We have our fair share of reality shows that we get sucked into and watch religiously — whether it’s something like Survivor, Big Brother, The Biggest Loser, or America’s Next Top Model, we have our guilty pleasures when it comes to TV. Out of all the reality shows on TV today, there’s nothing quite like the hit show, Pawn Stars. The show centers around a family-owned pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada and the customers that they deal with on a daily basis. People come in from all over the world to pawn or sell some of the strangest items.
Viewers fell in love with the Harrison family, owner Richard “Old Man” Harrison, his son Rick Harrison, Rick’s son Corey Harrison, and Corey’s friend Austin “Chumlee” Russell, and they soon shot to fame. The show became the History Channel’s highest rated show, and the No. 2 reality show, falling right behind Jersey Shore. People can’t get enough of the deals they make, the antics they get into, and the weird and unique products that people bring in.
What people don’t know, are the secrets that the shop holds. Not everything is sunshine and roses behind the scenes, and everything on the show definitely isn’t what it seems. There have been arrests, court cases, and plenty of other drama that everyone might not know about, and they definitely don’t want their customers to find out about them.
These are 15 Shady Secrets The Cast Of Pawn Stars Doesn’t Want Their Customers Knowing.
15. It’s Determined Beforehand What’s Filmed
Let’s be honest, we’re not watching Pawn Stars to see everyday items like jewelry or clothing be sold. No, we want the 150 year old ancient voodoo doll, or some famous queen’s jewels that were found and sold in a garage sale for $5. As a result, producers of the show put in a lot of thought into what’s being shown on the viewers. Now, many people believe that there’s a film crew constantly filming in the shop, catching everything that goes on. On the contrary, that’s not true at all. They have set filming times, and they pick what’s going to be filmed. If a customer comes in during a non-filming period with a really interesting buy, production will have them come back at another time and film it for the show. All these interactions are not as authentic as you may think!
14. The Show Has Hurt The Shop
Believe it or not, the fact that Pawn Stars has become a huge hit on TV has caused some major problems at the actual shop. Instead of customers coming into the store to either pawn, sell, or buy something, people are just going to the shop because they’re fans of the show. It has become more of a tourist attraction instead of an actual business. People are flocking to the store because they’re fans, not customers. All they want to do is take pictures, meet the cast, and say they went to the actual pawn shop. People are so concerned about getting the perfect selfie, that they forget that it’s an actual store and not a fake one like you see on TV. And as a result, things aren’t selling like they used to, and that’s taking a toll on the show.
13. Chumlee Has Been Arrested
Austin Russell, better known as Chumlee on the show, is known to be the happy-go-lucky guy that helps out Rick, Corey and the Old Man. He isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, and actually that’s what a lot of people love about him. He can be a handful, sometimes making silly mistakes, and breaking things that cause the shop some money. Nevertheless, you can’t help but love him. However, not many people know that Chumlee’s actually been arrested. In 2016, Chumlee was arrested on gun and weapons charges, and drug possession. Police officers were at Chumlee’s house to serve a warrant in an assault case when they found a firearm, as well as methamphetamine and marijuana. He pled guilty and received three years of probation for the crime. That’s not exactly good for business now is it?
12. Corey Has Also Been Arrested
Chumlee isn’t the only bad boy of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Corey has also been in some legal trouble, too. Corey decided to head out to a bar for a night of fun, that wound up turning into a bit of a messy fight. According to TMZ, there were claims that Corey got into a verbal fight with another person at the bar, and security guards at the bar were afraid it was going to escalate to a physical fight, and called the police. Once the cops got to the bar, Corey and the other person were immediately separated. Cops also made claims that Corey pushed both a security guard from the bar, as well as a police officer. As a result, they took him into custody where he was held for a few hours until he sobered up.
11. Not Every Deal Is A Good One
The guys of Pawn Stars have made thousands of deals over the years, so it’s only natural that they run into some bad deals every now and again. The show tries to show all of the times Rick, Corey, Chumlee, or the Old Man have made some of the best deals, but that doesn’t always happen. There will be times that they lose money, instead of making it. There are times where they pay too much for an item, and when it goes to auction, it doesn’t sell for as much as they anticipated, resulting in a significant loss of money. There are also times where they make deals and buy items that are unknowingly stolen. As a result, they have to take a loss of profit since they’re not able to sell the stolen goods. Not every sale is a fairytale, that’s for sure!
10. Half The Store Is Basically A Gift Shop
Since the store has become more of a tourist attraction than anything else, the Harrison family (along with Chumlee) decided to take advantage of that. The store now has a separate section just for fans to buy merchandise that relates to the store, and makes references to the show. People come from all over to visit the shop, whether they plan on pawning, selling, or buying something (or not). In reality, the gift shop is a really smart idea on their part because what’s better than a little piece of some place you visited? When watching the show, however, you never see this side of the store, and not many people know about it unless they visit the store in person. It’s carefully avoided and tucked away from cameras, as to not take away from the authenticity of the store.
9. Most Sales Are Staged
As previously mentioned, although they do a lot of filming for the show, there’s not a constant camera crew filming all day every day. If a seller comes in with a really interesting product during a time that there’s no filming taking place, producers will actually have that person come back during a filming period. When they come back, they’re sometimes asked to even reenact the entire sale, including the bartering, and anything they did the first time around when they sold whatever they brought into the store. The whole point of the show is watching random people walk into the store to try to sell a piece of history. Although there are some fake parts to a reality show, this definitely takes away the authenticity of the show, and makes things a lot less realistic, which can be a bit disappointing to fans.
