Over the past few years, Americans have grown wise to a little secret that most of our customers have known for years: Pawn stores are great places to obtain quick loans and shop for merchandise at a lower cost than traditional retailers. Although some of this is due to a culture swing in which people have scaled down and are always looking for ways to save pennies, it’s impossible to ignore the power of television – specifically, the power of Pawn Stars.
On the air since 2009, Pawn Stars has become a cultural phenomenon – and the History Channel’s highest-rated show – that’s helped squash old, negative stereotypes about the pawn industry. And despite inspiring knock-offs – like Hardcore Pawn and Pawn Queens – Pawn Stars remains the king of the pawn reality television world. The “stars” have raked in some serious dough as the store has become a tourist destination, the show has increased in popularity and some of them have received their own side deals for books and endorsements. So, why do the head honchos of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop have their panties in a bunch this week? This week, the History Channel debuted Cajun Pawn Stars – and The Old Man is not happy.
According to the Gold & Silver crew, they had an exclusivity deal with the History Channel and weren’t notified that a spin-off was in the works. They’re worried about someone else stealing their thunder and – more importantly – their ratings. But – in spite of all they’ve done for instilling a more positive perception of the pawn industry – it’s hard to feel too bad for them. And not just because they’re making it rain. Here are a few reasons why Rick, Big Hoss and the rest of boys should be able to sleep easy, despite the History Channel sibling rivalry.
- They get to work with some really cool merchandise. Let’s be honest, Gold & Silver gets way more interesting stuff that the average pawn shop. From historical documents to collectors’ cars to antiques, Pawn Stars features items that could be on Antiques Roadshow. But the average shop really just wants to help customers, which means taking anything that’s brought in for a loan – and, usually, that’s jewelry and electronics, not an original copy of the Constitution.
- They’re industry all-stars. True, they’ve come under fire for misrepresenting the average pawn shop, but the pawn industry recognizes that Pawn Stars has done wonders for public perception and brought in new clientele. In fact, they recently won the coveted “Pawnbroker of the Year” award from the National Pawnbrokers Association – solidifying Gold & Silver’s standing as the current industry “golden child.”
- There’s nowhere to go but up – for now. Competition aside, Pawn Stars is still “top dog.” People have fallen in love with the quirky cast and are intrigued by their dynamics – and another show on History Channel isn’t going to detract from the loyal viewers who tune in regularly. Plus, Rick Harrison recently signed a record-breaking 80-episode deal that will span four more seasons. Looks like for the Gold & Silver clan, the money and fame train is going to keep rolling on.
Do you watch Pawn Stars? If so, will you tune into Cajun Pawn Stars? Sound off in the comments to let us know what you think!