Edit: Pay stubs have been sent to the mods. Awaiting verification.

Edit2: I'm tired. So I'll answer one more question that should have been asked but wasn't. Johnathan Taylor Thomas was my favorite Hanson brother. Now lets all ride that warm wave of nostalgia to sleep. YEAHHHHH.....

Comments: 1179 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

JoeNegron962 karma

I have a question myself that I never quite understood. So I bought peoples gold at between 15-30% of its value.. how the fuck does one get actual value for their gold? I know this is my AMA, but dammit, I have questions too!

MichaelDRennie145 karma


JoeNegron74 karma

Can't argue with that. I guess a lot of people figure its not worth the gas money to get a slightly different offer, but I have heard of places around here giving much more than we did. When people were unimpressed with my offers I would often refer them to pawn shops I had heard good things about. Unfortunately the deals you speak of are nowhere to be found around here as far as I know.

scumbag-reddit45 karma

My dad works with gold, and sells the gold dust he has leftover directly to a gold smith.

JoeNegron232 karma

I wish someone would have sold me gold dust. I may have attempted to buy it directly. Sounds magical. I would sprinkle it on my steaks.

JessieAMorris35 karma

Where I live the place I go to is a refinery. Cascade Refinery. They pay about 10% below spot price, usually. And they purchase circuit boards for 2.30 a pound too!

JoeNegron30 karma

Wish I knew a circuit board buyer :(

yoinkmasta107213 karma

If your beloved family member was about to head to one of those stores to sell some of her jewelry, what would you tell them?

JoeNegron325 karma

I would tell them they are going to get ripped off and to try to find the money ANYWHERE else unless they were just completely desperate.

donuteatme44 karma

Is the return at that retailer similar to one of those mail-in gold buyers, or is it at least better than that?


JoeNegron69 karma

If you average the three discussed, I'd say about the same.

Frajer198 karma

Do people really just have all that gold lying around their house?

JoeNegron476 karma

Well some do. A lot of people brought in gold from prior relationships and whatnot. A lot was stolen from grandma. I once had a couple come in and sell me their wedding rings off of their fingers. Awkward.

dandysan171 karma

Are you judging people who sell their gold? I sold some broken stuff and odd earrings and I felt paranoid that I was being judged for some reason.

JoeNegron278 karma

Absolutely. I tried not to personally, but we were trained to do so, and our "adjustments" were monitored. If someone looked like a normal individual I would typically give them as much as I could without getting canned, but if someone came in with face tatoos, which was a large portion, we were supposed to undercut them as much as possible. The reasoning was that a lot of the gold we recieved was stolen, and we got pretty much 0% of that money back. It is true that typically the sketchier looking folks sold us the stuff that came back stolen.

goodmansaul97 karma

How come you got 0% on stolen property - can't you just melt it down? How does anyone it is stolen?

JoeNegron216 karma

We were required to hold items for 30 days and report all sales to an online law enforcement website. We were always offered restitution by the police, but only received about 70$ per 30-40k$ of stolen property as most people who steal gold do not have jobs or money.

realgenius1339 karma

So what % of transactions for your store overall would you say were stolen property that the store ultimately ended up getting the shaft on?

Also did the store have any practices designed to disguise jewelry that was probably stolen? Did you submit pictures of the purchases to the police website or just a description? I mean if it's just a description that seems really easy to cheat.

I mean since you have to hold the items for 30 days this almost seems like it could be seen as very short term investing and the difference between the price paid to the customer and the "spot" price is the effective interest rate. In this case the interest rate is heavily affected by the probability that the goods are stolen.

JoeNegron78 karma

I'd say somewhere around 8%. I know thats specific, but I really don't feel comfortable with either 5 or 10%. Pretty much none of the money was ever recovered. The store never had those types of practices that I'm aware of. Everything was entered online to law enforcement as legally required and all records kept for the required amount of time. I know I never personally attempted to conceal anything. Not that I didn't witness a bit of extortion. One family had had an old silver pitcher, a family heirloom, stolen by their son and sold to us for $300. My boss made me charge them $600 to buy it back. I've never since given such a heartfelt apology to anyone, and given the circumstances, they couldn't have been nicer about it. I suppose what you say regarding the stolen items being somewhat of a justification for the profit margins, but I do believe its a little excessive. That's just my opinion. To each his own.

[deleted]98 karma

Whats the actual exchange value that is given to the customer vs. how much the store sells the gold for?

JoeNegron134 karma

Well I would say we gave about 30% of "spot" price, which is the current price of gold. Thing is we very rarely updated our spot and it was always lower than actual value.

PuhPuhPsh59 karma

wow, that's awful....was thinking about selling it there once too

JoeNegron114 karma

Really, your best bet is a pawn shop. They pay you more for the value of the jewelry rather than just the value of the scrap gold.

