Used coffin traded to borrow money from pawnshop as economy deteriorates


AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A long, scratched casket will catch your eye as you enter the Pasternack Pawn Shop in Aurora. Store owner Scott Pasternack said he had been swapped for a cash loan in the past year.

The odd-looking box is just one of many belongings that people are pawning at a record pace. Pasternack said the onslaught began when the economy started to take a hit.

“Our lending has exploded with the economy much weaker and people needing more money,” Pasternack said.

A man who did not want to be identified told FOX31 that he is pawning his stuff a lot more often.

“As times have gotten tougher and inflation rates have caused me to come in once a month to sell things,” the Aurora man said.

People also buy a lot of things from this store. Roxi Kessler was delighted to be able to afford a second-hand vacuum cleaner.

“You can’t afford anything because gas prices are so high they’re driving up the prices of everything. Food, insurance, everything. The price just skyrockets. You can’t afford to buy anything new,” Kessler said.

She’s not alone, as 40% of unbanked or underbanked households have used pawnbrokers, according to the National Pawnbrokers Association.

Pawnbroker Aurora told FOX31 it’s also seeing more white-collar customers.

The trend comes as no surprise to economics professor Christina Huber.

“There is a lot of concern. We have been told for over a year now that this inflation is temporary and lasting longer than expected. I think people are starting to get a little nervous,” Huber said.

It’s not entirely clear how long it will take to sell a used casket. If you’re interested, it’s $499. The coffin remains unclaimed.

The National Pawnbrokers Association said the average amount people will borrow is about $150, and 85% pay that money back with interest and typically get their property back.

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