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In Hard Times, Higher-End Items Get Pawned

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In Hard Times, Higher-End Items Get Pawned

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In Hard Times, Higher-End Items Get Pawned

In Hard Times, Higher-End Items Get Pawned

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Business is up at the Silver Lining Jewelry and Loan in Portland, Ore. Customers are selling everything from jewelry to television sets. The Oregonian newspaper reports that a woman even pawned her diamond wedding ring to help pay for gas and car parts.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Business is bad all over, but not at Silver Lining Jewelry and Loan in Portland, Oregon. Owners there say business is good, with most of their customers pawning a TV or piece of jewelry just to pay a light or phone bill. Earl Oller, who owns the store, told the Oregonian newspaper this is a true recession. People are just borrowing to stay afloat. People get a loan against whatever they bring in and have 90 days to repay it with interest. One recent morning, the newspaper found a man named Gary(ph) who's brought in a diamond ring every month since January. I wear it two weeks, then they get it, he said. It's a sad statement, but gas is crazy. I have to rob Peter to pay Paul.

A woman named Laura(ph) pawned her diamond wedding ring. She works at a hospital. Her 20-year-old son can't find work, and her 15-year-old eats like a teenager, so she's pawned her rings twice this year to pay for gas and car parts. Mr. Oller tells his employees to ask borrowers how much money they'd need, not what they want, so they're more likely to pay back the loan and recover what's precious.

(Soundbite of song "Come and Get Your Happiness")

SHIRLEY TEMPLE: (Singing) Where you were Jill's and Jack. In raggy britches there's a lot of riches, On which you don't pay any income tax. So get under their blue heaven. Away from trouble and distress...

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