Callie Shanafelt | KALW

Callie Shanafelt


One Wednesday night, just after nine o’clock as Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco closed, I notice a small group of people rummaging through the store’s three dumpsters. I see a man look at the time and say, “Oh they’re closing now – let’s go check the dumpster.” Another woman, also digging into the trash, says: “I gotta admit, it’s kind of like Christmas.”

Beside the contents of the three industrial size dumpsters, employees had placed boxes full of fruit: dozens of apples, pears and lemons. About five people of various ages and races rummage through an enormous amount of food.

Photo by Callie Shanafelt

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Photo by Callie Shanafelt

President Obama continues to tout his jobs bill, though it hasn’t been getting much traction in Congress. Still, there are a few industries that have been growing without government help: tech, healthcare, and interestingly, pawnshops.

The History Channel’s reality TV show “Pawn Stars” reflects how pawnshops are adapting to today’s economic reality: They now cater to higher-income people who just a few years ago were buying expensive watches, not borrowing against them.

KALW’s Callie Shanafelt takes us to one such pawnshop in Millbrae.