From Pawn To Pump

5/1/2008 Fresno, CA Valley residents are selling family jewelry, electronics and furniture to make financial ends meet. And as gas prices hit another average record high Thursday--- $3.94 a gallon, one person Action News spoke to said it was time to part with a family heirloom.

"Partner. Question I can answer or help?" said Jim West to a customer who responded "I wanna pawn my father's ring,"

This customer said pawning his father's ring is the only way to help put food on the table and allow him to fill up his car with gas. "Price of gas is crazy. I ran out of gas on the way here. I put my last 5 bucks in across the street," he said.

Across the street gas is $3.83 a gallon. That's low because in other parts of the Valley gas is over $4 a gallon.

Gateway Pawn shop owner Jim West said people are barely making it to his Clovis store to pawn their goods.

"In the last week we've experienced an extreme amount of people coming in that are out of gas. Running out of gas before they can make it to the door," said West.

West said most of his customers enter his store with electronics and tools and even family jewelry such as gold and wedding sets with diamonds. "That's their security. If something goes wrong that's what they use to get by. You know they're living check to check and gas prices go up and it's hard to get by."

Some Valley drivers Action News spoke with said they're not ready to part with their valuables. However Jack Barkley said if gas prices continue to rise he would consider visiting a pawn shop. "If it comes to that absolutely. I might have to. Don't know," Barkley stated with some uncertainty.

In the quest to turn personal property into gas money local consignment shops have also helped drivers lessen the pinch at the pump. The Consignment Cottage owner Roseanne Guaglianone said, "With prices going up for everything, people are looking for way to make money on the side in addition to their incomes."

Gateway Pawn shop holds items for 4 months and most customers buy back their items after paying a small interest.

The man who pawned off his father's ring told Action News, before leaving, he would return in a few weeks to buy the ring back.

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