President Biden has often touted how well the economy is doing, citing things like slowed inflation, more jobs, and higher wages. But inside some of Americas pawn shops, it tells a similar, yet different story.

“For the most part, its kind of like a fluctuating deal,” said Blake Vonrekowski, an employee at Catalina Pawn in Midtown.

He sees all kinds of people coming in for all kinds of things. And during tax season, its often a buying season at the locally-owned shop.

“People come in and buy really expensive things,” he said. “For example, someone can see like Oh I really like that Sentry Arms HK clone, I want to get that,'” he said while pointing to a firearm behind him.

According to a survey from, only four percent of people spend their tax refund on retail purchases compared to 28 percent who put it into savings.

For those who choose to splurge, Vonrekowski says once the tax money dries up, they often see some of the same items returning to the store.

“Tax season, everyones buying all of our stuff and we start selling items and accepting more of the same products. But once tax seasons over, then those items start to slowly make a return.”

Other pawn shops nearby told similar stories off-camera.

Some of the most popular items that get pawned include tools, guns, and jewelry. While items like firearms hold value over time and sell fast, its the less valuable items like bikes that create a catch-22 for those looking to get fast cash to pay bills and pawn shops looking to make a profit.

“At the end of the day, were a pawn shop and we need to buy at a reasonable price and sell at a reasonable price,” he said. “But if were sitting on too many of them, then were at the point where were offering 20 bucks for like a $900 bike.”