Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Londammit: A pawn shop outing

I didn't think I'd be visiting a pawn shop within my first year of settling in London. Not because I wasn't aware of its ranking among the most expensive cities in the world, but rather because I'd taken preemptive action and sold all my belongings before moving here.

But today I did.

Inside everything was encased in bullet-proof glass, including the booth at the very back containing the service staff. To get there, I reluctantly walked the blinding gauntlet of disappointments, broken promises, and general golden woe – a long row of hawked engagement and wedding rings, anniversary gifts and heirlooms.

Visiting a pawn shop's not the most uplifting of things to do in London to be sure, yet judging by this one's extensive stock, it seems to be a popular one. But like I said, I've nothing left to sell, so I approached the woman with my passport, a working visa and an uncashed cheque – from my 5-week stint of being underpaid and overworked – that no British bank will accept. Not until I have a UK account, which they're more than happy to give me, just as soon as I've lived here for at least one year.

It's not that I don't want to stay in one of the world's most expensive cities that long, but if I'm going to, someone's going to have to give me money in the interim. So far that someone is the friendly neighbourhood pawn broker – my only ally. And all for as little as 5 per cent of my earnings, because they're cool like that.

And by cool, I mean they don't just know how to give it, but they can take it, too.

British banking bureacracy, you can kiss my boyfriend's tighty whities, and you can do it in front of Butt Textiles 2001.

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