Hello everyone. A couple days ago, Empress stated that she would like to have some guest bloggers to talk about some shows on TV. I assume non HW related. Honestly I come here to get a break from reading about housewives so I volunteered and she accepted my offer by giving me Author status. This is as much a test as it is my first blog here. For the remainder of the seasons, I will be recapping Celebrity Apprentice and American Idol. Look for the recaps on Monday and Friday of any given week. I hope you enjoy them. I have no intention of stepping on Empress’ toes here and the second it appears I am, I’m done. I respect Empress, and this is first and foremost, Her blog.
The question in my title pertains to a show on TrueTV that is based around a Detroit business. Truthfully, the only reason I watch it is because of the local connection. The show is Hardcore Pawn. It is about a pawn shop owner who has been in business here for more than 40 years. He has brought both of his kids into the business and I think his wife as well at times. As featured on the show, this is his main store of the last 7 or so years is an old bowling ally on the Detroit side of 8 mile road (on some maps, it may be referred to as Baseline Road). The name of the place is American Jewelery and Loan.
Siidebar- When I see the word, ‘American’ in a business title, I typically think Arab owned. That’s not meant to be a derogatory statement but one of fact. Greater than 90% of the businesses in the Detroit area with the word American in the name, ARE Arab owned. Southeast Michigan has one of the largest Arab populations in the United States. Not that it really matters but this business happens to be Jewish owned. -End Sidebar
The main proprietor is Les Gold. He runs the place with his son and daughter, Seth and Ashley. I’m not recapping this show because I doubt anyone cares that much about a pawn shop show recap.
On the show, we see people bringing in some of the craziest stuff to try and either pawn, or sell. Sometimes the transactions go smoothly but the ones they mainly show on the program, do not. These particular transactions usually end with the security team bum rushing the ‘customer’ out of the door. The clips are usually followed by Les or one of the kids stating, if you want to do business there, do so respectfully and it’ll be smooth. Sounds reasonable to me. Ashley isn’t always on the show because she does have a family and isn’t always working at the store. Seth, is the main secondary character most times. When we Do see Ashley it’s almost guaranteed that she will be called a bitch by some customer, followed by the customer getting tossed out of the store. With Les and Seth, it’s Eff You, MF this, MF that, and people basically demanding what price they are going to get and that the staff at HC Pawn IS going to pay it. Those people get the boot as well. Les, Seth, and Ashley all give back as good as they get… With their 6’8 300 pound bouncer standing behind the customer.
Now, I’ve been to this place twice. Once in winter 2011 and again this past winter. The first time I was there, TrueTV was there filming. The second time, they were not (and I saw no drama either time). I couldn’t tell you when what I saw being filmed was aired and don’t even know if it was. It was all pretty mundane. The second time, I Did see people ask to meet Les, Seth, and Ashley but she wasn’t there. Les and Seth came out, met the people, took photos with them, you know, touristy stuff. I think these people said they were from West Virginia. Doesn’t matter, just that was probably the most exciting part of the second visit to see.
AJ&P is touted as a 50,000 square foot business but probably 40,000 of that is used for storage and will never be seen by the public. They also do internet sales (Seth’s main part of the business) but I’ve never seen anything on the their site to get excited about. The showroom is typical pawnshop. Counters full of mostly cheap gaudy jewelery (the good stuff is kept locked up), piles of used electronics that have probably been there since the stone age, used tools, and the like. My main interest in going in there last time was to find a guitar. Don’t bother folks, the selection is slim at best as, again, the better stuff is kept in the back. The first time I went in there, I was looking for a watch but couldn’t get anyone to help me. I think they were all standing around waiting for someone who Looked like they could afford anything in the store before they moved. I do not, just for the record, appear to have two nickels to rub together. Silly them. I do that on purpose. Even at the music counter, which is a complete hot mess of stuff I would be embarrassed to even put out in the trash, it took 20 minutes to get someone to try and help me.
Anyway, When the film crew was there, I noticed several transactions being filmed. I think there were two camera crews working the floor. What I saw shouldn’t surprise anyone. You have the camera guy recording the footage, the sound guy holding the microphone, and a ‘producer’ nearby. Once the transaction is finished, the producer chases the customer down with a release form. You see, they cannot use Any of it without that release or blurring faces. Bystanders are not asked to sign a release, it is understood by signage at the door, you are giving permission to be shown just by walking into the store. To be Featured however, they need the release. So, as I noted above, some of these transactions get crazy and even nearly violent. These transactions supposedly take place BEFORE a release is signed. There is no money offered for the release, only the chance to be shown on the boob tube. In some cases that are typically aired, shown acting a fool and being made to look like a complete sucker for their behavior. That brings me to the question in my title, IS it Real? I often state, that these program editors can only use what they are given. Particularly in the Housewives shows. Same with a show such as Hardcore Pawn. However, this show, does Not paint some people in a good light and by signing that release, they Allow it to be shown. Are these ‘altercations’ Real, or are they staged for the benefit of television?