As the America economy continues to collapse on itself, the vultures are circling. Up against that wall, we may be forced to sell off our most prized possessions to put meager scraps on the table. Gone is that porcelain figurine collection we spent a lifetime building, out the window is grandma’s antique piano and even our favorite compact disk compilations escape from our homes via eBay. In this crisis, there is one type of person who is thriving. He is the pawnbroker.
Recently, the show “Pawn Stars” has made this pawn shop world seem very alluring, even a bit glamorous. The stars– a father, son and grandfather all by the name of Harrison– appear like decent folk. They’re whip smart and engaging. They’re cheerful and genuinely interested in the history of the objects they acquire. Yet there are also moments where they display flashes of mercenary self-interest, when their push to make a quick buck leaves the suffering pawner with barely enough money to fill up the gas tank on the way home.
If we turn to the Bible, we will see that God knew a great deal about this type of work. Usury, which is defined as the lending of money at unnecessarily high rates, is strictly condemned. Apostle Paul wisely warned us, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” Furthermore, we are instructed that a man should not profit by taking the very things another needs to be employed. (“No man shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge, for he taketh a man’s life to pledge.” –Deuteronomy 24:6-13). I think all of us who watch pray breathlessly that that’s not what’s going on here behind the scenes!
What many find most shocking about Pawn Stars is that once items are appraised at fair market value by outside experts, the shop keepers turn around and offer ridiculously lowball amounts for these wonderful pieces of Americana. The seller is usually nervous and dejected, pressured as the tv camera zooms in for disconcerting close-ups. One imagines that the actual moments of tears and yelling are edited out for legal purposes. It’s all too terrifying for many of us to watch! And then the tension builds as these pawners realize that they’ll never appear on the cable show unless they agree to Rick’s punishing demands. Is there a secret reason why Chumlee and Big Hoss are always hovering nearby, like the mobster-style enforcers in an illegal brothel? Are there guns in the shop? Honestly, we deserve to be told that much. It’s not quite clear how they convince these poor saps to accept the offers, but they do! Each and every time! How gut-wrenching to see this con played out night after night on unsuspecting fools who must return with a few grungy bills to their angry wives and hungry children.
A further analysis reveals some very serious questions about the veracity of this show. We are led to believe it’s all genuine, the honest depiction of the goings on in a small Vegas store. Yet numerous documented cases discovered by this journalist tell a different story. Indeed, Big Hoss Harrison himself has a dangerous history. “He dropped out of high school to pursue his $2,000-a-week business of selling fake Gucci bags. With enough money to partner with his father at the age of 23, he never looked back,” one biography reveals. A damning piece of evidence concerns a gigantic antique twenty-dollar bill supposedly discovered in a grandfather’s bureau. Later, experts on the web noted that it was in fact previously owned by a notorious money trader and recorded in databases maintained by governmental monitoring agencies. Other questionable activities have also come to light, including the purchase of a $38,000 balloon ride, a Coca-Cola machine that miraculously took only a week to refurbish and came back looking completely different and a “family heirloom” flax bow that changed colors every time it was filmed!
Then there is the episode with the 16th-century pocket sundial. The supposed seller, it later came out, didn’t even own it. His story is as follows:
Billy was in Las Vegas and went in to the Pawn Shop to get autographs when they asked him if he wanted to be on TV. They handed him the sundial and told him to act the part. It took about 3 hours to film the segment.
Another outraged viewer detailed his frustrations with the show in this way:
The new season has contained some incidents which I think were scripted and phony.
1.) Chumlee dropping the ball & chain into the display case. Rick gives it to him before pricing it or cataloging it. Then a security guard, we’ve never seen on the show, distractes Chumlee before he drops it. Seem like a set-up
2. Big Hoss letting the antique “potty” chair fall out of the back of a pick-up. C’mon, anyone who has transported any kind of antique chair never just tosses it into the back of a truck. Do they think we are stupid?
I know the show is just “Antiques Roadshow” made into a reality show with funny scenes and cool people. But they don’t need the fake scenes to make it better, they only cheapen the show.
As this scandal continues to unfold, surely more evidence will surface. How horrific that the History Channel partakes in this chicanery. Are they getting secret kickbacks from the Harrisons for their collusion? What ever happened to the History Channel of yesteryear, with its fantastic war epics and heroic biographies? This lust for glam that you see on this station now is deeply disturbing, as if war no longer means much to the young people of today. There were so many great series that reminded us of the military might of our country. To see that replaced by threatening, black-shirted men trawling the underside of the American dream reveals much about what we have become under the rise of Obaman oligarchy. Will the just never find justice as television shows steal that last gasp of reality from their viewers?
One program that is superbly intellectually superior is American Pickers. It lacks the grit and slime of the Las Vegas strip, replacing it with fresh air and glorious landscapes. Pickers is a tearjerking celebration of America in a way that most Christians can delight in! Despite the sassy, punk rock shop girl Danielle (who really needs to be put in her place more often), Frank and Mike impress and intrigue! (Personally, I loved the “Mole Man” episode! The critics are fools!) They take to the road in their shiny white truck and encounter a wide array of colorful characters in our heartland, sharing cozy motel rooms and meals at quaint restaurants in between. Their “on the road” adventures are thrilling and the camaraderie shared between these two hearty, handsome men will excite any viewer!
The Cast of Pawn Stars
- Richard, a.k.a. “The Old Man”:Sadly, the younger generations do not show their senior citizen the deference he deserves. There is a disheartening amount of back talk and sassiness around the shop, with Chumlee specifically being the most guilty of this. Father may be fading mentally in his twilight years, but that’s no reason to mock him as he stumbles gently into that good night.
- Rick:I find his bald head rather an attractive look for a middle-aged man and a positive emblem of American masculinity. However, speaking with his hands so often spoils Rick’s image with a certain feminine pomposity.
- Corey, a.k.a. “Big Hoss”:The poor child has been criticized all across the internet for his weight, but I find that the least of his problems. He often looks exhausted and cranky as he lurks in the corner. Why does he have such red eyes and mussy hair? Has he been out all night at expensive discos, insinuating himself with Vegas’s famous ”ladies of the evening”? Maybe such proximity to the Las Vegas strip is too much of a temptation for such a young man.
- Austin, a.k.a. “Chumlee”:I sense something sinister in this boy. He seems a bit sharper than the rest, as if he’s just waiting for his moment to swoop in and steal the tv show. While I have my reservations about his character, I respect that he’s the one who volunteers to test out the most dangerous weapons brought into the shop. Masculine and brave!