Tough Economy Forces Some to Pawn Their Grillz

A tough economy can make goods cost an arm and a left...or your front teeth.
A tough economy can make goods cost an arm and a left...or your front teeth.

The tough economy has people taking drastic measures to pay the bills these days.

While some have been pawning-off old coins or jewelry, others are apparently opening their mouths and saying "ahh".

Angel Gamble has been pawning off a little jewelry here and there to help make ends meet.

Still, Angel's most valuable asset may literally be right under her nose, in her mouth: two gold teeth.

For a growing number of people, it has come to that point.

Instead of flashing that grill, they're cashing it in, sometimes getting as much as $50 for those precious-metal molars.

"We're amazed, but it's part of the business," said Ralph DeSantis, who operates the E-Z Cash Pawn Shop in West Palm Beach.
He says a couple of years ago you'd have never seen such a thing.

"Now it's a little more frequent than it was two years ago. Yes, there's no question about that," DeSantis said.

On the streets, plenty of people are still keeping their money where their mouth is.

Willie Williams says giving up his grill would be a last resort, and you'd have to give him more than $50.

But DeSantis says from his side of the counter, more people may soon be willing to pawn that million dollar smile for a lot less.

The economy is clearly taking a bite out of people's wallets, to the point of dental desperation.

"I expect to see a lot more. A whole lot more. It's not getting better. It's getting worse," said DeSantis.

Whether it's a grill or even a regular piece of jewelry, pawn shop operators say customers often think they can get more money for an item than it's worth.