"With people being so desperate, they bring in anything hoping to get something," said Rick Green, manager of Highland Park pawn shop Aaron's Jewelry and Loan Inc.
"People are desperate," echoed Susie Ansara, owner of We Buy Everything, a store in Farmington Hills, Mich.
As a sign of the times, Ansara said she has had customers offer to sell her the shoes they wear into the store.
The pawn shop owners have seen an increase in mounted animal heads, gold teeth, and recently, at one store, a 25-foot white shark, The Detroit News reported Saturday.
Behavioral psychologist Matt Wallaert at Churnless, a digital product consulting firm, said it may be good for business for pawn shops to buy odd items now that will be valuable when the economy recovers.
"The golden rule of business is buy low and sell high, and that's just what pawn shop owners are doing," Wallaert said.
It all brings to mind the infamous Hunter S. Thomspon quote: "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."