Pawn shops not only lend money, they also sell items that they bought or were not redeemed by the borrowers. So you can shop for bargains in pawn shops.

But before I give you some tips about shopping in pawn shops, I have a question: if the residents of Beverly Hills are so rich, why are there so many pawn shops in Beverly Hills?

Now, an answer: Well, even rich people sometimes need to sell something in a hurry or need to get a quick loan. And Beverly Hills pawn shops are more likely to buy items from Beverly Hills residents and lend money to Beverly Hills residents.

Over the years, I've done news stories at some of the big name Beverly Hills pawn shops including the Beverly Loan Company and Collateral Lender. And I've been to some of the smaller pawn shops including Gem & Loan.

Beverly Hills pawn shops are likely to have better out-of-pawn merchandise available for sale than pawn shops in other parts of Southern California.

But that doesn't mean the best prices are in Beverly Hills pawn shops. You see, Beverly Hills pawn shops have to pay Beverly Hills taxes and Beverly Hills rent, so their markups are likely to be higher. But the selection in every pawn shop is unique so you just might have to pay more for a quality out-of-pawn item there.

Here are some tips for shopping in Beverly Hills pawn shops:

1. When something is for sale, the pawn shop needs to sell it, and like any other retailer they would rather have cash then merchandise so make an offer.

2. Yes, you can negotiate. And in a pawn shop you can also trade, but everyone prefers cash so cash is king. And in the world of pawn shops, cash is even better than a check or credit cards.

3. Ask the pawn shop when something you want to buy might be coming out-of-pawn and could become available. It's okay to window shop but the pawn shop might not want to show things that are in pawn.

4. If jewelry or diamonds or valuable stones are involved, be sure you know what you are buying and insist for some kind of guaranty or warranty -- just as you would get from a retail jeweler or department store.

5. You want to be sure you are getting a clear title.

6. Make sure it's really a deal. I've been in outlet stores where outlet prices were higher than retail. And I've been in pawn shops where the pawn shop operator quoted prices that were totally out of whack.

Have you got some tips to share?