I'm sure most of you are at least familiar with the ridiculous "reality" tv show Pawn Stars. They have a catchy and provocative title, so it already gets an audience...and it's a "reality" show, so that helps as well. And then you get to see all sorts of neat items like in Storage Wars, so this show really does have a lot going for it.
It actually has more going for it than you might expect. Why is that? Well, because every chance they get they work to screw their customers out of big money. True, these guys are running a business, so that makes sense to a point. But I never realized just how much they've screwed people. It's almost impressive how easy it seems to be for them.
From screwing customers out of tens of thousands of dollars to pushing out the manager who found them and got them their own show to begin with. They gang up on customers to ensure a sale and they fake their way through filming a show. These slimy Pawn Stars are really first-class people when it comes to underhanded deals and screwing people out of lots of money.
15 Signed Baseball From The 1951 Yankees
To be fair here, this signed championship baseball from the 1951 World Series never actually ended up in the Pawn Stars shop. At least not in their possession. But that doesn't mean that they didn't try to really screw the guy who brought it in. The guy who brought the ball opened his selling price at $3000. Considering the age, the signatures, and the fact that it's a Yankees championship ball...that sounds like a pretty low price. But the Old Man behind the counter decided that wasn't low enough. He made his counteroffer at a ridiculously low $800. Thankfully, the guy who brought the ball in laughed and left. It turns out that the ball was actually worth $15,000. But when the Old Man brought out his expert, she said "The value of the ball is really subjective. It just comes down to what a buyer is willing to pay for it and what the seller is willing to get for it." What a cheat.
14 A '62 Lincoln Continental
I would not mind one of these cars, for sure. And I probably would have one if I was able to pay the amount that the guys from Pawn Star paid for it. The guy who brought the car in wanted to sell it for about $14,000. That's pretty damn reasonable, I'd say. That's about half what the car is actually worth in mint condition. However, the interior of the car was a bit worse for wear so the pawn guys managed to talk the poor guy out of his car for less than $10,000! And just so you know, $10,000 was the original price of the car when it first hit the market in 1962. So these guys actually paid less than what the car was originally worth. Sure, they had to put over $10,000 worth of work into it in order to get it ready for auction, but they still ended up catching upwards of $35,000 for the damn car...and they managed to talk the schmuck down to $9,500.
13 A Book From Isaac Newton's Own Library
This book is over 450 years old...that's incredible. The oldest book I own is not quite 150 years old. And not only that...this 450-year-old book was from Sir Isaac Newton's own personal library. It's a crackpot book about alchemy, but it's still from his library. It should be worth quite a bit, I would imagine. Well, the Old Man said to the guy who brought the book in, "You know if I give you seven for it, I won't have money for dinner tonight". So, the guy actually accepted the $7000 offer. It turns out though, after consulting with their rare book "specialist" that the book would make an easy $20,000. That basically means that the Old Man made an easy $13,000 because of the silly sob story he gave to the guy who brought the book in.
12 Cheating The Audience... They Don't Work The Counter
This is an interesting one. It's not that they've specifically screwed customers out of any money in this instance, but they have certainly cheated their tv audience because of this. It turns out that none of the guys on Pawn Stars actually work behind the counter in the store. They're not allowed to because of privacy issues. Too many people were taking photos of them so you will only ever see them wandering the store or behind the counter when they're shooting episodes of the show. If you go there to talk to them about an item, you might be lucky to meet them in a nearby hallway where people can't see. But otherwise, you will be dealing with some other workers you just won't recognize. So they screw not only their store customers but also their tv customers. Sure, you don't have to pay to watch the show (aside from your cable or dish package), but they're still manipulating you.
11 The Signed Godfather Script
This is kind of hilarious. So a woman brings in a script. But not just any script. It's a legitimate and signed copy of an original Godfather screenplay. That's a pretty awesome find right there. But the pawn guys only offer $500 for the script. And they had their expert check and match that the signature was indeed that of Al Pacino himself! And they only offered $500. Well, it's clear that they were definitely trying to screw the customer...but that customer decided to say "f- you" and went somewhere else. Good thing too. She managed to sell that script at auction for a whopping $12,000! And what's so funny about this whole thing? The signature didn't belong to Pacino at all. It actually belonged to a producer on the film who was also named Al. So, the "expert" that the pawn guys brought in was a total fake and just a way to cheat someone.
10 Yasutsugu Samurai Sword
This is a samurai sword from the 15th century! That's pretty awesome. But what does that mean to the guys in Pawn Stars? It means another item to screw someone out of. To be fair, the guy who brought the sword in was a lawyer who ended up with the sword as a piece of collateral. So, he probably wouldn't really care as long as it made him some money. Well, the opening negotiation from the stars was a measly $800. The lawyer almost accepted right there but kept his cool until they settled on $1500. That's pretty sad. Why? Because the blade was worth at least $5000 in the condition it was in when it got to the store. And if there was maybe about $3000 worth of work put into it, it could sell for up to $15,000.
9 Melted Down Stolen Coins For Lots Of Cash!
This is a really interesting one. A young woman brought a collection of pretty expensive coins into the store and parted with them over the course of three trips. The total amount she managed to get for the coins was somewhere over $12,000. Pretty good for little coins. However, it turns out that this woman had stolen the coins from her uncle. And even worse, the Pawn Stars decided to melt down the coins in order to make more money than they bought them for. And even worse than that, not only was the uncle screwed out of his coins by his niece...the niece was screwed out of money by the Pawn Stars. It turns out that the coin collection that the guys at the pawn shop melted down was worth about $50,000. The niece only got just over $12,000 and she was caught and did time for her theft. It seems everyone tries to cheat.
