Join us and be on reality TV

All our customers, old and new, and friends are invited to take part in filming of a “sizzle” episode of a reality TV series based on pawnbrokers (wonder where that idea came from?).

A Mainland production crew will be on North Market Street Thursday and Friday, Sept. 6 & 7. And, if the action warrants it, on Saturday, Sept. 8, too.

So bring your most interesting, unique and outrageous items down and let one of our professionals review it for a pawn or a sale.

This show is completely unscripted. The producer tells us, what he sees, he tapes.

There will be video releases, so if you don’t want to be famous, we won’t force it on you. But we are anticipating a fun two days, and maybe many more if the show goes into series production.

Show your Maui spirit and be a star!

Or, if you are a regular customer, just come down and be regular. Kamaaina Loan will be in normal operation during the taping.

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

Pawn 101: Jeweler markups

The following incidents both happened Monday, but something similar occurs just about every day in the pawn shop.

A woman came in wondering if she could sell a gold chain with a small (about the size of a postage stamp) bangle covered in diamonds.

The chain was very fine and the whole item weighed around 7 grams, or about a quarter of an ounce.

It was 18-karat gold, so sure, it had value. We estimated about $150 for the gold and another $50 for the diamonds, which were miele — tiny chips.

The woman and her husband really needed cash, but she hesitated to take the offer. After several exchanges, it came out why: She had paid $2,400 for the jewelry.

That’s right. The retail jeweler had sold it at a price 12 times the value of the materials. And, to tell the truth, probably more than 12 times, because the value of gold has gone way up over the past year.

With mass-produced jewelry, which is what this was, the resale value is almost always the recycling value: the gold is melted, after the diamonds are recovered, and the miele is sold to jewelers for reuse.

$200 was a fair price — it was based on the New York spot price of gold and the world diamond market — but the woman didn’t take it. Too painful to realize the loss, probably.

Later in the afternoon, a man came in with a bracelet string of small, misshapen, grayish pearls — rather pretty but valueless.

He was hoping to get $250 for it. $100? No. $50? Sorry.

But, he said, he had paid $525 for it.

It really had almost no resale value, either as a whole piece or as individual pearls.

He was mighty disappointed and left to shop around. Late in the day, he came back. The answers he had gotten everywhere else were, manana.

Our pawnbroker offered him $10, more as an accommodation than anything else, as we really didn’t want it.

In the end, he kept his bauble.