Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The unhappiest place on earth

While doing my final packing and purging, I came across several old pieces of jewelry I received from ex-boyfriends. Since I'm not the overly sentimental type, I decided to try selling them at a local pawn shop. 

Maybe the pawn shop decision was inspired by my recent frustrations with would-be Craigslist buyers. Or maybe it was because I'm nearing the end of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Of course, perhaps the latter should have been more of a deterrent...

That said, I’m not even sure where to begin in describing this experience.

Let’s start with the parking lot. I felt like I’d been transported to an 80s movie where blinged up people walked around with boom boxes on their shoulders…only instead of boom boxes, it was a wide assortment of audio/visual equipment and curious "collectibles."

Then I walked in. It was like a showcase of abandoned dreams and harsh realities of mismanaged finances – guitars, wedding rings, top-of-the-line home theater equipment and sadly, much more. 

I awkwardly queued up in the sellers’ line. While waiting for my turn, I overheard arguments other sellers were having with the clerks. One man was unhappy with ascertained value of his massive silver chain collection. Another woman was mad about…well…I’m not really sure. She just keep grunting and hitting her hands against her thighs.

Finally it was my turn. While I was waiting for the clerk to value my items, I studied the very large, very colorful sign hanging above the counter stating that all transactions are reported to the police daily. Even though I was selling my own stuff, I suddenly found myself  feeling like I’d stolen a kitten from a lonely old woman. It didn’t help that the clerk inspecting my items looked like Santa Claus. I started to rethink the whole pawning thing...until he started counting out the cash.

In the end, at least I made my wallet a little heavier and my accessory drawer a little lighter.