More people pawning possessions for gas money?

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Knoxville (WVLT) - Selling computers and expensive jewelry for gas money is becoming a common thing for local pawn shops.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt talked to one who says more and more new customers are selling their items to fill up their tank.

"Gas prices right now are too high in this country," driver Owen Liles said. "The way it is now it's like 1973, 1974, when we had high energy prices, high gas prices."

"They're ridiculously high," Driver Mitch Spaulding said.

So to cover costs at the pumps, some are turning to pawn shops to fill their tanks.

"A lot of customers live paycheck to paycheck, so when these gas prices go up, they've got to find another resource for gas money," said Susan Sherrod, manager of West Side Pawn.

Manager of West Side Pawn, Susan Sherrod, has seen a huge increase in the number of customers in need of cash for gas.

"If we write 10 loans, two of those, they will mention for gas money," Sherrod said.

She says one of the biggest changes has been new customers.

"We're seeing new customers come in the door, people that's never even been in a pawn shop," Sherrod said.

Sherrod also says she's seen bigger loans. People are now more willing to sell big ticket items.

"Computers, jewelry, diamonds, the gold, platinum, we're seeing more of," Sherrod said. "We had an individual that sold a laptop trying to get gas money to go to Pennsylvania."

Just one of many changes people in Knoxville have to make, to make ends meet.

"I'm not driving as much as I used to," Liles said.

"I run on empty a lot, more now and I don't really fill up as often, I put 20 dollars in instead of filling it all the way up," Spaulding said.

"Up until a year or two ago, you never heard, I need gas money, cause it wasn't as big of a deal, but it is now," Sherrod said.

Pawn shops also say people aren't taking out as many loans as they used to. Instead, people are just selling items for gas money.

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