8 The Colt .45 Peacemaker
So, a guy walks into the pawn shop with a Peacemaker Colt .45 from the 1800's. It is legit, but not in mint condition. To be fair here, the guy who was looking to pawn the gun did outright say that he bought the damn thing for only $25 (which really doesn't help when you're trying to negotiate). Either way, it didn't take pawnbroker Rick long to come up with a price. He didn't even consult with one of his skeezy experts when he dished the price. He settled the deal with the guy for only $3000. It sounds like a pretty damn good deal considering the guy originally got the gun for only $25. However, when Rick decided to look up the actual price of the gun, it's minimum going price was about $5000. And considering the quality, and if there was a little money spent on refurbishing it...the gun could go for over $40,000.
7 They're So Notorious, They Get Banned From Yard Sales
I think this is one of the most hilarious stories in this article. It's not about a specific moment where the Pawn Stars guys cheated anyone but it has to do with how notorious they are now around thrift communities. Apparently, Rick from the show can't go out to a yard sale without being told to f- off. Everyone seems to be learning just how underhanded the guys on the show are and they don't want them prowling around their old wares. That is hilarious to me because yard sales are usually full of stuff going for cheap. But I guess if Rick shows interest in an item, the sellers decide to hold on to it (I imagine so they can see if they can actually make any money with it). It makes sense and in that way, it seems like the customers are now screwing the pawn guys...but still, it just goes to show how well-known they are for screwing customers over.
6 Screwing Over Their Manager Wayne Jefferies
This is something I definitely didn't know until I started researching this article. It turns out that the guys who run the pawn shop on Pawn Stars are so sketchy that they even screwed over their own manager. Wayne Jefferies is allegedly the man who discovered the Pawn Stars back in 2007 and landed them their hit show on several networks. I have to be honest when I say that I wish he didn't discover them at all. I'm sure he feels the same way now too. Especially since he has a lawsuit out on them. Apparently, several network executives approached the cast about pushing Jefferies out of the picture. And...well...always focusing on where the money is and not really caring about other people and their wellbeing, it made total sense for them to give the boot to the guy who found them and gave them their tv career in the first place.
5 They Cheat People By Faking A Lot Of The Show
This is a different sort of cheating. This is the kind of cheating that gets Pawn Stars ratings so that the show can stay on and the guys can keep making their massive sums of money from both the show and the items brought into their store. You might notice that there are always a ton of customers in the store during an episode, but did you notice that none of them are ever really focused on and that none of them ever go up to the stars of the show? Do you know why? Because they're put there to make the place look busy while they shoot the episode. The guys aren't allowed to actually work the counter during regular work hours because of some privacy policies, so they bring people in to be the "customer crowd" and then they bring in the big clients who are selling the items they decide to showcase in whatever episode they're shooting. Pretty sad and sketchy.
4 The Hotchkiss Cannon
Alright, before I really dig into this one I do have to admit that the guy who brought this cannon in definitely did screw himself out of his money just as much as the Pawn Stars did. When this cannon from 1890 showed up at the pawn shop an expert was immediately brought in to make sure it was legit and to estimate the current value of the historical piece. Well, the expert came back with a price of $40,000. The guy who brought the cannon in was over the moon and said that he had only expected to snag $30,000 from it. Well, that's all it took for one of the guys to shake his hand, pass him $30,000 and say "thanks for coming out". He did set himself up by giving away his lower expectations, but it's still a sh-tty move to just turn around when it seems a deal is on the table and say "oh, ok, we'll give you $10,000 less than what we were going to".
3 Their "Experts" Purposely Lowball The Customers
This really pisses me off about the show. First off, I definitely question whether or not the "experts" on the show are actually experts in their given fields. I mean, it is a "reality" tv show so there's already a lot of fakery. And here's the thing...even if they are truly experts, they will never give the seller coming into the store a better deal than the pawnbrokers. Why? Because they work on the show for the pawnbrokers. If I was a customer there and was looking to sell something I would definitely not use their experts to appraise the item I'm selling. I'd bring my own, thank you very much. Don't you think it's just a little bit of a conflict of interest when suddenly an expert appears from backstage and says " oh, yeah that would go for about $1,000" when it's actually worth $40,000? But they're looking to help out the Pawn Stars because that's how they make their money!
2 Chris Craft Boat
This boat was picked up by one of the pawn guys for a measly $16,500. That's not too bad. It needed some work, and the guy who brought it in just couldn't afford to get it done. He wanted no less than $20,000 for it...but ended up leaving $3,500 short of what he wanted as a minimum. Too bad for him. After putting a few grand into the boat, it ended up fetching about $30,000. I bet when the guy watched the episode he must have felt sick to his stomach. He could have ended up making some good money from that thing. Instead, the Pawn Stars do what they do best. They seem to love nothing more than an unfair deal so long as it will get them the money they want. And what's really sad is that the pawn guy who bought the boat just bought it on a hunch without knowing how much it could actually go for.
1 They Gang Up On Customers To Cheat Them
It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Pawn Stars have certain tactics in order to get their customers to part with their items while getting as little money as possible for them. And one of these tactics is to gang up on them. I don't mean in a physical way. There's no violence involved (so far as we know), but if one guy is insulted by an offer from one of the Pawn Stars and he starts to get annoyed, another star will stroll up and start having words and before you know it, you've got four guys on one telling him that there's no way he'll find a better deal anywhere else. It just wouldn't be possible. When you're trying to sell an item and you have people who seem knowledgeable about these things telling you that you won't find any better offer...of course, you'll agree to the sale. But they're actually just running a scam on you. Don't trust pawnbrokers. Just don't.