Do we really need another pawnshop series?
With the number of pawnshop shows already out there, it’s a fair question to ask. But walking into Royal Pawn Shop on South Clark Street in Chicago and spending a little time with Wayne and Randy Cohen, it’s easy to see how inevitable it was that the genre would discover these two. Rich with the salt of the earth, the brothers are about to flavor the airwaves when truTV’s “Hardcore Pawn: Chicago” debuts Tuesday, Dec. 18.
The Cohens had noticed that shows such as “Pawn Stars” bore little resemblance to the business they’ve been in for decades. Wayne explains to Zap2it, “We never really had the idea [to do a show]. We didn’t want it to affect our business any. So eventually those [other pawn] shows came on and we wanted to show people the real pawnshops. We’re a real pawnshop. We’re none of that jive stuff.”
Wayne singles out “Pawn Stars” as an example. “That’s really not … I mean, they have their thing,” he concedes. “We’re different. We’re old-time pawnshop. … The kids down there in Vegas? They’re in the pawnshop for 20 years. To me, they’re rookies. They might get all kinds of cool stuff coming in there, but they don’t get the kind of stuff we get coming in here.”
“This guy had a glass eye,” Randy offers.
“True story,” Wayne confirms. “This guy used to come in, pop his eyeball out – ‘Let me get $20 on my eye today!’ He would pawn his eye.”
“He would do this all the time,” Randy continues. “At first, he’d pick it up — a fake eyeball. It was gross. I get fake teeth all the time. I’ve got them here right now.” (He does.)
But as strange as their business can be, and as unorthodox as their methods are, there’s a lot of heart in this family. It may not be like the heart of your family or mine, but it’s there, and between the snarking, snipes and dealing, this should be a pawn series like no other.