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Score! Having read about a ten-dollar scroll saw and a twenty-dollar recip saw, I’ve been watching for opportunities at pawn shops, and today my vigilance paid off.  I reeled in a 20′ Werner aluminum extension ladder, rated at 200lb — for $40.

I’d just stopped in at a pawn shop I’d never been in before and walked all the aisles, checking prices on a number of items I might be interested in owning: air tools, monster pry bars and lock/chain cutters, and fishing poles (of course). On my way out I checked the large-item cage where I saw the ladder, marked $49.

On confirming the price with one of the clerks, he offered that he would take $40 cash. I’d forgotten to bring cash, but he took $40 plus tax on credit card. Lesson for the day: Always carry cash in a pawn shop!

The closest street price for a similar ladder was at Sears for $100, but it’s out of stock for delivery.

20′ Aluminum Extension Ladder (200lb.) [Werner]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


12 Responses to Pawnshop Diving: Ladder

  1. kif says:

    Sweet deal. I think the Habitat for Humanity thrift stores are pretty good too, if you have one near your home. Often, when “toolmongers” go to collect their eternal reward, or when makers go to meet their maker, the garage portion of the estate ends up here. Wrenches, for example, are priced by their size. In my area its like $0.50/small, $0.75 medium, $1.00 large whether it is from Tiānjīn or Kenosha.

    I would need some sort of Helium suit before I could make use of a ladder rated at 200 lbs. There are so many hidden costs to beer and barbeque.

  2. J.R. Bluett says:

    I’ll be using the bucket and rope routine for gear, I’m borderline on the weight limit myself!

  3. Blair says:

    LOL at you guys, and me too,200 lbs. ladder might get a bit shaky at full extension on a breezy day, don’t ask how I know that…………

  4. Blair says:

    Forgot to add, J.R., don’t let the fact that we are over limit dim your enthusiasm for a great deal, nice find!

  5. douglas kwan says:

    a 200lb rated extension ladder is good for occasional use but if you are standing on it for any period of time they tend to be less than stable. yes i have tried it and it was in the rain trying to fix a satellite dish.

  6. kif says:

    No, I didn’t mean to dim enthusiasm for J.R.’s find at all – just lamenting the fact that I’ve “outgrown” the 200lb ladder. I used one at a Rebuilding Together day a few years ago and looked down at concerned onlookers who looked as though they were watching a bear ride a tricycle. I certainly could’ve used a 200 lb latter in my college days. ….. I think many of us can use this situation to relate better to our girlfriends/wives/(both?). Next time I’m in a home improvement outlet, I’m going to grab a 200 lb ladder and say “honey, does this ladder make me look fat?”

  7. dnut says:

    congrats on buying what was probably stolen goods from the side of someones house. But hey….you scored right?

  8. J.R. Bluett says:

    dnut, besides pawn shops, what else would you avoid so as not to purchase stolen goods? I am actually asking, I’d prefer not to encourage crime, but I’m also somewhat skeptical, a ladder isn’t exactly a crime of opportunity. It’s big enough that you’d have to know where you’re going with it so you don’t get questioned walking down the block with it, and if you’re going to plan out a theft there are higher yield targets.

  9. BC says:

    When it comes to pawnshops, you just have to hope that it’s not “hot.” There’s nothing you can really do to completely avoid it. On the bright side, a ladder doesn’t connect to the internet and report its location like the Playstation 3 – so you don’t really have to worry about the boys in blue busting down your door for possession of a stolen ladder.

  10. dnut says:

    I sell enough tools and ladders to know that they do walk from jobs and backyards. It’s such a crazy cycle that will never end until everyone stamps / engraves “do not pawn” on all tools and accessories. And when you shop pawn shops you are supporting the cycle. IT’s cheap, but at one time was probably someone elses unit.

  11. Coach James says:

    Where I live, once you report something stolen, the cops put it on their hot sheet and check pawn shops on a regular basis to compare their inventory against their hot sheets. When you pawn something here you have to show ID and the pawn broker writes it all down. Shops here don’t want stolen stuff because if it’s on the cops hot sheet, the cops will take it and the broker is out the money and goods. One broker in Raleigh lost several hundred dollars worth of stuff last year after the cops found it on their list. Most brokers here won’t touch something if they suspect it’s stolen.

  12. Zathrus says:

    It’s such a crazy cycle that will never end until everyone stamps / engraves “do not pawn” on all tools and accessories.

    Which won’t help a bit since they’ll still pawn it once they’ve lost their job and it’s either pawn/sell something or not eat/pay rent/mortgage.

    You act as if all the crap in pawn shops is stolen. Is some? Almost certainly. Is most? I doubt it.

    Coach James’s solution seems like a much more sane option, since then it gives the pawn brokers real incentive to self-police. I’m not sure how well it would work in big cities though.

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