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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Rip Off

On Tuesday I mentioned that I watch television in the gym while I'm working out and I talked about my guilty pleasure. Today I'm going to talk about shows that I have a problem with.

So when I watch TV in the gym, I really don't have a lot of time to search for something to watch. It hurts my speed on the machine. This means I only watch two channels (because of the previous button): The History Channel and The Travel Channel. If the Travel Channel has a food show on, I automatically watch whatever is on History. This has led me to see two shows that I've seen and heard about, but had never watched before: American Pickers and Pawn Stars.

Pawn Stars I just flat out disliked. Hard. In the episode I watched, a man came in to buy a sword that they'd purchased for $500 and were selling for three times that. The guy says he's seen them online for around $800. The Pawn Stars guy talks the buyer into $1000. Yes, double what they paid for it originally.

I know pawn shops work this way--they take advantage of the person who wants to sell their item and rip off the person who wants to buy it--but what I don't understand is why we're glorifying this greed. Blech! I'll probably watch the Weather Channel (the only other channel number I know) the next time my choices are a food show or Pawn Stars. I don't like to watch people being taken advantage of.

American Pickers is a little tougher for me because the guys driving around in the van seem like they're pretty good guys. Except they find older men who have been collecting things for decades and then pay them much, much less than the item is worth. Or try to anyway. I always feel bad for these old men. Not only are they losing something they've been collecting, they're not even getting a fair price for it.

I totally understand making a profit, but seriously obscene profit is another matter entirely. If you can sell an item for $1000, don't be offering some old man $300 for it, and then when he counters at $800, be telling him that it's too much. Bullshit. A $200 profit on a single item is more than adequate compensation. I have even less sympathy for the Pawn Star people because as far as I could see, they don't even drive around the country looking for stuff, so they don't have that overhead. People bring the stuff to them.

I'd like to like American Pickers, but I just can't get past how little they want to pay for items that are worth double or more what they're willing to pay. How much profit is enough? Especially if the man you're trying to purchase it from has already done all the restoration?

Anyway, I just find it so disheartening to see these television shows where it's predicated around the stars taking advantage of ordinary people. I always cringe when I see the final value of the item.