Working in a Pawn Shop

Pawnshops are a tough business to work in as an entry level associate, alot tougher than the typical customer service/ sales type of job. I actually think it’s the most difficult type of job that serves the public. To get an idea why this is so, we can compare pawnshop employees with retail jewelry sales employees.

Jewelry salespeople sell jewelry, so they need to know techniques of customer service appropriate to selling items, as well as product knowledge of the items themselves. This product knowledge can be vast since there are many types of jewelry and often many factors to consider in a piece, and the hard work and experience necessary to acquire expertise in the profession is considerable.

The very fact that it does take so much work actually suggests how difficult the pawn profession is. For pawn employees must have every bit as much, or more, of jewelry knowledge as a jewelry salesperson. That’s because a pawnshop employee needs to make a correct valuation of a client’s item, and if he mistakenly overvalues it or fails to recognize it is fake, he will pay much more than what it is actually worth. If he undervalues it, he risks not closing the deal when he could have offered more. It’s necessary to know exactly what a client has in order not to make these mistakes, and the merchandise that comes into a pawnshop is the same that goes out of retail jewelry stores.

What’s more, unlike the jewelry salesperson the pawnshop employee can’t rely on a manufacturer or wholesaler to inform him about the merchandise in order to fill in any lack of knowledge he may have about it. The pawnshop employee doesn’t buy jewelry from a wholesaler, he buys it from the public. He is expected to come up with an evaluation right there on the spot when a client walks in the door with an item, and the client can’t be depended on to give the pawnshop employee complete and truthful information on the item the way a wholesaler with a reputation to protect must. Learning to spot forgeries and fakes is a big part of being a pawnshop employee that retail salespeople don’t have to worry about.

So far we’ve talked only about jewelry, but pawnshop employees must also know about coins, which is comparably as vast a subject as jewelry, as well as currency, nuggets, bullion, scrap items, sterling flatware, and whatever else the pawnshop deals in. Pawnshop employees must sell items so they need to be good salespeople, but they also buy and offer pawns on them too. The different types of transactions use different but overlapping skill sets. Buy, sell, loan-jewelry, coins, currency- You can see just how broad a skillset is necessary to work in a pawnshop. That’s what makes it so challenging and yet so interesting.

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