Desperate Lubbock drivers pawn personal items to buy gas

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) — According to Gas Buddy, the average gasoline price in Lubbock is over $4.50 a gallon. With rising prices, some drivers have to pawn their personal property just to buy gasoline.

Pawn Texas store manager Eilsel Garcia says people in need of quick cash are pawning their guns, electronics and sentimental jewelry.

“They come in and they pawn their personal items to help them and we’re here to help them,” Garcia said.

He says that every day more and more people are coming desperately for help, usually to refuel.

“People have to go to work sometimes and this morning I had a client come in and they were on ‘E’ and they pawned personal items to help out,” Garcia said. “So they’re really struggling.”

These objects can be tools, computers, telephones, game consoles or, as Garcia puts it, sometimes priceless heirlooms.

“Sometimes it’s an inheritance from their grandmother or their mother or even a wedding ring,” Garcia said.

Sometimes going somewhere is more important than the object. This was the case of Caitlyn Patterson, who was there trying to pawn her headphones, hoping to go see her family in case of an emergency.

“It’s a little dark, I have to go home to see my grandma, she probably won’t make it,” Patterson said. “She’s been in the hospital for a few days.”

When asked how much money she hoped to get, she said whatever she could get, because anything would help.

Chief Executive Irene Longoria says sometimes people don’t want to ask for help.

“That’s the stigma of walking into a pawn shop,” Longoria said. “Many people are afraid to come to a pawnshop or they are embarrassed to walk into the pawnshop.”

While pawning and selling are up, Longoria says buying is down. She says the store is overflowing with goods.

“Our sales went down a bit,” Longoria says. “We try to make the counters work, but yes, we see our sales drop a little, our merchandise increases quite a bit.”

Longoria says the store held promotional sales to sell some of this merchandise so employees can continue to help people. She encourages anyone who comes with an item to specify the amount of money you need, so they can work with you as much as possible.

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