8. The Store Is More Of A Tourist Attraction
As previously stated, the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop has become more of a tourist attraction than a pawn shop these days, and they can thank the show for that. So much people come from all over the world just to see the famous store that it takes away from the business. Which is probably why they started selling their own merchandise for the show (it’s a good idea, we can’t really blame them, to be honest). People are so caught up in taking pictures and they’re treating it just like some tourist attraction instead of a working store. It’s not detrimental, or anything, just a bit of a hinderance. There’s still profit being made everyday. In fact, the shop sees about 4,000 to 5,000 visitors on a daily basis. We think they’ll be okay!
7. Olivia Black Wasn’t Truly Fired
In 2013, Pawn Stars added another cast member to the show, Olivia Black. Black was a huge hit amongst fans and customers alike. She was especially a huge hit with the men — with her beautiful looks and tattooed body, she definitely appealed to the male demographic. However, things came to a screeching halt when it was discovered that she had done a few “bare” and risque photoshoots that got her into a little bit of trouble. History Channel, the network that puts Pawn Stars on the air, didn’t like these photos and fired Black for them. What many people don’t know is she wasn’t fired from the actual store. The network holds a high standard for being a family and learning network, which is why they took her off of the show. She was still able to work at the shop, she just wasn’t able to be on camera any longer.
6. They’ve Cheated Customers
At the end of the day, we have to remember that the pawn shop is a business, and they have to make money somehow. When a customer comes in with a priceless antique or artifact, they have to have some sort of evaluation put on it, and when an expert puts a price on it, Rick and the guys definitely don’t want to pay that price. They have to make money somehow, and they have to convince the customer to accept a lower price. There have been a number of times on the show that a gullible or clueless customer accepted an offer from Rick and the guys that was exceptionally lower than the actual price for the piece. Customers walk away thinking they’re getting a really great deal, only to find out later that the item was worth thousands of dollars more than they actually made. Yes, it’s a business, but it really stinks too.
5. The Store Was Sued For Melting Coins
The store itself had some legal troubles a few times as well. One time, a woman came into the store and sold a collection of coins for roughly $12,000. What Rick and the gang didn’t know was that the woman had actually stolen the coins from her uncle, and sold them to the pawn shop without his knowledge. Without knowing about the stolen property, they went ahead and melted down the coins to make a profit. However, when the real owner found out about the coins being stolen, sold, and then melted down without his consent or knowledge, he sued the store. He claimed that the coins were actually worth $50,000 and the Gold and Silver Pawn shop got into a hell of a lot of trouble. It’s hard to tell when someone is telling the truth or not, and that’s why they need to be careful when they’re making sales. Luckily for them, everything was settled out of court.
4. Rick’s “Friends” Aren’t Really Friends
Many times when customers come in with a rare find, or an especially old artifact, Rick isn’t always able to evaluate it, or even put a price on it for that matter. Some things are priceless, and it’s hard to put an actual price on them without knowing the whole story behind whatever it is. However, Rick always seems to have a “friend” that knows about the product, no matter what it is. Sure, we can think that Rick might actually know all of these people from being in the business for so long, but unfortunately, not all of Rick’s “friends” are not his actual friends. These people are experts in their fields that are brought in by producers for the show. Sorry, Rick, we guess you really aren’t as popular as you say you are!
3. Chumlee Cost The Shop $20,000
We all know that Chumlee isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but it’s what we love about him. He’s fun loving and arguably one of the best parts of the show. We love his immaturity and his happy-go-lucky attitude, and it brings a bit of humor to the show. Way back when, before the show started, someone pawned their bass guitar to the shop for $700, which meant the owner wanted to come back and get their item. Dear old Chumlee accidentally broke the customer’s bass guitar, and instead of saying something, he shoved the pieces in a box and pretended like nothing happened. Eventually the owner came back to get the bass, only to discover it in pieces. Unfortunately, Rick had to pay the man the full value for it, thus writing the man a big fat $20,000 check. You gotta love Chumlee!
2. Evaluations Are Inflated For Drama
When it comes to reality shows, it’s all about the drama, and Pawn Stars is no exception. Many times, people come to the store bringing in items with no price, and it’s hard to come up with one. They even have their own price for the item, and those don’t always fly with Rick. That’s when they turn to Rick’s “friends” or the experts come in to give an evaluation on the item. They tend to go for the higher evaluation simply because it brings the shock factor. They want you to look at an item and go, “Wow! I never knew that could be worth that!” We have to remember that it’s a reality show and they’re trying for the best ratings.
1. The Guys Don’t Actually Work
Many people walk into Gold and Silver Pawn shop expecting to see the Old Man, Rick, Corey, and Chumlee working behind the counter. However, if you’re looking to walk in and get an autograph or a selfie, you might be a little bit disappointed. The stars of Pawn Stars don’t really work behind the counter at all anymore. Due to their extreme fame, they aren’t really able to. In fact, with all the money they’ve made over the years, there’s no reason for them to actually work. The only time you can actually catch the guys in the store is when they’re filming. The show leads you to believe that they’re always hanging around in the store and you can just walk in and chit chat with them. But fans will be a little let down when they visit. You can still check out the store, though and buy some merchandise.
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