PuhPuhPsh55 karma

I actually had a 1oz bar

JoeNegron60 karma

We would most likely offer you a maximum of $700, which is less than half the value. .999 gold went for a lot more as it could be traded directly. I wish I knew where you could have sold it for market value, but I do not.

Senor_Wilson43 karma

Which is ridiculous because you can sell an ounce of gold pretty easily for less than $50 under spot. People are dumb :\

JoeNegron50 karma

More like desperate. To whom can one sell gold for this price?

coastalbrad13 karma

What if I said $1200 take it or leave it? Would you be allowed to personally buy it?

I would never sell for less than spot in a rising market if I had a bar.

JoeNegron15 karma

I'd probably leave it. I'd call my boss, and anything above a 50% adjustment he probably wouldnt take on any amount of gold. Well, I'll go 60%. Even at 100% adjustment one makes around 75% of spot, so I never understood that system so well.

RBI_Guy84 karma

I see so many of these places around, but I have never actually seen anyone in them. How many customers would you see in a day?

JoeNegron354 karma

I worked 11 hour shifts and would get anywhere between 0 and 5 customers a day. A good day for me was getting 0 customers and getting to jerk off 2-3 times undisturbed. Most of my shifts were at a store in the mall, however, so I had to settle for shooting heroin in the bathroom.

DerekStu304 karma

That escalated quickly.

JoeNegron99 karma

Upvote for Anchorman reference. Subject to revocation if you reveal this is not an Anchorman reference.

NeinNeinNein51 karma

Heroin? ಠ_ಠ

JoeNegron179 karma

Hey man, you try sitting on a stool in the middle of a dying mall for 11 hours a day. It was admittedly a dark time in my life and I'm proud to say I've moved past it.

ArmoredHobo36 karma

Shot in the dark: Is there a tattoo parlor, Arby's, and Sears in your mall, with a McDonalds straight across from it and a Walmart straight across the road from the mall and McDonald's?

JoeNegron24 karma

They have store in three malls around here and I don't think that's one of them. They operate mostly in Tennessee if that helps at all.

JoeNegron67 karma

Also: Visualize masturbating to the sound of old man farts 2 feet away. Heroin's starting to sound pretty good, isn't it?

Arlyan20 karma

Remembering the withdrawals, I would rather have the gaseous soundtrack.

JoeNegron34 karma

Can't argue with that. A needle broke off in my arm a few months ago and its just starting to work its way out. Maybe fecal masturbation IS better than some things.

730358 karma

Do you watch South Park, and have you seen the episode that relates to jewelry pawn shops? If so, to what extent was the episode accurate?

JoeNegron109 karma

Its been a while since I've seen it. We had a sign spinner part of the time, and denied responsibility whenever possible for shit that went wrong. Poor sign spinner. Dude stood outside for 8 hours in the middle of June. Boss told me to let him know if he slowed down at all and to make sure he was working hard. He was allowed two fifteen minute breaks.... I told him to take as many as he needed and had hour long conversations with him because I know I'd feel like I was in hell doing that job.

adeason7 karma

First sorry for the las comment I didn't see any on my browser. Second, there is a dude that works at the we buy gold place where I live who holds a sign around his neck. Been doing it at least 2 years.

JoeNegron47 karma

That's crazy man. One day and this dude was sunburned to hell and had blisters all over his hands. I commend this fellows work ethic. Worst part was just sitting inside the nice cool AC-having store watching him burn and embarrass himself in the hot summer sun. It wore on my conscious and I lost a lost some sleep over it. Hard to sleep at day when you know the dude outside makes the same amount of money as you and does way more shit.

Gouws549 karma

Most Desperate Customer?

JoeNegron84 karma

Definitely the married couple selling the rings off their fingers. Also had a guy bring me a gold chain he had bought at the jewelry story in the same mall i worked in on the same day. Had the receipt and everything. Credit card fraud maybe?

Finn1444 karma

Could I get meat instead of money?

JoeNegron178 karma

I called that the ladies special.

commentsurfer37 karma

Do you really buy gold?

JoeNegron32 karma

I did..But I got fired :(

noname930028 karma


JoeNegron79 karma

Well, that's a boring story. Enjoy. Every day since I had been working there (6 months) I worked from 10am to 9pm. One day I was scheduled to work on our state's tax-free weekend, and the mall opened at 9, so I was scheduled from 9am to 10pm. Well I forgot and came in at 10. We have to log in to skype as soon as we come in, and nobody said a goddamn thing to me about it all day, so I wrote down 9-10 on my shift log. Two weeks later, my boss shows up at the end of my shift and tells me I'd committed a "cardinal sin" and that we would have to part ways. Not a smart move by any means on my end, but I was a little surprised that that was all it took. I typically gave more money than most of my co-workers which could have contributed. I'll honestly never know. The owner had come by my store just a week earlier, and made a point to remind me to ask people if they've ever sold gold before, and that if they say no then I should "offer less because they don't know what to expect." Who knows though really.

