– Inside Edition Staff
The owner of a Las Vegas pawn shop says he’s seen a surge in customers bringing in personal items amid the partial government shutdown.
Michael Mack, owner of Max Pawn, says he knows they’re government workers the moment they enter his store.
“They walk in and you can see they’re not sure if they should be there or not,” he told Inside Edition. “It’s a hard thing for government workers and all people who are looking to get a pawn loan because it’s embarrassing in a sense.”
After customers bring in items to be pawned, shops give them a certain amount of money as a loan, which they have to pay with interest in a specified time period. In Nevada, the loan must be paid back within four months. If the money is paid back, the customer will have their item returned. If it is not, the pawn shop can sell it at a price they set.
Mack said furloughed workers are coming in to his store to sell a variety of personal items.
“On Christmas Eve we had a government worker come in, a lady, and she was bringing in her mother’s wedding ring,” he said. “She was going to pay for her Christmas dinner and one last gift she needed to buy that night.”
Some other workers brought in Christmas presents after the start of the new year, such as one person who brought in an iPad Pro.
Looking at a pair of Louis Vuitton boots still in their box, he said, “The person got a $500 loan on them and I’m sure they’ll be back.”
Mack said he’s offering government workers interest-free loans during the duration of the crisis.
“It’s a way to give back,” he said.
The partial government shutdown began in December when President Trump demanded more than $5 billion to finance his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and Democrats refused to agree.
Around 800,000 federal employees across the U.S. have been working without pay since Dec. 21 and won’t be compensated until the shutdown ends. At 33 days, it is the longest shutdown in U.S. history.
Some affected workers previously told Inside Edition they’ve been forced to get second jobs to tide them over, including becoming Uber drivers and bartenders.
Restaurants across the country are offering free food to furloughed federal employees. Some eateries are offering “shut down specials,” including Java Joe’s Café in Michigan, which is offering free breakfast and lunch to furloughed federal workers.