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Economy’s great — for pawnshops

The Dow is back over 13,000, the dollar is up against the Euro for the first time in three years — but down here on Main Street, things aren’t quite as rosy:

Carin Dillingham handed over her watch to the pawnbrokers at Society Hill Loan as if she were giving up one of her bones.

The 30-year-old bookkeeper stood pregnant, broke and sad under rows of pawned guitars hanging like curing hams from the ceiling of the ragged South Street shop. She got a $20 loan for her $200 Bulova, a gift from the Harley-Davidson Co., where she used to work.

“It feels so weird,” said Dillingham. “I worked hard for this watch. I’m middle-class, not poor. I can’t believe I have to do this to buy gas.”
“People are cleaning out their houses of gold, silver, whatever, to get money just to fill their cars with gas,” said Nat Leonard, 51, whose grandfather opened Society Hill in 1929. “People are pawning out like crazy.”
“I’ve got business owners coming in to pawn things just to make their payrolls,” Leonard said, incredulous. “I’ve never seen that before.”

Ben Bernanke won’t call this a recession. Maybe he should get off Wall Street and come visit us out here in the real world.

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