I’ve Got Frank Sinatra’s Storage Unit Contents For $10,000

There’s a show about a family pawn shop business that my kids and I are hooked on. It stars an old man with his signature lid fedora who says, “In my day” a lot. There’s an eager-for-daddy’s-approval 50ish year old son, a late 20 ish son of the man with the daddy fixation, who tantrums and acts out daily because granpappy and dad won’t give him a legal cut of the biz, and his stoner friend he’s known since kindergarten.

Pretty much the show is about delusions. People imagining great things for themselves like a golden ticket found in an estate sale or in Great Aunt Betty’s attic. They imagine, they believe, they are lied to. At other times, they are the ones doing the outright lying.

Everyone who is looking for their dream ship to come in, walks into the pawn shop. But these people act as if they have no idea what a pawn shop is. I knew a guy in college who had to visit pawn shops. I hope that dark day never occurs in my children’s lives.

These poor devils come in with an armload of  hopes and an even bigger amount of mistaken religion. The church of JUST MAYBE THIS IS WORTH A MILLION DOLLARS. You see them practically trip as they run their cash cow up to the glass counter, oh, yes, they are humming and whistling “Lady luck be my lady tonight.” It’s Las Vegas after all — the city of windfalls.

But as the saying goes, if you come in with Bill Clinton’s lawnmower, doesn’t matter that it’s Bill Clinton’s lawnmower, it’s still a lawnmower.

The show is a huge hit, because of priceless dialogue like this:

“So, what you got here?”

“Uh, it’s a hunnerd years old and it’s from my great grampa and he used it to save his life in the civil war.”

“A hundred years old? The civil war ended in April 9, 1865. How do ya figure it’s from the civil war if it’s only a hundred years old?”

“Uh. Well, my grampa’s not a liar, so it’s true.”

“Thought you said it was your great grampa.”

“Um, yeah. I forget. Yeah, my great grampa. Anyway it’s a hunnerd years old and it’s from the civil war and it’s worth a lot of money.”

“But what is it?”

“It’s a thing he used to save his life in the civil war.”

“Yeah, you said that. But is it a weapon? A gun? A bayonet? Looks like a pile of junk to me. ”

“Well, but if you put it together and stuff you’ll see what it is. And that it’s worth a lot of money.”

“But I need to know what it is before I can call someone in to put it together.”

And so it goes. Customers enter with stars in their eyes and supposed old sets of car keys that once belonged to some dead rock star in their hands. Or, as in one episode, Frank Sinatra’s garbage.

“So, what you got here?”

“Frank Sinatra’s garbage.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“My dad was a garbage man in the ’60′s and he got this from Frank Sinatra’s garbage dumpster.”

“Can you prove it? Looks like just a bunch of VHS tapes to me. Of Gunsmoke.”

“My dad said it was Frank Sinatra’s garbage.”

“Can you prove it?”

And then the usual turn of the show here is that the customer is insulted by what he hears is his father being called a liar.

“You callin’ my dad a liar? He’s a good honest man and you’re callin’ him a liar.”

From this point on, the shop owner clarifies he is calling no one a liar, but just needs a certificate of authenticity to prove the Gunsmoke VHS tapes were once Frankie’s. The hopeful gives up and says that well, he can’t prove it, but if they were? Can he get ten thousand bucks for ‘em?

“No. You can’t get ten thousand bucks for them.”

“Why not? They’re Frank Sinatra’s.”

“Because they’re still garbage. And VHS tapes of Gunsmoke. And nothing else.”

“Okay then, I’ll take 50 bucks for them.”

“They’re still just VHS tapes. I don’t care who owned them. Thanks for coming in.”

“Wait, can you call in an expert?”

The expert is an integral part of the show. Sometimes called “a buddy of mine” by the pawn shop guys.  The pawn shop buddy dabbles in every single kind of collectible there is. These guys are so deep into their world that when they do get called in and it is a rare pay dirt day, say an authentic hand written post card from Charles Lindbergh, well these guys quake and you see it in their hands, like in this following episode:

“So, what you got here?”

“My mom’s aunt said it’s a card signed by Thomas Edison.”

“I can’t believe I’m touching Thomas Edison’s business card, with his original signature.”

“How much can I get fer it? A hunnerd bucks?”

“Well, if I can authenticate it, you could be looking at 5 or 600 dollars.”


“So, how much you want for this?”

“Six hunnerd bucks.”

“But you just asked for a hundred bucks.”

“I changed my mind.”

The show ends in the customer acting disappointed at the price settled on in the store, but when they’re interviewed in the parking lot after the “paperwork is filled out”  these guys are grinning like the cat who ate the canary. “I’M SO STOKED I TOTALLY GYPPED THEM GUYS CUZ I BOUGHT THIS FOR THREE BUCKS AT A GARAGE SALE. YEAH, I FEEL SO GOOD ABOUT TODAY.”

You think you won’t watch again, but then they bait you with scenes from the next episode: 3:30 a.m. on a Friday night. There’s rapid tapping in the locked shop window. It’s a guy named “Franky” holding a blinged out Rolex in front of the camera. He’s saying, “long story short it was a gift from a guy that owed me some money. I need five grand.”

“I’ll give you 3.”


“2 and a half.”

“Screw dat. Look at dis bling.”

“The bling is bad. Means the watch face has been changed.”



“Shit, I can’t take 2.”

“Buddy, it’s almost 4 in the morning. Who else is gonna give you 2 grand cash at this time of the night? In Vegas.”

“I’ll take it.”

And take it we do. They got us.

We’ll be back next week.

And the week after that…

Photo Credit: Sarah&Boston via photopin cc

About Alexandra

Alexandra is a writer who has found the secret to getting rich as a blogger that she'll share with you for just $9.99. When not taking her checks to the bank, Alexandra blogs at Good Day Regular People about life as an overanalyzing mother of three boys trying to go unnoticed in her small town. The most important things you need to know about her are that the internet saves her daily and that she believes the most you can ask for in life is to arrive at the end of it all with your hair messed up, out of breath, and not throwing up. Alexandra is a contributing writer for TikiTikiblog and FunnynotSlutty.


  1. Suzie M says:

    I end up stuck watching marathons of this show. It’s crazy! Though, admittedly, I was pretty awestruck that some guy had Edison’s book of Alchemy in his personal library. I mean, damn. That’s just cool!

  2. DG says:

    Oh great, now I have something else to watch. i am a weak willed vidiot with a taste for watching trashy folks do their trashy thing. This sounds like must see TV.

  3. Ms. A says:

    Hubby is a fan… I’m not. Good thing he has his own TV, in another room.

  4. My family is hooked on Pawn Stars too. I love the middle-generation’s guy laugh. Such a smoker’s laugh. Guess that’s not politically correct to say, but what is politically correct in Vegas?

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  5. Cecilia says:

    I am so out of the loop – I have never heard of this show! My 9 year old would love it, but not sure if I should bring it to his attention…next thing I know he’ll be rounding stuff up from our house and trying to cast it off with some erroneous history factoid…

  6. Linda Roy says:

    This sounds good! I’m going to check it out. Always looking for something to watch with the kids. Recently it’s been Rehab Addict on HGTV. I love that you wrote about Pawn Stars this week and I wrote about Rehab Addict. Keeping the masses informed on the “old is new again” front, we are! ;)

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