ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The tough economy is turning people's personal belongings into their last remaining lifelines.
In Albuquerque, ground zero in this emerging trend are pawn shops, and business has been booming all over the city.
And at Doc Holidays Hock Shop in northeast Albuquerque, booming business is not always a good thing. Owner Mark West said he's buying a lot more than he's selling.
"I'm full," West said. "My store is about to bust at the seams."
Chris Todd is one of those desperate customers. The long-time wine maker recently lost his job. He showed up at West's pawn shop with 15 watches he's collected over the years, as well as a few pieces of silver. He said he needed $200 to help cover his rent.
"I'm liquidating everything," Todd said. "If I can get enough money to get back to California where I've got family, that's what I'm going to do."
He said he's tried to sell many of his items on Craigslist but because there are so many people doing the same thing, they didn't sell. So he came to Doc Holidays. But West could only offer him $100.
Leo Rodriguez came into the store to hawk his snowboard and computer. West didn't take the computer because it was too old and didn't have a camera, and he could only give Rodriguez $20 for the snowboard.
"I'm actually getting a loan on my snowboard because times are tough and I need the extra cash," Rodriguez said.
West said he's finding that buyers are looking for better bargains than he's offering. He said people are looking for deals on jewelry, tools and TVs.
"It's a double whammy for me because I still have money going out but none coming in," West said.
Still, he said it's not a lot fun to deny people money these days.
"You know, it's hard to turn people down," West said. "Especially when they're needing something like diapers or food."
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