Miracle_Max_1330 karma

What is the most expensive item your store has ever purchased? Do any customers have interesting stories about why they have to sell their stuff? Does anybody ever try to sell you told painted rocks as a joke? Is the security on the employees very tight? What is the most interesting item your store has purchased?

JoeNegron57 karma

Most of our big buys came from multiple items in one transaction. I personally only paid out about $700 at once. We operated around 19 stores, and I had heard of $6,000 buys. Usually older folks with large gold coin collections. We tested any piece of gold that didn't seem "right". I wouldn't say that anyone ever really joked around with us, but there was definitely a lot of fake shit. I'd say the stories are more sad than interesting. One fellow was a truck driver who needed to money to make the trip to see his daughter in the hospital. It was almost always actually for drugs.

collapsible_chopstix82 karma

How did you respond to fake gold? Did you write them a letter?

JoeNegron33 karma

Nah, I was like, hey, this one's probably fake. Sorry man, better luck next time.

snakeseare27 karma

What's the rate they give? I hear it's something like 10% of the actual value of the gold.

JoeNegron56 karma

Around 30% if you're lucky. Our biggest asset were our attractive female employees. Their adjustments were MUCH lower on average. It seems like people will take just about any offer from a hot young blonde.

[deleted]24 karma


JoeNegron71 karma

They have not. They have, however tried to sell me electric heaters with videos of a fire on loop.

PAULOLOL21 karma

What happens to the gold items, jewelry for instance, after you buy it from us. I heard that it all gets smelted down, therefore is untraceable. Is this true?

JoeNegron31 karma

You are absolutely right. Although there is a waiting period of 30 days, and we have to submit records to law enforcement. The whereabouts of the diamonds and other stones where always sort of kept a secret. "No market for diamonds" my boss always told me. Sounds legit.

That_Big_Lesh20 karma

I was in the jewelry business (my mom's boyfriend works as a bench jeweler and hired me to clean jewelry and his desk) I collected a LOT of gold dust from his work desk and the personal one at home. Do those places buy those?

JoeNegron31 karma

They would likely buy it buy weight. If they give you hell, tell them to just sprinkle some on the damn slate board thing and acid test it. I know I'd buy it.

kabukistar18 karma

What's the worst you've ripped somebody off? Have you ever felt bad about a deal where you gave somebody significantly less than what their gold was worth?

JoeNegron27 karma

I felt bad about nearly every deal. I never ripped anyone off too badly. If they had face tatoos or bloodshot eyes they would usually get less. Its just common sense people.

ramasule13 karma

JoeNegron14 karma

This is probably why I felt great relief the moment I was let go.

fishboner12 karma

Just wondering, were there tests for how pure the gold was in your shop, or can people pull the sneaky and sell you a gold plated ring as 22 or so carat by being crafty/deceptive/fraudulent?

JoeNegron32 karma

Nope, we did acid tests. We would essentially scratch the jewelry or teeth or whatever on what I could only conceive was a plate of slate and glass. We poured various solutions of nitric and hydrocloric acid into the crevices, and if the gold dissolved, you knew it was either a lesser carat than the acid solution could dissolve, or it had no gold at all. With plated things you could typically watch the plate for a few seconds and the gold would dissolve more slowly. It was always important to get deep scratches because of the plated stuff. Magnets helped out a lot when customers had a large number of items. Gold isn't magnet, as is silver. Most counterfeits were made with magnetic metals, so that helped us avoid wasting a lot of time with testing.

hammertime0611 karma

If I wanted the market value for my gold, where is the best place for me to go? Let's say I wanted to start a gold buying business, to whom would I sell the gold I underpaid for?

JoeNegron18 karma

As an individual I have no idea where you would get market value. Every time I listen to talk radio I hear these conservative folks hocking gold. There's no way to get rid of it. Its all a giant scam. If you're able to get ahold of enough of it, as you are speaking of, you would sell it to a refinery for about 90-95% market value. My company eventually bought all the equipment and set up their own refinery. This enabled them to buy out several other gold stores.

bobo4189 karma

Do you know how these stores choose a location? I mean, what kind of research do they do? Every time a new one springs up in a neighborhood I'm living in I feel sad. As if it's a sign that there are significant numbers of hopeless, desperate people around for these shops to prey on. Do they search for low income, high rise apts, crime rate, education levels, etc?

JoeNegron11 karma

I never made any of those decisions, so I'm not entirely sure. But from what I inferred we mostly focused on population density vs number of local competitors. I live in the south, and desperate people are in abundance in most cities. The last store we opened was actually in my own home town which wasn't exactly a bastion of hopelessness, but the county and surrounding cities were some of the top meth-producers in the nation. We tried to keep the overhead as low as possible which certainly could have contributed to operating in shady locations. You could certainly assume we wouldn't be opening any stores in more well-to-do locations.

PartyButton8 karma

what does your username mean

JoeNegron20 karma

Joe Negron ran for Senate (or something) in Florida a few years ago. The name always stuck with me. I was uncreative at the moment of registration.