has been bought and used, you can reduce it's value by 50%. Some hot items can defy that rule, and maybe the bow could pull it off, but I have to believe this is even more true for bows since they have a finite number of draws before they are no longer top notch.

I can't see how they can get any thing more then 1500 for this bow. So I have to call shenanigans at him jumping at the chance to pay almost that much for it. The entire segment concerning the bow was nothing more then a paid infomercial.

Did he make a mistake in the price? Maybe, but The bow owner valued it new at around 2 grand from the start while wearing a shirt plastered in the bow companies logo. In almost all other situations, once they have a "Top Value" for an item, Rick offers less then half and never pays more then 60% for something he knows he can sell at max. Plus a quick internet search, which they always do and talk about often, would reveal the value. Hoss has referred to Ebay values several times before making purchases. They would have definitely looked up the value of the bow before buying.

Sure he made a mistake with the car. He looked up the value and knew he had a steal, plus he rocked the guy on the buy price based on what he thought the value was. His mistake was in not knowing how much it would cost to fix, not in knowing the value of the car.

I liken the purchase of that bow to Gamestop buying your Xbox. There is a reason why they give you like 30% of it's new value. How close to the "red ring of death" is it? How many hours have really been played? Who wants to buy a used high end item at rull retail? Would Gamestop give you 60% of what you paid for the Xbox? Hells NO!

I think the biggest kicker in this infomercial scandal is buying a bow for almost as much as he can sell it for, then consigning it out to be sold by some one else. By the way, if you look in the background at the archery shop, from every camera angle the predominant banner in the back is... wait for it... yup, the bow companies banner.

Having the archery shop sell it, then take their percentage, will reduce the pawn shops profit to pretty much zero. At best a couple of hundred bucks if the archery shop is able to sell it for full retail. They aim for a 30 to 50% profit margin. So if they buy something for 1000.00, they need to sell it for 1300 to 1500 minimum or else they wont buy it. And they try to get a 100% profit margin.

I cant see how this bow segment was any thing less then a slap in the face advertisement.

Kevinmcd28 said...

Ive seen that episode and I like pawn stars, remember ebay always has low prices, you can find $800 in models on ebay for like 200 sometimes. remember ebay is ebay.

jawaballs said...

Sure I know ebay is eaby, I would never use it as a bible. But it is a good indicator of what people are willing to pay for certain items. If you look on ebay and find 300 copies of the same thing, all "Buy it now" for full retail or close, and no one is buying them... that is a bad sign. But ebay is just one stop in a quick search. You can also find archery retailers selling the bow brand new for a grand to start.

When I mention ebay, it is more like saying "Googling" when I am talking about prices. When I say "ebay the price on that bow" you are looking on line for a quick estimate of an items value, hopefully checking a couple of sources.

dzer0 said...

Way to call shenanigans. This post made me laugh, I've never seen this show but your advertising makes me want to watch it now.

jawaballs said...

It's definitely a great show. Check it out, it's addicting and it's funny how they make fun of the bafoon helpers. Especially when some dude walks in expecting to get 200 bucks for some old document to find out it is worth 20000. (The owner would still only offer him 10 grand though!)

jawaballs said...

And yes Crazy Red, American Pickers has more idiocy. Those guys, as opposed to the pawn shop where people bring them stuff, travel the country scouring peoples trash heaps for stuff. Then they dicker over prices for old crap like a bike, finally settle on 295 dollars instead of 300, and after all that, sell the bike for 350 bucks making a whopping 55 dollars. Seriously, you watch some of the episodes, and these two guys spend a day dickering over dollars with some old fart, and in the end make about 100 dollars profit.

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