For more than four decades, P&J Pawn of Dallas has served as both store and lender.
“As far back as I can remember, we’ve been helping people in this neighborhood,” owner Patrick Wade said. “There are so many people on fixed incomes getting their checks, and there’s a little more in the month than there are checks.”
Wade said he’s served some families over several generations looking for a little extra cash, making his business a bit of an economic barometer as inflation hit a 40-year high.
“Gasoline and groceries are part of everyday life. I have to feed my family. I can’t get to work,” Wade said when asked what he hears from customers.
Year over year, he said the number of customers seeking loans has increased by more than 50%.
“It’s quite unprecedented. We have more things happening every day than we’ve ever seen. What we call drawdowns, which is when someone doesn’t pay, it goes up, which lowers the cost of goods,” he said.
According to Wade, while sales are down slightly, there’s an average of about 30 people a day pawning or selling.
“Just to pawn my game, just to earn a few bucks to go north,” said customer Phillip Thompson.
In a few days, Thompson said he would be on a bus to Washington to join his girlfriend and take a better paying job. Here at home, he said several family members lamented the rising costs.
“We’re going to go from two or three dollars a gallon to four or five dollars a gallon. That’s a dramatic change,” he said.
Until he comes down, Wade said his doors remain open to all families looking for new ways to cope.
“That’s why I love this job. I’ve been able to help people every day for the past 34 years,” Wade said.