Rolex sues online reseller

Rolex has online watch seller, alleging it used counterfeit parts in older, pre-owned watches.

Melrose told the Los Angeles Times it has the right to sell used watches.

There are millions of authentic Rolexes out there, and at least millions of fakes. Know who you are dealing with if you are buying or selling.

Are stocks a Ponzi scheme? How about bonds?

Idly, I wondered about the “Dow 30,000” book I recalled seeing (but never reading) on a day when the Dow struggled, again, to get to 13,000 and when Bill Gross, the , declared that securities are a “Ponzi scheme” and we will never again see the returns of the past century.

I had forgotten that there were also “Dow 36,000” and “Dow 40,000” books, and learned — what I had not known before — that James Glassman, author of the “Dow 36,000” book, was a financial adviser to John McCain’s presidential campaign and is today founding of the George W, Bush Institute at Southern Methodist U.

That explains a lot.

What does this have to do with pawnshops? Nothing directly, but if you have assets, Kamaaina Loan can turn them into cash. Whatever number the Dow index is at

To mall or not to mall

Some background on the controversy about the Kihei megamall:

Less than 30 years ago, the sum total of national retailers on Maui was Sears, National Dollar and Woolworth, among general retailers. No Kmart, no Wal-mart.

Today, no Woolworth and no National Dollar.

There weren’t a lot of specialized national retailers here 30 years ago, either: no Pier One, no Sports Authority (which didn’t yet exist).

Today we have outlets from Tiffany to Home Depot and it night seen that rural Maui has caught up with national urban retailing trends. Far from it,

Around 1990, a speaker brought in by the Main Street Association asserted that there were 140 national chains that were NOT on Maui.

I haven’t seen any more recent estimate, but although we have added many, many national chains since 1990, my guess is that the number today would be even higher than 140.

There are a lot more national (and even international) retailers like Ikea than there used to be.

If you think about just fast food chains, Maui lacks dozens. Chick-Fil-A is in the news, but on Maui you cannot either support or protest its position about marriage, because it isn’t here.

Neither is Sonic, Long John Silver’s, Popeye’s, Boston Market, Friendly’s and many more.

Among non-food retailers that are still absent are Target (probably on its way soon), Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn and on and on.

This helps to explain the desire of developers to build more malls on Maui. Maui may or may not be a top tier location — it wasn’t for J.C. Penney — but national chains have to expand to satisfy Wall Street.

Tales from a Pawn Shop: The teacher who liked rings

Every day, a pawn shop is the scene of stories that are uplifting, tragic, funny or a combination of all three, Here, heard at the National Pawnbrokers Association convention, is one that is tragic and inspiring:


In a southern pawn shop, there was a customer, a schoolteacher, who liked rings. She bought rings, sold rings, occasionally pawned rings.

Sometimes, when she found one she liked, she put it on layaway. Once she retired, and was living on a small pension, she sometimes had difficulty keeping up with her layaway payments.

Often, she failed to pay off within the store’s usual time limit of six months, but the pawnbroker treated her leniently because she was a good customer.

One rather expensive ring had been on layaway for more than two years when the woman died.

The pawnbroker called the woman’s daughter and told her that her mother had had a ring on layaway, still only half paid for, that the daughter could claim if she wanted to.

The daughter came to the store and told the owner that when her mother’s house burned (the cause of her death), everything she owned was destroyed.

“I don’t have a single thing of my mother’s,” she said.

The pawnbroker said, “This ring obviously meant a lot to your mother, since she tried so hard to pay it off. Here, you take it.”

He did not ask for the unpaid balance.

The daughter told the story to her local newspaper, which published it.